Harold Dull

created Watsu®, the world's first Aquatic Bodywork, by bringing into water the stretches and principles of the Zen Shiatsu that he had studied with its creator, Shizuto Masunaga, in Japan. Harold then brought Watsu's unconditional holding and the movement of water back onto land in Tantsu® and Tantsuyoga. The profundity and effectiveness of the bodywork forms he has created reflect his passionate practice and deep understanding of energy and the body. Their creativity reflects his background as a poet in the San Francisco Renaissance and his love for the forms of art in which he finds the same creative engagement of our life force as in Watsu and Tantsu.

Harold was born in 1935 in Seattle and on graduation from the University of Washington in 1957, joined the poets who formed the San Francisco Renaissance where several of his books were published. After two years in Europe and three in Mexico City, he began to study Zen Shiatsu. In 1980 he began teaching it at a hot springs in Northern California and applied its stretches while floating his students in a warm pool. This evolved into the Watsu that is now used around the world in clinics and spas. For 35 years Harold has traveled to teach Watsu and Tantsu. He has taught in 30 countries, almost all the countries of Europe, and Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada, Chile, Argentina, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, India and Israel. He has studied several languages. He developed and maintains a Registry on the web that stores the transcripts of those from 95 countries who have studied Aquatic Bodywork and Tantsu and lists authorized practitioners, instructors and classes. He continues to be involved in the creation and production of his videos and books. When he is not traveling to teach he lives with his wife in Berkeley.

Harold writes: In 1980, when I floated someone in a warm pool and applied the stretches and principles of Zen Shiatsu, I had no idea that what was coming into being would help millions of children and others in clinics and spas around the world, and would become a new way to bring people together to come to know and celebrate their connection. When I started applying Zen Shiatsu’s principle of being not doing, unconditionally holding others, I was surprised by how much oneness I felt with whoever I floated at my heart. I saw Watsu as healing our wounds of separation. Thousands of Watsus later, I am no longer surprised. Watsu frees us from the illusion of separation. We saw benefits come to both those floating, and to those being floated. Many practitioners and instructors speak of how Watsu changed their lives. It changed mine. Once our program to train professionals in spas and clinics neared completion, I began to focus on how to get the benefits of Watsu out to everybody in rounds of three in Watsu and Tantsu. These rounds, and the latest Tandem Watsu in which two Watsu a third between them, and how to share these in a small backyard pool or home spa, are featured in my latest textbook for Watsu 1:

Watsu Basic and Explorer Paths on Land and in Water

Harold writes: Looking back over eighty years I see two lives. The first forty years was a Life in Poetry, and the second, a life in Watsu. Each was centered around a place, one, San Francisco, the other, Harbin Hot Springs before the fire. Each place had a scene created by those drawn to that place, a scene that encompassed our conflicts to engage our creativity in a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. In one that wholeness was sought and shared in language, in the other, in the body. In one, poets from the past join us; in the other, whoever is in our arms in pools around the world. Cross the bridge between those two worlds with me:

On the Sources of Watsu

Listen to two other poems from that first life

wood climb down out of               Night of the Perseids

and five from the second

Dance Poems

Harold's Watsu and Tantsu books and DVDs, and his collected poems, Finding Ways to Water, can be ordered from

Watsu Publishing

In September, 2018, Harold had a tonsellectomy and is no longer able to enter a pool. He is continuing to work on the Registry and a new Watsu book. After the surgery he wrote a memoir of his life that can be accessed at

Watsu® and Tantsu® are registered service marks of Harold Dull.