Alternative MethodsConventional Methods


April 9

Combining Water Therapy and Shiatsu to Combat Fibromyalgia

Reginald Griffin
Core Spirit member since Dec 24, 2020
Reading time 3 min.

There are a variety of different techniques available to help you combat fibromyalgia in today’s world. No longer do you have to suffer if traditional medications and therapies are not working for you, instead you can look to the world of alternative therapy. Watsu therapy is a form of alternative therapy that is relaxing and effective.

Patients enjoy the gentle movements from the therapist as they relax in a warm pool of water. The movements in Watsu therapy help to reduce the physical effects of fibromyalgia as well as the psychological effects. Before starting any new exercise or treatment regimen it is important to discuss the program with your doctor.

Most physicians will not have any concerns with Watsu therapy, although if you have a heart condition the warm water for an extended period of time may not be right for you.

The Basics of Watsu

This form of water therapy combines stretching, Shiatsu massage and even a little bit of dance. The therapy session is performed in warm water and the therapist is holding the patient throughout the movements. The therapist uses a cradle hold or back floating throughout the session as they manipulate the body of the patient into the necessary Watsu movements.

This is an alternative therapy which is used in conjunction with traditional therapy to fight many different ailments. Fibromyalgia patients typically find the combination of warm water and gentle movements to be exceptionally helpful to their symptoms. The deep breathing techniques incorporated into Watsu therapy are also very effective as a relaxation technique outside of the pool.

Physical Effects

The physical effects of Watsu massage are similar to those of other massage therapies on fibromyalgia patients. The benefits of Watsu also include the warm water which is not available with typical massage techniques. Other positive physical effects include a decrease in respiratory rate which brings on an overall muscle relaxation throughout the body.

Muscle soreness and tension is released which decreases the pain caused from muscles. The immune system receives a boost from the stimulation of the massage and this can result in a reduction of pain throughout the body.

Other important physical effects include better digestion and sounder sleep for people suffering from issues with these. Keep a journal when you start a new treatment, such as Watsu therapy, it can help you notice the changes that you feel physically throughout the treatment process.

Psychological Effects

When the stress and tension in the body is released it can also reduce the stress in the mind. Many people who struggle with fibromyalgia also struggle with the mental side effects of the illness. Watsu massage can reduce the psychological effects that fibromyalgia has continued to have on your mind and emotions.

Anxiety is another emotion that is often felt from people struggling with fibromyalgia. There is always this lurking idea that you will be in pain and it is hard to move past it, even on days where you are not feeling pain.

The Watsu massage process can help reduce the anxiety over pain and leave you feeling more empowered to move forward with your life. The overall positive effect of Watsu therapy is often seen immediately for patients who struggle with fibromyalgia.

A Typical Session

If you are new to the Watsu therapy technique it can be uncomfortable when you are first getting started. Sessions are held one on one and it is important that you feel comfortable with your therapist. The therapist will physically be holding you throughout the session so you will need to have a level of trust for that person.

Often the provider will provide an entire session outside of the pool to go over the techniques and answer questions for you. You can also watch another session before you start your therapy so you feel more comfortable with the process.

The Watsu therapy and massage is an intimate pattern of movements that will take time to become comfortable with. It is perfectly normal to not feel at ease when you are first getting started with this alternative therapy technique. Discuss any of your concerns with your therapist as they come up so you do not continue to feel uncomfortable.

Costs and Where to Find Watsu Therapy

The typical cost of a Watsu therapy session is similar to that of any other physical therapy or massage session, around $100 for an hour. Some places will offer discounts for a contract of six or more visits. You can find Watsu therapy performed by independent therapists at your local warm pool.

These are not the typical pools you swim at with your family since Watsu therapy is conducted in a warmer temperature pool that is approximately 95 degrees. Many high level gyms offer this type of pool for special classes and to help people who have joint issues.

Call ahead to discuss the availability of a Watsu therapist at your local warm water pool or ask the local pool if they know of other pools that might have a Watsu therapist available. Watsu therapy is becoming more and more popular so you should be able to find a therapist somewhere near you.

Working on any type of treatment to help with your fibromyalgia symptoms is a great way to take control of your health and your recovery. Trying new and innovative techniques to reduce your pain and tension is the best way to see a reduction in your symptoms.

You do not need to stick to boring traditional medicine in your fight against fibromyalgia; instead you can try new techniques like Watsu therapy. Although it may take some time to get use to the therapy in warm water and one on one with a therapist, Watsu therapy is an uplifting and calming experience.

You can enjoy one session or many sessions and you will notice consistent benefits for your body and your mind. Talk with your therapist and your doctor before starting Watsu to ensure it is the right program for you before you spend a lot of money on a session.

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