Although Watsu therapy has been around since 1980 and it is practiced in more than 40 countries, it is still a little-known secret in Minnesota. But it won’t be for long if Mary LeSourd has her way. LeSourd, a certified Watsu practitioner and senior recreation aquatic therapist at Courage Center, was sold on Watsu the first time she tried it a decade ago.
Today, LeSourd and her co-worker, Derek LaBerge, have seen a sharp increase in people interested to try Watsu. Last April, Courage Center offered free Watsu trials during World Watsu Week. Since then, the buzz has been building. “Once we get people to experience it,” says LeSourd, “they know why we’re so passionate about Watsu.”
Watsu is a gentle form of bodywork therapy performed in warm water. It combines elements of massage, joint mobilization, muscle stretching and dance. The deeply relaxing effects of warm water and nurturing support combine with Watsu’s movements, stretches, massage and point work to create therapeutic benefits and potential healing on several levels.
The benefits of Watsu include: decreased pain and spinal pressure; improved sleep patterns and reduced anxiety; increased joint mobility and muscle relaxation; and renewed sense of alertness and mind/body connection.
This complementary therapy is appropriate for people with traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, arthritis, fibromyalgia, cerebral palsy, anxiety and chronic pain.
Courage Center, a nonprofit rehabilitation and resource center, has always been a local leader in innovative therapies. Now, they are at the forefront of a movement to spread the good word on this holistic, whole body water therapy.
Audrey Kintzi, Courage Center’s Director of Development who has arthritis and fibromyalgia, wanted to try it for herself.
“I came out of the session with tears pouring down my face,” says Kintzi. “For one hour, I forgot what it felt like to not have pain. It all melted away. It was such an emotional release. That night, I slept like a baby for the first time in years.”
Kintzi continues, “I have tried everything to deal with the pain. This was truly a blessing. I’m telling everyone about it. It is absolutely heavenly.”
New patients must undergo an evaluation before receiving treatment; however no doctor or therapist referral is necessary. For more info, please visit www.courage.org or call Mary LeSourd at 763-520-0485