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.
Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary in Freestone will celebrate its 30th anniversary Aug. 19 with a concert of international music in its Zen garden, along with dinner and cedar enzyme foot baths.
The dinner party features Rupa of Rupa Marya and the April Fishes. Her style gives new meaning to eclectic. It touches on everything from Bohemian funk to punk, jazz to Latin, African to Islander, with lyrics in French, Spanish, English and Hindi.
For $35, ticketholders receive an all-inclusive dinner from Fork Roadhouse, wine from Woodenhead Winery and one of the spa’s signature cedar enzyme footbaths. Osmosis is at 209 Bohemian Hwy, Freestone. For information call (707) 823-8231.
We are both honored and humbled to be celebrating our 30th anniversary of the Cedar Enzyme Bath.
In the three decades since we first introduced to the Cedar Enzyme Bath to the United States, over 300,000 people have enjoyed its many benefits. Thousands of guests have shared with us their experiences of healing: improved sleep, increased mobility, reduced arthritic pain, improved digestion… the list goes on and on. We foresee this therapy becoming a recognized treatment for a wide range of health issues as the scientific community continues to expand their research on the connections between enzymes, probiotics, and human health.
On Friday Osmosis co-hosted a convening of leaders in our community who have an interest in actualizing electric vehicle transportation. We are provided a convivial setting for key players to become acquainted with each other. Our gathering was held in the tub room with everyone’s feet in the enzyme bath! The primary agenda was to accelerate the installation of charging stations for electric cars in our region. We envision this gathering as a first step in a broader effort that will lead to establishing a variety of alternative forms of transportation for our area.