What is a Watsu massage?

It’s not often I come out of a treatment and think WOW, that was seriously an incredible experience!

Today I had the pleasure of experiencing a blissful Watsu water massage at the Conservatorium hotel, which is given by Oda Meiberg, who is trained both in shiatsu and watsu massage. I can tell you that it’s not like anything that I have ever experienced before!

I had only recently heard of Watsu massage when a pregnant friend excitedly told me about her regular treatments with Oda, which she found to be a very unique and relaxing experience.

Watsu was created in the 1980’s by Harold Dull, and  is the world’s first form of Aquatic Bodywork. The aquatic bodywork organisation describe the experience as:

Moments of stillness alternate with rhythmical flowing movements, which free the body in ways impossible on land. The warm water relaxes the muscles and supports the spine. With this support and without the weight of the body, the spine, joints and muscles can be manipulated and freed in a way unique to water work. The effects include a very gentle, yet deep stretching and a release of muscular and joint restrictions, along with a state of deep relaxation, which encourages the release of stress and tensions.

Keen to experience  a new kind of treatment I booked a session with Oda, which is held at the iconic Conservatorium hotel. From the moment that I arrived at the Conservatorium I felt very relaxed and was welcomed to make full use of the facilities at the pool and spa and sauna.

The session started with Oda giving an overview of what Watsu is about, she then went on to discuss what if any ailments I had.  Oda went on to explain that the treatment can help with;

~ Pain
~ Stress
~ Anxiety feelings including water anxiety
~ Depression complaints
~ Insomnia
~ Treatment of emotional trauma
~ Pregnancy symptoms

The purpose of my Watsu massage was a last attempt to encourage my baby to turn out of her breech position. It was also the perfect excuse to have a nice relaxing treatment in a heated private pool. Oda explained that the session would involve lots of movement, but she would ultimately be guided by what my body needed during the session.

Oda placed weights on both of my calfs, and positioned my body so that I was resting against her body for support. In the background soft relaxing music was played, but as my ears were under the water I couldn’t hear much but was left with a nice calm sensation.

The one-on-one sessions involved Oda gently cradling, moving, stretching, and lightly massaging my body . It’s quite an intimate treatment since as you are being held very closely to the treatment practitioner. Therefore to get the most of this experience you have to let yourself go and fully relax into the arms of your practitioner. I closed my eyes and surrendered to the relaxation. Oda positioned my body and manoeuvred it accordingly to what it needed.


(photo from Oda care website)

During the 50 minute session I felt totally spaced out and relaxed. My legs felt like they had somehow transformed into a mermaid’s tail which was free to flow in the warm water.

Not only was it a deeply soothing session, it also allowed me the opportunity to go into a deep meditative state and I felt very connected with my baby,  I could feel that she was very happy, moving eagerly inside me.

When the time finished I felt a profound sense of happiness, it was such a unique and touching experience which left me feeling both soothed and energised long into the evening. My baby was clearly happy as she continued to move more than she had done in days.

On the way out of the spa, the receptionist revealed that many mothers reported back that they went into labour a few days earlier than planned, which she believed could be linked to the relaxing Watsu treatment!

A 50 minute session at the Conservatorium can be booked directly with Oda at http://odacare.com/ 





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