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Watsu? All I knew was that it is based on Shiatsu massage but it takes place in water. Anyone who has laboured / birthed in water or even been pregnant before knows the helpful properties of water, the only way when pregnant to feel fully physically supported is in water.

Slightly nervous but more curious and filled with anticipatory excitement I entered Anat’s gorgeous circular pool. I had seen children swim in he pool and looked on at them smiling and playing comfortably, effortlessly in the water and yet you really don’t fully appreciate this space until you are

completely emersed in the warm water with the spectacular dome encapsulating the space and yet allowing air and light to filter through. It truly sets the scene for a relaxing, pampering experience.

This coupled with the fact that I am a busy mum of 2 young ones, one fully breastfed, and well needles to say I was very eager to surrender to the ways of Watsu and allow myself to feel whatever was to come.

What unfolded, after Anat gently introduced me to the water and what I would experience in my Watsu hour was pure bliss, like nothing I have ever experienced before. Once I completely let go and allowed the water to take over (at times I was completely unaware of Anat’s presence) I was transported away from daily life and stresses and went somewhere either inside or outside of myself, I am not sure, perhaps both. Wherever it was it felt good to be there.


Most of the time emersed in water just past your ears, you can’t help but be at times be hyper aware of the physical, due to the amazingly therapeutic stretches you are achieving without, yourself moving a muscle and then secondly, by the soft water racing over your skin past every part of your body. It truly is a full body massage like no other.


Then like polar opposites your physical self seems to dissolve into the water and you are but a spiritual mind in the safety of the water protected from outside influences by the physical, almost sacred space you are in. Time just to think - allow your thoughts to race and then to slow.


At times I felt like a dolphin dancing an amazing routine through the water, or a ballet dancer lighting up the stage with her solo, strong, independent and free and then I would find myself curled up like a baby and feeling completely nurtured.


I think you would have guessed I really enjoyed my Watsu experience, overall I left feeling whole, calm, deeply relaxed but also re-connected with myself. Although my description sounds quiet intense and yes I found it somewhat of a spiritual and emotional experience, it is important to say that it didn’t leave me emotionally vulnerable or raw. If anything it left me feeling stronger and more accepting of the emotions that may have arisen and I certainly didn’t feel like I needed to go and confront them any further.


I instantly recognised the benefit Watsu would have for pregnant woman, firstly it seems an ideal pampering tool due an affinity with water created by pregnancy and due to achieving weightlessness. Secondly I think Watsu would be a useful tool in birth preparation; as to gain the most benefit from Watsu one needs to completely surrender, a lesson we all learn in birth (if not previously) due to the immense power of life giving forces.


"My First Watsu" (on Watsu and Pregnancy)

The moment I stepped into the water I felt my whole body sigh with relief. The temperature was that of a carefully drawn warm bath, one which I run when I want to lose myself in the water, suspend the outside world and return to one of life’s simplest pleasures, the sensation of being immersed in warm water.

As the session began and Anat drew me towards her and placed the floats around my limbs, the sensation was one of complete surrender to the water, a sensation of memory, familiarity and, at the same time, a completely new experience. As my body was moved and stretched and twisted and rotated through the water, I felt a freedom that is not available on the ground, a feeling of being suspended in warmth and



The close proximity to the practitioner creates, without doubt, a very intimate experience but one in which I felt totally safe and free to feel whatever there was to feel. At times my entire body was submerged so that only my nose was above the water line, enabling me to listen to the sounds of my own breathing and the strange dull quality of silence and solitude that being under the water provides.


As my body moved through the water and the resistance of the water pushed and pulled at my limbs I gave up my own resistance to the movement and allowed my body to work with the water and the movement in ways that were clearly specifically designed and intended, feeling the stretching that came with that movement in a way that was not dissimilar to the satisfying elongation of muscles when stretching on waking or at the end of a tiring day.


Some people describe Watsu as an experience of returning to the womb. That description is a little too ‘new agey’ for me but there was something entirely comforting and nurturing about freely moving in the water, being cradled and supported by someone who clearly loves what she does and being able to experience movement of my own body in ways that were surprising and satisfying.


About Watsu

“I’m up to my neck in hot water. My head is cradled in the left arm of Anat Juran, an Israeli-born aquatic body therapist, who with both arms and legs is able to massagage, stretch and pull various limbs and muscles while swirling my body around the indoor swimming pool. With my eyes closed and breathing gently regulated, the sensation is extraordinary as my upper and lower spine, back, neck, shoulders, arms and head are massaged, manipulated and relaxed in ways that are simply not possible on dry land…. miraculously free of every stress and tension knot, every ache and pain with which I began the treatment.”

In the early 1980’s Harold Dull adapted Zen Shiatsu in warm water and called this unique technique Watsu (Water Shiatsu in English). Watsu spread worldwide and is presently practiced in clinics, hospitals

and spas, not only in the US and Canada, but also in Japan, throughout Europe, Brasil – and now in Australia. Psychologists, psychiatrists, physical therapists, massage therapists, and lay people

are all enthusiastic about the benefits of giving and receiving Watsu.


For more information about the world-wide association involved in Watsu and associated techniques, go to


Aquanat is the first centre in Australia offering both aquatherapy and training. The environment at Aquanat is especially created to facilitate many programs. Watsu, waterdance, Halliwick and Auanatbabies are some programs offered at this beautiful centre. Aquanat boasts a large circular pool, surrounded by a geodesic dome, which allows for a natural flow of air and light. The water within the pool is heated to a

constant 34 – 35 degrees and creates a welcome, soothing, comforting and nurturing ambience.


For further information regarding aqua/hydrotherapy, baby classes or for a brochure, contact Anat.​

Andrew Conway

Article from Luxury Travel Magazine

Whether you are a therapist happy to explore something new or whether you’re just someone who has an interest in body work water work, this short basic watsu course can give you a whole new dimension of relating to an other and yourself.

You learn how the water can become a channel to many things and you learn to work with the qualities of this element. In the water the fundamental low of gravity dissipates, movement slows down as it cuts trough a denser sphere and learning how to work with this 2 main differences is so new exciting and yet calming. 

Letting the water do the work and supporting the process is such a beautiful thing to acquire, you learn to observe and still your mind to read your partner and connect to your intuition. For me these things are so replenishing and healing even as a giver.
By the end of the second day you learn to give a whole 45 min to an hour water session to someone with some really cool moves, its great.

The work on land is brief but covers the main guidelines of ethics movement and relating and it is a nice time out off the water, we even did few interesting exercises with breath and imagination as well as sharing our experiences in an intimate group environment which we developed straight from the start.

These 2 days are such a present, I was in a bubble full of healing and love. Anyone can do this and everyone should.  I strongly believe that this 2 days journey was as deep for me and other thanks to the experienced and passionate group leader we had not to mention the amassing pool and the beautiful facility attached to her house.


If you’ll take this course with Anat you'll probably need no words to describe the essence of this work once in her hands. 

Basic Watsu Student

About Basic Watsu course with Anat Juran

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