Relaxing hydrotherapy WATSU (WaterShiatsu) and its effects in third trimester of pregnancy

Schitter, Agnes Maria; Nedeljkovic, Marko; Baur, Heiner; Raio, Luigi (October 2013). Relaxing hydrotherapy WATSU (WaterShiatsu) and its effects in third trimester of pregnancy. Forschende Komplementärmedizin/Res. Complement. Med. 2013;(20 suppl. 3), p. 8. Karger

WATSU (WaterShiatsu) is a bodywork-technique comprising buoyancy, passive stretches, massage, and acupressure that is administered in 35° C warm water. WATSU is believed to exert beneficial effects on pregnancy-related complaints. We conducted a pilot study to test the hypothesis that WATSU treatment during pregnancy can affect low back pain, everyday stress perception, quality of life, tonus of the uterus, amount of amniotic fluid, spontaneous course of breech presentations, and the success rate of external cephalic versions.

Healthy women with singleton pregnancies at gestational week 36 were included in our cohort control pilot trial. Participants in the treatment group (n = 8) received a standardized WATSU-treatment on their first and fourth day of study participation, while participants in the control group were in a waiting condition. Participants underwent ultrasound investigations and completed quantitative and qualitative questionnaires before and after intervention, as well as weekly until birth.

In contrast to the control group, participants in the WATSU-treatment group reported significant relief of low back pain and stress. After WATSU treatment spontaneous version out of breech position occurred once in seven cases, and external cephalic version was successful in two out of three cases. As qualitative data indicate, WATSU was appreciated as a deep relaxing and enjoyable treatment method. No negative side-effects or adverse events were reported.

The findings from our pilot-study support the notion that WATSU might yield therapeutic benefits for pregnant women and warrant further research.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of Complementary and Integrative Medicine (IKIM)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Gynaecology

UniBE Contributor:

Schitter, Agnes Maria, Nedeljkovic, Marko, Raio, Luigi


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health






[23] Edith Maryon Foundation ; [26] Reiner Stiftung




Agnes Maria Schitter

Date Deposited:

23 Jul 2014 16:44

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:36


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