WATSU IS A FORM OF MASSAGE AND MOVEMENTS IN WATER. FUAD OSCEOLA, LMT, CMT, M.ED PRACTICES IN A SPECIALIZED POOL OR IN YOUR OWN POOL.
Watsu, a combination of “water “ and “shiatsu” involves an aquatic experience that makes you wonder why you ever foolishly left that bygone paradise of the womb. Fuad Osceola, a Watsu practitioner, meets you in a cozy-warm 96-degree pool. With an unthreatening demeanor, he takes you into his arms and initiates a mutual deep breathing, inhaling while he lifts you and exhaling as he lowers you. Then, as you float receptively, this liquid,-suspended Fred Astaire initiates motions that seamlessly combine lateral flexion with vertical movements. Stretching and continuous movement make you feel uncannily, pool-fillingly tall. Osceola even incorporates some acupressure massage without breaking the flow. Watsu incorporates both good, non-clutching connection and un-wounding separation in a way that offers pleasant metaphors for life on land. “Watsu makes people bloom like a flower” says Fuad.
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Fuad Osceola, the Watsu practitioner showed me just how the Watsu pool works. First Fuad helped me relax so I could lie back and float. With the help of flotation devices and the water's high salt content - floating was easy. I almost lose my sense of time, space and touch. Then I stretched, turned, and was given a glorious Shiatsu massage….
"One of the most common problems for people is tension in their shoulder, back and leg muscles," says Fuad Osceola, a Watsu practitioner in Los Angeles. "There's often a lot of gridlock in the spine. In the pool there's a lateral range of motion, so the vertebrae move side to side like seaweed in the ocean." These motions allow muscles and joints to release creating a feeling of openness in the body. People can transfer this sensation onto dry land, says Osceola, so they feel lighter and looser in their day-to-day lives...
Because the water supports the spine it is able to move in ways that it can’t on land. “You can achieve lateral and medial movement which encourages the production of cerebral spinal fluid,” explains Osceola. “That triggers the release of endorphins, which are the doorway to feeling good in the body.” That might explain why people experience an emotional release after a treatment, says Osceola. It’s also one reason why Watsu is popular among those with chronic pain conditions.
A revolutionary concept in massage and fitness... land, water and beyond
FLOAT BACK...BACK...BACK...BACK, AND YOU'RE IN YOUR MOMMY'S WOMB. AH.
Do hot-stone massages leave you cold? Is Lomi-Lomi over-over? Jaded spagoers may want to consider Watsu, the aquatic body work making a splash at the Cornelia Day Resort on Fifth Avenue. But be warned: the shiatsu technique is not for the self-conscious or the uptight. The floating massage lasts an hour and takes place in a small, heated, salinated pool, a womblike environment you share with your instructor (mine was a serene man who calls himself Fuad). The session begins with the two of you eyeballing each other until you're comfortable enough for him to cuddle you with your eyes closed. Then he gently spins you around the water like laundry in a spin cycle. Watsu does away with the pull of gravity, and proponents claim it reduces tension and pain. It's also meant to be a healing process in which you bond with your instructor, who can sometimes unlock childhood memories. I found the flowing movements and mild manipulation calming (even resting my head on Fuad's shoulder while he worked on a knot in my neck wasn't too creepy), but I didn't come close to rebirthing or reflecting on my youth. Unless my earliest recollections include really wanting a glass of Champagne at the bar.
One of watsu’s advantages is that one is able to assume positions in the water that would be impossible on land because 75 percent of body weight is lost. Buoyancy affords an opportunity to stretch parts of the body that have been compressed by body weight and gravity for years. Once these joints are decompressed, according to shiatsu theory, they become better conduits for the chi...
...When I walked out, I felt happy and loose, a fairly radical departure from my normal state of mind and body. I told Fuad my encompassing feeling of relaxation that bordered on mild euphoria was similar to the feeling I get after a long run. He said both resulted from the release of endorphins.