Watsu® & WaterDance™
WATSU® (Water Shiatsu) began at the School of Shiatsu and Massage at Harbin Hot Springs. Harold Dull developed this Aquatic Bodywork form by applying the stretches and principles of the Zen Shiatsu . . . Read more
WATSU® is based on stretching, which strengthens muscles and increases flexibility and range of motion. Warm water, and the continuous support it provides is ideal for freeing the spine. It takes the weight off the vertebrae and relaxes the muscles. The support of water allows the spine to be moved in ways impossible on land. Gentle, gradual twists and pulls relieve the pressure a rigid spine places on nerves. The WATSU® receiver experiences this greater flexibility and freedom. During WATSU®, a range of emotions can come up and be released into the process of continuous flow. This reprograms receivers to face life out of the water with greater equanimity and flexibility.
Another principle of Zen Shiatsu, that of connecting with the breath, takes on a new dimension in WATSU®. On land, the breathing is coordinated with leaning into points. In water, our most basic move is the Water Breath Dance, in which we float someone in our arms and let them sink a little as they breathe out and rise with them as we both breathe in. Repeated over and over at the beginning of a WATSU®, this creates a connection that can be carried into all the stretches and moves. This Water Breath Dance, and its stillness, is returned to throughout the session.
Experiencing both giving and receiving this most nurturing form of bodywork can help heal whatever wounds of separation we carry and renew in us our sense of connection and oneness with others. For this reason, WATSU® is Rebonding Therapy. WATSU® is used around the world by professional bodyworkers, physical therapists, and psychologists, as well as the general public.
Please note that WATSU® is a federally registered service mark used to describe the method of water shiatsu developed by Harold Dull.
WaterDance (WATA®) was developed in Switzerland in 1987 by Peter Schroter and Arjana C. Brunschwiler, arising independently from Watsu®. These two pioneering forms of aquatic bodywork were brought together in Europe and the USA in 1993.
WaterDance is performed in skin temperature water in which clients wear a nose clip to be guided beneath the water into its three-dimensionality. . .
We know from yoga that slowing down the breathing in a relaxed physical state calms mental activity and can help in achieving a meditative state. This occurs effortlessly in a WaterDance session. The soft, warm water gives complete support and continuously flows gently around the entire body including the face. Many people speak of feelings of joy and pulsating liveliness. On a physical level, the use of specific holds releases and mobilizes the major joints of the body. WaterDance brings to mind the Japanese movement art of Aikido, and is also reminiscent of classical ballet. It can be like the swimming and playing of dolphins or the silent floating of a fetus in its mother’s womb.
As unique as each individual is, everyone experiences WaterDance differently. Perceptions range from the deepest states of relaxation to shifts in the perception of time and space; from regressing to childhood to re-experiencing prenatal or birth-specific events. Memories of old injuries may arise from the subconscious and the body spontaneously releases stress from the past. Some people speak of experiencing all-encompassing feelings of unity and unconditional love during and even long after a WaterDance session. In this way, WaterDance provides support for those passing through life transitions or suffering from disease states arising from low self-esteem. In the training of WaterDance practitioners, emphasis is laid upon holding a space of acceptance to allow the self-healing capacity of each receiver to emerge.
WaterDance is a form of body therapy that should only be practiced by well-trained practitioners in a safe environment so that the wealth of feelings and perceptions it can draw forth are given the appropriate space to develop.
©2005 Arjana Brunschwiler & Minakshi
Note: the rate of progress through any of our programs is based on the successful completion of each step. Many students benefit by auditing a course (repeating it, usually at a reduced cost), or by attending supervision, or logging additional practice sessions, before continuing on to the next step. Instructors will note when these are required. Since audits and supervisions can help fulfill the electives required, they do not usually lengthen a student’s overall program.
WaterDance Practitioner certification for current Watsu™ Practitioners is the successful completion of levels 1,2 & 3, logged and received sessions and Demonstration of Proficiency.
- 250 hours “License to Touch” from an accredited school. This must include Anatomy/Physiology & any variety of massage styles. These requirements may be pursued simultaneously to WaterDance training. Currently the “License to Touch” requirements vary from place to place.
- 50 hour Prerequisite Aquatic Bodywork course: Fluid Presence™ Foundation, WaterDance Fundamentals, Watsu® 1, Aquatic Integration 1, Healing Dance 1, Private Instruction or Instructor approval
- 50 hours WaterDance 1
- 50 hours WaterDance 2
- Log 30 practice sessions (10 after each WaterDance level)
- With either a successful passing grade of each course, Supervision, or audit of WaterDance 1, or 2, demonstrate competency.
- 50 hours WaterDance 3: Free Flow
- 50 hours elective course or voluntary audit. Presence of Being™ is highly suggested.
- Successful completion of Demonstration of Proficiency session
- Receive & Log 10 professional WaterDance sessions (Before, throughout and after the training).
Courses are taught in the USA & worldwide by renowned WABA approved WaterDance/WATA instructors. Credit for courses taken abroad count towards our certification program provided an approved instructor teaches them. Our very cohesive training program prepares students well for offering sessions in this profound sub-aquatic modality.
WaterDance Course Descriptions
In WaterDance 1, you will explore the art of breath connection enabling you to establish a deep rapport with your clients, inspire their trust and offer the attentiveness that is necessary when bringing someone below the water’s surface. From this place, you will learn the WaterDance short form which includes learning to establish a rhythm that works with each client’s breathing needs and to move all body types through the water with security, ease and graceful fluidity, giving the receiver a profound sense of freedom and joy.
Prerequisite: WaterDance Fundamentals, Fluid Presence™ Foundation, Watsu® 1, Aquatic Integration 1, Healing Dance or Instructor Approval
In this course, you will build on and deepen the work of WaterDance I, taking the same principles and material and expanding on them with a fuller repertoire of under-the-water moves and techniques. You will learn new moves and variations and how to link different moves. By the end of this course, you will have learned enough material to give full WaterDance sessions that are fun, healing and profound.
Prerequisite: WaterDance 1
WaterDance 3: Free Flow
In Free Flow, you will expand on the WaterDance 1 & 2 foundation and take your repertoire of moves into the realm of personal creativity. You’ll explore the poetry of spontaneity inspired by what presents itself in the moment. You will also be supported to create your own vocabulary of underwater moves and learn to link them in endless new ways. The dance of a free flowing experience, tailored to your client’s present state and mood is emphasized and discovery of your own unique style is encouraged and affirmed.
Prerequisites: WaterDance 1 & 2