Learning Watsu®

Introductory Level Training Begins With One Of The Following Courses:

  • Watsu Experience Weekend

These weekends incorporate tai chi, massage and other touch techniques alongside spending time in the water. They are offered at Mana Retreat Centre and are a lovely way to explore and experience sharing with others who are learning/interested in healing touch. (Note: hours do not count towards ongoing Watsu training.)

  • Watsu Basics Weekend (16hrs)

This weekend focuses solely on Watsu covering the basics of working in water, starting and completing a session, water breath dance and a simple Watsu sequence. Time is divided between experience in the water and land time exploring the principles and concepts of Watsu. Experience giving and receiving and begin to explore the joy and subtleties of this work. Perfect for those who wish to share Watsu with friends and family as well as a prerequisite for the 6-days training.

A schedule of introductory and basic training sessions is available under Watsu Events.

Core Training

For those who wish to extend and deepen their Watsu practice, ongoing training is available in the form of two 50-hour modules Watsu One and Watsu Two. Participants learn longer, more complex sequences and techniques, while refining the qualities of support, flow, and presence in the water. Time is spent both on land and in water exploring the principles and practice of Watsu, boundaries, ethics, self awareness, movement, grounding, bodywork/touch and holding. All the time working on deepening in understanding, awareness and sensitivity.

  • Watsu One
    50hrs, over six days
    Pre-requisite: Watsu Basics Weekend
  • Watsu Two
    50hrs, over six days
    Pre-requisite: Watsu One

While some will complete these two modules simply for the joy of sharing this work with family and friends, these courses also form the core ‘water modules’ for practitioner certification. Any healthcare professional utilizing bodywork as part of their practice will benefit from learning Watsu. It will be of special interest to physical, occupational and massage therapists, movement and dance therapists and aquatic specialists.


All the above courses, (with the exception of the Watsu experience weekend), are recognized by The Worldwide Aquatic Bodywork Association (WABA) and the hours will count towards completion of Practitioner Certification worldwide.

After attending any of the above, participants are welcome to 3 monthly gatherings held in a central location, (usually Rotorua or Taupo.) This provides an opportunity for students and practitioners to meet, to get to know others in a relaxed atmosphere and to give and receive sessions. These are not formal teaching weekends, however the experience of sharing sessions with others, creates a wonderful low cost, opportunity for a great deal of informal learning and refinement.

Practitioner Certification (Recognized By WABA And The NZ Charter Of Health Practitioners)

  • This is a comprehensive 620-hour training including work in water and on land.
  • Training is divided into several modules which can be completed at the student’s own pace. For those with prior experience, (e.g. massage and other body therapists, physiotherapists, counselors, nurses etc) several of the land modules may be cross-credited.
  • To count toward Practitioner status, water trainings must be carried out by a WABA authorized instructor.
  • A variety of ‘land courses’ are recommended and have been chosen with the aim of providing the necessary skills for the safe practice of Watsu.

Please note, 620 are the minimum number of hours considered necessary to reach practitioner level. Progress through the practitioner path will vary according to the amount of practice and development undertaken by each student, as well as variations in individual affinity for the work. In line with the Worldwide Aquatic Bodywork Association (WABA), the emphasis is not on the number of hours studied but the mastery of technique and level of presence required of Watsu Practitioners. At the completion of each 50-hr water module recommendations are made for ongoing learning and development through the practitioner path.