Main article: Watsu
Watsu, developed by Harold Dull at Harbin Hot Springs, California, is a type of aquatic bodywork performed in near-body temperature water, and characterized by continuous support by the practitioner and gentle movement, including rocking, stretching of limbs, and massage. The technique combines hydrotherapy floating and immersion with shiatsu and other massage techniques. Watsu is used as a form of aquatic therapy for deep relaxation and other therapeutic intent. Related forms include WaterDance, Healing Dance, and Jahara technique.
Facilities, equipment, and supplies
Massage tables and chairs
Specialized massage tables and chairs are used to position recipients during massages. A typical commercial massage table has an easily cleaned, heavily padded surface, and a horseshoe-shaped head support that allows the client to breathe easily while lying face down and can be stationary or portable, while home versions are often lighter weight or designed to fold away easily. An orthopedic pillow or bolster can be used to correct body positioning.
Ergonomic chairs serve a similar function as a massage table. Chairs may be either stationary or portable models. Massage chairs are easier to transport than massage tables, and recipients do not need to disrobe to receive a chair massage. Due to these two factors, chair massage is often performed in settings such as corporate offices, outdoor festivals, shopping malls, and other public locations.
Warm-water therapy pools
Temperature-controlled warm-water therapy pools are used to perform aquatic bodywork. For example, Watsu requires a warm-water therapy pool that is approximately chest deep (depending on height of the therapist) and temperature-controlled to about 35 °C (95 °F).
Dry-water massage beds
A dry-water massage bed uses jets of water to perform the massage of the client's muscles. These beds differ from a Vichy shower in that the client usually stays dry. Two common types are one in which the client lies on a waterbed-like mattress which contains warm water and jets of water and air bubbles and one in which the client lies on a foam pad and is covered by a plastic sheet and is then sprayed by jets of warm water, similar to a Vichy shower. The first type is sometimes seen available for use in malls and shopping centers for a small fee.
A Vichy shower is a form of hydrotherapy which uses a series of shower nozzles which spray large quantities of water over the client while they lie in a shallow wet bed, similar to a massage table, but with drainage for the water. The nozzles may usually be adjusted for height, direction, and temperature to suit the clients needs.
Cremes, Lotions, Gels, and Oils
Many different types of massage cremes, lotions, gels, and oils are used for lubrication. Each lubricant has slightly different properties, and the choice depends upon the type of massage and the therapist?s preference. Commonly used oils include jojoba oil, fractionated coconut oil, grape seed oil, olive oil, almond oil, macadamia oil, sesame oil, pecan oil, mustard oil and (mineral) baby oil. Each oil has different properties and serves different purposes. There are different views about the extent to which various oils and other substances are absorbed into the body through the skin. Salts are also used in association with oils to remove dry skin.
A body rock is a serpentine-shaped tool, usually carved out of stone. It is used to amplify the therapist's strength and focus pressure on certain areas. It can be used directly on the skin with a lubricant such as oil or corn starch or directly over clothing.
Bamboo and rosewood tools are also commonly implemented. They originate from practices in southeast Asia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Burma. Some of them may be heated, oiled, or wrapped in cloth.