Watsu muscle and joint therapy

A form of aquatic relaxation.

Watsu was developed in the USA in the early 80s and focuses on stretching and strengthening muscles, increasing flexibility and range of motion, and deep relaxation in water.

Why you might need it

Watsu was developed in the USA in the early 80s and focuses on stretching and strengthening muscles, increasing flexibility and range of motion, and deep relaxation.

Like hydrotherapy, it can be used to manage long-term pain for conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. However, it is also very popular as a form of deep relaxation for those with stress or anxiety or who simply enjoy relaxation therapies.

Physiotherapists and massage therapists worldwide use Watsu to:

  • reduce stress and anxiety
  • improve breathing and sleep patterns
  • release toxins
  • increase energy
  • release emotional stress
  • improve circulation
  • decrease pain and fatigue
  • increase range of motion
  • improve body awareness
  • normalise muscle tone
  • decrease muscle guarding and tension
  • increase lymphatic circulation

It can be especially helpful when managing:

  • arthritis
  • rheumatism
  • fibromyalgia
  • anxiety

Find a Spire hospital offering this treatment

Who will do it?

Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.

All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.

Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.

Before your treatment

You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

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Preparing for your treatment

We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.

For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.

Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.

The procedure

Watsu is performed in a warm water pool but patients don’t need to be able to swim. During a session, their body is fully supported by the therapist at all times and their head cradled above water level whilst the body is gently manipulated and stretched. Watsu is performed in time with the breath and consists of calm, rhythmic movements, which not only affect superficial and deep fasciae, inner ear and neurological systems but will also gently energise and refresh the person, inspiring the natural regeneration of mind, body and spirit.

Being underwater, the physiotherapist is able to free spinal vertebrae, rotate joint articulations and elongate muscles in ways that are often not possible in a land-based physiotherapy session. Treatment does involve close contact with the physiotherapist though floats can be used to reduce the level of intimacy where preferred.

Sessions last 20 minutes though previous patients have commented that it feels much longer due to the deep level of relaxation achieved.

Why choose Spire?

We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.

Important to note

The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.

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