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.”

South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust provides community, mental health and learning disability services to the people of Barnsley, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield. We also provide medium and low secure services to the whole of Yorkshire and the Humber. We exist to help people reach their potential and live well in their community. To achieve our mission we have a strong set of values that mean: We must put people first and in the centre and recognise that families and carers matter. We are always respectful and honest, open and transparent, to build trust and act with integrity. We will constantly improve and aim to be outstanding so we can be relevant today, and ready for tomorrow.

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