In the month of November, a time for giving thanks, we’d like to highlight and honor some of the ancient Eastern healing modalities that bring well-being to our guests every day.
While Western massage focuses on releasing tension from your muscles, Eastern massage focuses on releasing stagnant life force energy, or Qi, and balance the flow of Qi (pronounced chee) through the energy pathways of the body. Thai, Shiatsu and Essential Meridian Massage are based on the understanding that our body is not just flesh but rather a network of energy pathways. Stuck, weak or imbalanced flow of Qi underlies pain or dis-ease. However, if the energy body is in balance with abundant and fluent Qi then the physical body can be strong and healthy. A vital Qi body is the foundation of health and longevity. Eastern massage modalities bring balance and vitality to this flow.
Shiatsu is a more active style of massage, applying pressure in a rhythmic fashion over the Meridian energy pathways of the body, clearing stuck energy – we call that “tension” – and restoring balance to the energy flow.
Thai massage, like Shiatsu, also incorporates palm and finger pressure massage, but also includes many stretches. Thai is often referred to as “applied yoga,” perfect for someone who enjoys stretching.
Essential Meridian Massage combines Chinese T’ui Na Massage with aroma acupressure. T’ui Na is a brisk-paced style of moving and balancing Qi. This is balanced with the quiet, meditative application of specific essential oils to specific acupressure points to address your health concerns. Essential Meridian Massage is useful for not only musculoskeletal concerns, but also issues with sleep, digestion, fatigue, menstrual/menopausal balance… to name a few.
In addition to these fantastic massage modalities, we offer the Zen Harmony facial. This treatment employs a Japanese facial massage technique that stimulates the muscles and lymph below the surface of the skin, strengthening health and immunity while also improving elasticity.
In November we’re highlighting our Eastern massage and facial modalities with a special “Qi Harmony” package with an Eastern modality massage, Zen Harmony facial, and as a thank you to you, our valued guests, a Gratitude Journal in which to record your blessings.
Thank you for blessing Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary with your love and presence.
Autumn is a dramatic and breathtaking season. The palate of the landscape transforms into a bursting exhibition of golden, warm hues. The flavors of local crops are rich and sweet and filling. It’s a time to begin preparing for winter. Plants and animals focus their energies on building up their resilience for winter, and we can do the same. The dark of winter brings unique challenges to all creatures of the natural world. One challenge that many face is depression.
About 10% of people in the U.S. suffer from depression at any given time and the seasons of autumn and winter trigger the onset of depression for many more, so it’s no surprise that October was chosen to be National Depression Awareness Month. Chances are, you or someone you know has suffered with depression. Depression is characterized by low self-esteem, feelings of hopelessness, disturbed sleeping and eating patterns, and loss of energy. It is a very serious condition that should not be taken lightly nor should those suffering be blamed for the onset of their condition. We can, however, do our best to support one another in coping and building resiliency through healthy habits and routines. Make no mistake, it is difficult to make lifestyle changes while one is in the grip of depression, but even modest changes can lead to marked improvements for those suffering from depression and, for many, helps prevent the onset of depression.
Exercise, yoga, and meditation have all shown to be highly effective in improving mood and stress-coping abilities. Time spent outdoors is especially helpful in the winter months when our exposure to sunlight has decreased. And of course: rest and relaxation. Scheduled downtime and relaxation practices help the mind and body maintain balance and also play a major role in managing stress which is often tied to depression.
So as we move into this new season, let us stay mindful of both the beauty and the suffering that the darker months bring. Let us support one another in preparing for winter, collectively, compassionately.
Be sure to catch the next Sonoma County gem on August 19th—an evening of wine, foot baths, music and dinner at Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary in Freestone. From 6 pm to 9 pm, guests will be serenaded by the Latin-soul-jazz inspired music of Rupa Marya in the meditation garden and enjoy a farm-to-table dinner catered by Fork Roadhouse Restaurant. For only $35, it’s an zen-loving and foodie’s dream come true. This event is only one of many, so be sure to check their website (http://osmosis.com/events/) for upcoming events.
For those of you who haven’t been to Osmosis, you’re in for a treat. After visiting the day spa last Sunday, it’s my opinion that Osmosis should be written “Ahhh-smosis.” At least, that’s how I was pronouncing it by the end of my visit. Instead of taking your breath away, it brings it back to you. Suddenly, time stretches, an hour seems like three hours, your mindfulness seeming to expand with each deep, restful breath.
In our crazy, hectic world, a sanctuary like Osmosis is most needed. Osmosis claims it offers a “pathway to peacefulness.” However he did it, founderMichael Stusser created that pathway, and I walked on it for a while. It was easy to connect with nature as I sat in the Kyoto-style meditation pagoda overlooking the koi fish pond, lured further into peacefulness by the sounds of bubbling waterfalls and chirping birds. For a long time, I watched the red dragonflies zip across the ponds and drink. I watched the golden and red koi fish dart around the white lilies and wiggle up the sides of the pond to nibble algae.
My treatment was the unique Cedar Enzyme Bath, a bath actually made up of soft ground cedar, rice bran, and living enzymes. If you’re like me, you love trees. Love to climb them, meditate in them, read books under them. But how often can you say you’ve been encased by a tree? This fermentation bathing ritual originates from Japan, and Osmosis is the only spa on our continent that offers the treatment. It’s the strangest, softest feeling—imagine stepping into a sauna that has been turned into soft fluff, then imagine the fluff pillowed all around you. When you move, it heats up because you are activating the enzymes which then stimulate metabolic activity inside and out. The Cedar Enzyme Bath is known for improving circulation, relieving muscle pain, and deeply cleaning your skin. During the treatment, my attendant Ariel was most attentive, placing cold towels on my face and serving me water with electrolytes to help restore the toxins leaving my body.
