Watsu, or aquatic shiatsu, began at Harbin Hot Springs where Harold Dull brought his knowledge of Zen shiatsu into a warm pool. Zen shiatsu incorporates stretches that release blockages along the meridians—the channels through which chi or life force flows.
Dull found the effects of Zen shiatsu could be amplified and made more profound by stretching someone while having them float in warm water. By supporting, rocking, and moving the whole body while stretching a leg or arm, Watsu lessens the resistance there is when a limb is worked in isolation. When the whole body is in continual movement, each move flowing gracefully into the next, there is no way to resistantly anticipate what’s coming next. Warm water and the continuous support it provides are ideal for freeing the spine.
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