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What is a Watsu pool?

Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre at the Hotel Cafe Royal has the first of its kind in London, but what exactly is a Watsu pool?

watsu akasha

Amongst the spa facilities you have and haven’t heard of are no doubt heat and ice experiences, thalasso pools, hydrotherapy and rasuls, but a Watsu pool is perhaps a lesser known phenomenon to most spa goers, so we’re here to explain.

A sister to hydrotherapy and thalassotherapy, watsu is a gentle form of body therapy performed in warm water, (generally around 35°C), which combines elements of massage, joint mobilisation, shiatsu, muscle stretching and dance. The receiver is continuously supported while being floated, cradled, rocked and stretched. It necessitates warm, clear water at a depth at which someone can, with feet spread and knees bent, settle down into the water as if sitting in a chair.

A passive form of aquatic bodywork/therapy that supports and gently moves a person through warm water in graceful, fluid movements, Watsu promotes a deep state of relaxation with dramatic changes in the autonomic nervous system. Through quieting the sympathetic and enhancing the parasympathetic nervous systems, Watsu has profound effects on the neuromuscular system.

Unlike other hydrotherapy experiences which tend to be self administered, with Watsu you will be joined in the private pool by an experienced Watsu practitioner. No treatment is ever the same as sessions are tailored to your specific needs and requirements, with the aim of achieving a sense of unrivalled relaxation and feeling utterly renewed.

Reported short term benefits include:

  • Increased range of motion
  • Increased muscle relaxation
  • Decreased muscle spasm
  • Decreased spasticity
  • Decreased pain

Meanwhile, longer term benefits include:

  • Decreased heart rate.
  • Decreased rate of respiration
  • Increased depth of respiration
  • Increased peripheral vasodilatation
  • Increased smooth muscle activity (digestion)
  • Decreased activation of striated muscles (skeletal)
  • Decreased spasticity
  • Decreased muscle spasm
  • Decreased Reticular Activating System activity
  • Enhanced immune system response


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