Facilitation Technique Category: Aquatic Therapy
Activity Title: Watsu
Source: Watsu. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2016, from
Equipment: none
Activity Description: Watsu is an activity done in the water to promote stretching and
strengthening. This is done through gentle stretching, relaxation while the participant is being
rocked and floated by the instructor. The watsu session should take about 45 Min to an hour to
complete. When you enter the pool, the instructor will guide you to a floating position, where
they would either support your head or lower back. After getting comfortable in that position, the
instructor will begin to stretch and massage the area of focus. When the session is complete, the
instructor will bring you back to an upright position and will support you until you are okay to
stand alone.
Leadership Consideration: The person who should be caring out the Watsu is a “registered
practitioner in Watsu.” This activity is 1:1, with the practitioner in the water with the participant.
The RPW also needs to be certified in CPR. Before the getting into the pool with the participant
the RPW needs to go over the purpose and what the client is to expect while submerged in the
water. Go over basic pool safety also must occur, such as how to enter the pool and exit the pool
correctly. Also, if necessary the RPW could demonstrate with another instructor what the session
would look like in the water, to make the participant feel more at ease.
Adaptations for participants with Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral Palsy is a neurological disorder,
that causes muscle issues and weakness. The first adaption that should be made, is upon entering
the pool the instructor should make sure that the floor entering the pool is slip-proof by either
putting down a grip matt for the participant to walk on, or having them wear gripped water

shoes. Another adaptation would be the use of floatation around the ankle. People who have
cerebral palsy might have lung issues, so the ankle floats could make sure that they stay afloat,
and no water would get into there lungs. Another consideration is that the Instructor needs to
monitor the person closely. Epilepsy and seizures occur in 30-50% of individuals (Porter 2015).
Also, ear plugs should be used, to prevent ear infections or excessive vertigo.
Adaptations for Participants with Major Depressive Disorder- The first adaptation to the
activity is to have CTRS talk with the participant to establish positive goals, they would want to
see occur, while doing Watsu. If the participant has any open wounds, he/she cannot enter the
pool, therefore the watsu, would be adapted to land message and stretching. Another adaptation I
would make is to actually have the participant be taught the basic skills of administering Watsu
were eventually, group could be formed for this activity. So social skills and support would be
cultivated through Watsu.

Adaptions References:
Cerebral Palsy. . (n.d.). Aqua Therapy. Retrieved September 21, 2016, from
Porter, H. R. (Ed.). (n.d.). Recreational therapy for specific diagnoses and conditions.
Dattilo, J. (2000). Facilitation techniques in therapeutic recreation (3rd ed.). State College, PA: