Watsu with a woman in her 38th week of pregnancy in Spain.
Pregnancy is a time of intense transformation on all levels. As your baby grows, your body’s systems may be challenged to keep up. Pregnant women commonly experience physical discomfort and often include massage into their wellness routine.
In our Western culture, mothers-to-be are under high levels of stress and often view pregnancy as a medical condition. In ancient Chinese medicine, it is believed that pregnancy is joyous and natural, and that the energetic connection between mother and baby is formative. An old Chinese proverb says: “The mother shouldn’t ever look with a crooked eye, her ears should never listen to bad things, her mouth should not say any bad word”. While this may seem extreme or even impossible, expecting families can take measures to ensure that the childbearing year is a low-stress and special time.
|Watsu session with Daron at the end of her pregnancy|
Watsu is an aquatic bodywork technique based on the framework of Shiatsu and includes massage with fingers, thumbs, and palms; assisted stretching; and joint manipulation in warm water. Being immersed in water feels especially good when you’re pregnant, and there are physiological reasons why: it reduces stress on your musculoskeletal and nervous system, and improves blood circulation. Watsu is an ideal wellness practice for pregnancy because it supports your joints, allows for safe stretching and lengthening, and ultimately can make a difference in your comfort and confidence during pregnancy, labor, and recovery.
Water is the source of life on this planet. It is an environment familiar from before birth, as babies grow in amniotic fluid, and it is an ideal medium for massage during pregnancy. As Michel Odent, internationally famous childbirth pioneer, says: “It is during their pregnancies that many women develop an enhanced capacity to rediscover forgotten aspects of Human Nature. Via their strong attraction to water, many pregnant and labouring women tell us that Homo Sapiens are more aquatic primates than is usually believed”.
During a Watsu session you will be gently and safely floated, rhythmically moved, stretched, and massaged. The body melts into the water. The weightlessness and warmth of the water decompress the spine, loosen joints, and relax muscles. You will feel a freedom of movement that liberates tension. Thoughts and feelings flow freely and are cleansed. A feeling of peace and wellness overcomes the body and spirit. As if in the womb herself, the mother feels warm, secure, and serene, which creates the ideal environment for nurturing the connection between mother and baby, as well as strengthening trust and acceptance of the journey ahead. Recipients comment that there is a sense of physical and emotional release, along with relief of back, shoulder and neck pain, muscle spasms, and sciatica.
“I received a Watsu session two days past my estimated due date. I had painful contractions every ten minutes. I entered into the warm water and the discomfort of the contractions stopped. I weighed nothing, my belly weighed nothing, and we rocked. With my eyes closed, looking into myself and connecting with my baby, we were gently moved through the water. It was quiet, there was peace, there was introspection. I felt like my baby was no longer inside of me, as if the two of us were cuddling and dancing a relaxed and tender aquatic dance. I was planning a hospital birth, but my second child was born two days later in a beautiful vaginal birth at home. I did not tear and I had no problems with my previous cesarean birth. I was relaxed, calm, secure, and deeply peaceful, just as I was when I emerged from the session.” – Esperanza (Spain)