About the WATER Programs

2017 UPDATE Harbin School of Healing Arts does not plan to offer classes in 2017. Please visit our Facebook page or join our mailing list for updates.

Aquatic Bodywork came into being in 1980 when Harold Dull began developing Watsu® in the warm pool at Harbin Hot Springs. Up until that time, therapists had used exercises in water to treat specific conditions. Watsu, by connecting with the breath and working with the whole body, can affect every level of a person’s being. Many consider it the most profound bodywork developing in present time. In clinics around the world, it is supplementing and replacing traditional rehabilitation modalities for a growing number of conditions. In spas worldwide, it is rivaling massage as a method of stress reduction. Like massage, Watsu’s simpler forms are enjoyed by the public among family and friends.

Being the place of origin, this School has been at the forefront in developing and teaching a number of forms of aquatic bodywork that have grown out of Watsu, thus providing practitioners with tools to apply to every possible situation. The School has the most extensive offering of aquatic bodywork classes anywhere. Students come from all over the world to learn skills they can use in therapy, to help prepare themselves for new professions and for personal growth.

In water classes students learn how to move and be with a client in water by applying specifically designed moves and methods, thereby gaining a sound understanding of body mechanics. The supportive nature of the classes can be a perfect place to identify and establish boundaries and process issues that have yet to be explored. Time is also spent covering topics important to those in practice, including ethics, marketing, and continuing education.

The World Aquatic Bodywork Registry, or WABR, maintains practitioner and training standards for Watsu and related aquatic bodywork around the world. The WABR allows instructors, practitioners and clients to find each other to give and receive sessions or take classes. All aquatic (and some land) courses taken at HSHA will appear on the WABR, if the student registers with WABR. When a student completes an aquatic Training Program and is granted Practitioner or Therapist status, being listed as such in the WABR can be helpful in building clientele.

Though HSHA works closely with WABR, please note that WABR is not considered a "school" or recognized as such by the State of California. Therefore, HSHA cannot transfer WABR classes into your HSHA transcript, nor will CAMTC recognize WABR class hours as eligible toward the California 500 hr CMT certificate.

Please note that Harbin Hot Springs is a “clothing optional” community with more than 1800 acres. In our classes, which take place in the secluded Lower Pool at the Domes or Conference Center Pools, swimsuits are required. After classes however, our students have access to Harbin’s hot spring fed pools, where bathing suits are optional.

Water Program Certificates:


Watsu® Provider - 320 Hours

Holders of this certificate would be authorized to provide Watsu sessions to the clients of spas, clinics, and sports clubs, but not as a private, individual practitioner. Those being registered as a Watsu Provider acknowledge that their status is that of an intern and requires an annual renewal with 50 hours of continuing education until they complete all requirements to be a Watsu Therapist, or to be registered as a Watsu Practitioner through WABA. They would be registered alongside those who are already professionals licensed to work with the body.

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Watsu® Therapist - 788 Hours

Complete the 558 Hour Masseur/Masseuse (Massage Therapist) Program and add 230 hours of classes and Practicum. The Watsu Therapist certificate provides you with an extensive training in aquatic bodywork. Combined with sound knowledge of principles of Shiatsu, it prepares you to combine and choose from different techniques to give professional sessions to your clientele. Please call us for details.

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Aquatic Bodyworker - 988 Hours

Complete the Watsu Therapist Program and add 100 hours of water specialization classes and100 hours of land or water electives This extensive program offers the aquatic bodywork student a wide variety of applications to fully experience and integrate profound healing and multi-level therapeutic benefits with confidence and creativity.

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What are WATSU, WATERDANCE and HEALING DANCE?