a slideshow of Healing Dance moves

Welcome to the official site of Healing Dance®, a holistic therapy practiced in warm water. May you enjoy yourself here and find what you’re looking for. For an overview of the technique, just scroll down this page to the FAQ's. Under The Trainings link you will find for each course a description, slideshow, short video and the written and photo manuals in PDF format to download. (Some materials are available in Deutsch and português.) A worldwide class schedule, teacher profiles, and lists of practitioners and students give you access to the Healing Dance Team.


How was Healing Dance developed?
How does it work?
Who it is for?
How can I book a session?
How do I sign up for a training?
Testimonials from course participants


How was Healing Dance developed?
In 1990, while a resident at Harbin Hot Springs in northern California, Alexander George studied Watsu from its founder, Harold Dull. Following the course he began experimenting and improvising in the Harbin warm pool. Alexander was influenced not only by his professional background in ballet and Trager Work, but also by the ways in which the body and water interact in movement. After studying WaterDance in 1993 from Arjana Brunschwiler, a new spaciousness and three-dimensionality appeared in his experimental moves. By then, he had created a flowing and dancing side branch of WatsuAlexander, Inika, and Mary . Healing Dance, as the technique Alexander innovated is now called, has had to refine itself down from the sheer joy of movement to discover its full therapeutic potential. Since 1999 Inika Sati Spence has collaborated closely with him in defining and growing the work into a distinct technique. Mary Theri Thomas joined the roster of teachers of Healing Dance in 2003, having already made significant contributions to its development. Since 2007, Kathrin George's perspective as a physical therapist has brought further refinements.

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How does it work?
Healing Dance has many aspects, all based on the healing power of movement. The practitioner establishes an empathetic connection with the receiver and is trained to mirror any incipient kinetic impulses. Like an orchestra conductor, he establishes a rhythmic field at the beginning of the session through his breath, movement and state of mind. He looks for the rhythm of awareness in each moment that allows the receiver to feel the psychological reverberations of the movement in her being. Movement is understood as medicine and carefully dosed, intermixed with restful pauses in quiet positional sanctuaries to allow for integration of its effects. The practitioner ‘dances’ the receiver, who has an experience of grace and beauty, sometimes leading to deeper emotional releases. Healing Dance could be understood as silent music, consisting of rhythmic impulses of pressure, touch and movement played upon the body’s proprioceptors. The dance is between the subliminal message within each movement and the receiver’s subconscious mind. That which has slowed down or ceased to move within the psyche is inspired to awaken into playful participation. Thus, the healing comes from within.

Healing Dance’s wide variety of original techniques reflects how water and the body naturally move together. Blocked energies are opened up by more than thirty hydrodynamic waves and spirals, as well as various spatial mandalas in the form of circles, figure 8’s and releases, freeing and re-animating the body. Healing Dance takes advantage of the full three-dimensionality of the water with broad dynamic movements. A variety of advanced body mechanics techniques such as moving by example, creative imbalance and traveling through the pool help to create not only bigger movements, but also subtler and more sensitive ones. The essence of Healing Dance is flow, freedom and lightness. As the vocabulary of movements expands, students become more confident to improvise and better respond to the needs of the receiver.

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Who it is for?
The first appeal of Healing Dance is to those who love water and stretching, who wish to experience beauty, grace and surrender to the power of movement. More than any other aquatic technique, it is the Dance. It brings the experience of physical freedom, especially poignant for the handicapped who are unable to stand or walk. For the athlete, martial artist, swimmer, diver, dancer and would-be dancer, the movements of Healing Dance are a delight and an invitation to playfully participate by allowing their own movement impulses expression. Healing Dance’s waves with the receiver lying on her side are beneficially disorienting and excellent for releasing holding patterns of a psychological origin. These waves, with the multiple joint mobilization they offer, are good for spinal problems; receivers often report that their backs feel much better following a session. As receivers soon discover, there is much of stillness and nurture in the Healing Dance, too, moments to expand into oneself while being safely held. Healing Dance is for everyone.


How do I book a session?
Check first on the Practitoners page to see if a Healing Dance Practitioner is in your area. If not, try the Students page.

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How do I sign up for a training?
If you are new to aquatic bodywork, you have a choice of several entry level courses to prepare you for Basic Healing Dance. In the US these include the Healing Dance Introductory Weekend, Aquaternatives, Watsu I, Aquamassage, Dolphin Dance Above and Jahara Basics. Our worldwide schedule of trainings is to be found on the Schedule page. The Contact Us page can put you in touch with regional organizers. Trainings are also listed on these sites: waba.edu for worldwide class listings, iaka.de for classes in Germany, watsu.nl for classes in the Netherlands and healingdance.co.il for classes in Israel.

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Testimonials from course participants

Healing Dance helps people come alive again. L.S.

The moves are so much more natural to me. Freeing my legs! Being allowed to use steps to create pull and traction. M.B.

I thought we’d be learning techniques for aquatic bodywork and I was instead shown a fabulous path to self-realization... C. S.

I expected to learn flowing motion—and I did! Wriggling the tension out, the stuck emotions and energy... D.M.

The one thing I didn’t expect is how much I would love it! J.W-F

Went way beyond my expectations--the amount of material covered, the genius of the work. B.S.

This was a highlight experience in my aquatic bodywork training. I very much appreciate the thoughtfulness in the design of each move, the precision and clarity behind every step. M.J.

Feeling at peace and part of all there is. Seeing and feeling the patterns that are universal. D.M.

All the these moves naturally are in my body…. This week has awakened a beautiful natural flow that spills out and over into the rest of my life. A.C.

Looking for a new freedom in my bodywork. I got it! A.C.

I feel so much more confident to give a good session with this material. The whole style, working with the rhythms of the body, is valuable for all of my life. R.H.

The whole Healing Dance just opens up my inner self, lets me surrender and trigger all the primal stages, which I have never felt so clear! G.E.

Receiving the work…. has opened rivers of energy in me. Emotionally… also memories come up. I feel change within. Professionally I am experiencing a different way of being with people. T. A.

The feeling of the waves as heart-healers. Wonder. Wonderfulness. F.O.

Improv is amazing, effective subtle way of teaching presence and developing free-flow approach and techniques. Inika has a creative flow; this is not taught here in other classes and can only unfold organically. M.C.

I enjoyed improvisation classes a lot. It is in a spirit of healing not to stick to the routine in a rigid way. I found authentic movement on land and in the water very instrumental to my growth and learning. I also value and appreciate other growth oriented processes, which may help us to become more balanced and mature healers. A.S.

The improv theme was really perfect for me at this time and added so much fun and intimacy to the group experience. It made it so that the structure of the class is a reflection of the nature of the work. K.G.


Ich nehme Präminegutscheine an von der:
Service- und Programmstelle Bildungsprämie
beim Projektträger im DLR
Heinrich-Konen-Str. 1
53227 Bonn
Tel.: 0800 2623-000
Die Bildungsprämie wird aus Mitteln des Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung und aus dem Europäischen Sozialfonds der Europäischen Union gefördert.

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