Before I began the process, I was served a tea made up of nettle, herbs and digestive enzymes, meant to begin the process of cleansing from the inside out (in simple terms, designed to make you sweat). I was served the tea in a room overlooking my very own private Japanese tea garden—which I promptly walked into, exploring the tiny arcing bridge and the shape of the rocks, the tranquilwaterfall, the sculpted bonsai trees.
After my Cedar Enzyme bath, I received a brain-balancing Hemi-sync sound therapy session on a wide, padded hammock. As I laid there, listening to a soundtrack titled, “Wind Over Water,” I watch the wind move the trees, and then felt it move me, slowly, back and forth. I don’t think I ever have watched the willow trees of Salmon Creek quite as intensely as I did last Sunday. Cabbage butterflies flitted together; an occasional hawkcircled overhead. I wasn’t really sure when the 30-minute soundtrack ended and the real nature sounds began, since there was still the sound of wind, birds, and an occasional chime. The smile that had been forced to my lips at the beginning of the day now floated permanently, effortlessly across my face.
It’s now been less than 24 hours since I left Osmosis’ perfectly manicured gardens and ponds, but I’ve called to mind the peaceful scenes I witnessed many times. Already, it’s helped me through the beginning of a fast-paced week. I can’t help but think of Wordsworth’s poem, “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey,” specifically the references of how memories of harmonious nature can get us through anything, of how even in the din of towns and cities, our memories can fill us with sensations sweet.
When you visit, be sure to check out their membership club. One club option is a 75-minute Swedish massage once a month and unlimited access to the tranquil gardens—all for only $99 per month. An organic lunch (catered by Fork Roadhouse) can be savored while you sit overlooking Salmon Creek. Meat-loving and vegan options are available.
For tickets to the August 19th outdoor concert and dinner, or to schedule your next spa treatment, contact Osmosis at www.Osmosis.com or call 707-823-8231. The day spa sanctuary is located at 209 Bohemian Highway in Freestone.
There is a general consensus that spending time outdoors is good for you. Fresh air to revive the senses, sitting by a stream to calm the spirit. We know these activities are not only good for us, but feel wonderfully refreshing, even euphoric.
Like many activities that have been practiced throughout the ages, modern science is backing up what we’ve experienced empirically for so long. In 2015, Stanford University completed two studies on spending time in nature, one studied the psychological effects and the other was a cognitive neuroscience study. Not surprisingly, both studies showed dramatic differences between individuals who took a walk in nature compared to those who took a walk in an urban environment. One marked difference between the groups was the abatement of “brooding thoughts” in the group who had been in nature. “Brooding” or “rumination” was defined as repetitive, nagging thoughts with negative and self-critical messages. This internal chatter and self-criticism leads to serious depression and severe anxiety in some, though it is familiar to all of us. Fortunately, many practices have been developed over thousands of years that help us free ourselves from our own worst enemy. Practices like meditation, prayer, yoga, selfless service, self care, body work… all have shown to deliver us from our merciless inner judge. Past generations may have not needed to include “spending time in nature” in their self-care activities, as that was once a staple of daily life, but in this day and age, as more humans inhabit urban, concrete environments, an effort must be made to get our needed dose of greenery and fresh air.
This communion with nature as spiritual practice was built into the design of Osmosis. We recognize it as a key element to healing, rejuvenation, and mental and physical wellness. The majority of our grounds are designated to giving our guests unique experiences in nature. We encourage each of our guests to find a cushion beside the Heart Mind Pond in the meditation garden and open to all of their senses, or lay in the Field of Hammocks while swaying in the breeze listening to meditative sound therapy music. A massage in an outdoor pagoda, a walk through the forest, lunch beside Salmon Creek… these all offer a healthy dose of outdoor tonic.
Henry David Thoreau reminded us that “we need the tonic of wildness.” Do yourself a favor this month and spend some time out of doors, whether it be in the Osmosis gardens, the Sonoma Coast, or your own backyard. You deserve it.
Who doesn’t love a good spa treatment? If done right, you leave feeling renewed and refreshed. What’s even better? Having a spa experience outdoors. Hearing the sound of waves crashing, or birds in the treetops, or taking in the scent of wildflowers, or a view of the stars adds an even more intense dimension. We went looking for some of the most original outdoor spa experiences in the world, going way beyond your basic rubdown. Whether you are having an Aqua massage in the Caribbean, soaking in hot springs, or dipping in a Japanese cedar enzyme bath — here are 13 of the coolest outdoor spa treatments to dream about this summer.
Osmosis Sanctuary Cedar Enzyme Bath Treatment
The Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary is an Eastern-inspired spa in Freestone, California. Their outdoor Cedar Enzyme Bath, the only one in the country, promises revive skin and heal aching muscles. Inspired by ancient Japanese traditions, the unique treatment can be done solo or with friends. To start you need to sit in a wooden tub filled with finely ground cedar, rice bran, and plant enzymes. The natural heat from the bath opens your pores, while the enzymes help detox skin.