Watsu (Aquatic Shiatsu)

Watsu (from “water” and “shiatsu”) began when Harold Dull started floating people, applying the moves and stretches of the zen shiatsu he had studied in Japan. Watsu, aquatic or water Shiatsu, began at Harbin Hot Springs where Harold Dull brought his knowledge of Zen Shiatsu that he had studied in Japan into a warm pool. Zen Shiatsu incorporates stretches which release blockages along meridians, the channels through which our ‘chi’ or life force flows.

Dull found the effects of Zen Shiatsu could be amplified and made more profound by stretching someone while floating them in warm water. The practitioner guides the client through a series of dance-like movements while using Zen Shiatsu techniques (stretching and finger pressure). Watsu should not be confused with the very different spa therapy of underwater massage.


Physical and emotional blocks are removed by the work, which can be done even by small individuals since the client’s body in water is buoyant. It is done in chest-high, 94-degree water.


See Watsu website.