These are strong words, but you’re probably thinking, “What-who? What is Watsu?!”

Watsu means water shiatsu. It’s a unique type of therapy which involves immersing a person in warm water and, whilst they are held and supported by a therapist, they are gently moved around, stretched and massaged.

South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is the first organisation to offer Watsu in an inpatient mental health setting to service users on its Trinity 1 ward at Fieldhead in Wakefield.

Although this type of therapy is fairly new to the country, the benefits are already apparent.

People who received Watsu from the Trust reported increased mobility and flexibility, a sense of relaxation, more restful sleep, and an emotional release – proof that Watsu provides a mental and physical approach to patient care.

It was introduced at the Trust after one of our physiotherapists observed and experienced the therapy. She immediately recognised the potential benefits this could have to our service users as it combines the therapies of massage, movement, warmth, touch, stretch and relaxation in one session and builds on the therapeutic value of trust. Besides, it’s just as relaxing to watch as it is to receive!

Take a look at our video featuring the Trinity 1 team:

A service user who received Watsu therapy commented: “After taking part in Watsu, my breathing improved and my physical health got better because of the exercise and movement I did in the water. My mental health also grew because Watsu made me feel so worthwhile. Whenever I feel low, I think about my Watsu experiences and I feel instantly better. Watsu changed everything. It gave me a life.”