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Health & Balance

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Healing Waters


David Erlich, director of spa operations at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, in Sonoma, CA, counts Watsu among his favorite treatments. "Once you are in the water, it is about relinquishing control," Erlich says. "If you can let go and allow the Watsu therapist to freely move you through the water, it's more likely you will be able to completely relax." The Sonoma Mission Inn Spa has two Watsu pools, both of which are filled with mineral water piped directly from nearby hot springs. To increase the benefits of a Watsu massage, Erlich encourages his Watsu therapists to take at least 10 minutes to get to know their clients before beginning the treatment. "For some people, floating in the water makes them a bit insecure, and for others it reminds them of being in the womb," he says. "I think it is a good idea for anyone experiencing Watsu to talk to the therapist about their fears and expectations beforehand." Dull agrees. "For some people, being in the water is imbued with quite a bit of meaning," he says. "It moves them through emotional memories — tears may come, as may a smile."

In her book Medicine for the Earth: How to Transform Personal and Environmental Toxins, Ingerman recommends that you take a moment to relax and contemplate water. Find a quiet space inside your home or outside in nature. Start by breathing deeply to calm the "chatter" in your mind. When relaxed, picture yourself as water. This could be a drop of rain, an ocean, a river, a creek, a waterfall, even a teardrop. Imagine yourself merging with the water, then let it guide you. Reflect on this image of water until you feel relaxed and at peace. When finished, begin to gently move your hands and feet and slowly open your eyes.

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