As a long time bodyworker I am always looking for new massage techniques, different ways to use my hands and deepen my understanding of the body, to help ease people’s pain and tension. Near the beginning of my bodywork career I had learned a Barefoot Shiatsu massage, done on the floor with the client clothed, and found it to be fascinating.
However it was lost amidst all the other massage modalities I was learning, and my interests, as well as my career in the spa world, veered toward a specialization in deep tissue, Swedish Esalen massage and other types of oriental bodywork.
Fast forward many years later and thousands of deep tissue massages, and I could start to feel the wear on my wrists and shoulders. I was worried that doing the work I love was no longer sustainable, and I knew that I needed to find a different way to address the deep tension that I kept seeing, in person after person. And then I was re-introduced to barefoot massage, and a whole new world opened up for me. This time I studied a Barefoot Masters™ massage, which is done with oil or cream, much like a Swedish or deep tissue massage, and on a massage table. Sturdy bars erected on the ceiling serve to help the therapist navigate around the table, and a solid table at the client’s head enables some seated massage to also be done, still using the feet. I was like a beginner again, fumbling through to learn how to use this tool that had been, literally, under me the whole time. I had to scrub and polish and take care of my feet like never before, and I had to learn how to use my body in a whole new way, engaging myself from head to toe. Like learning to dance it felt awkward at first, but with each practice session I found myself falling into rhythm and finding the flow, training my feet how to move with grace and ease.
Today I received a barefoot massage from one of the students I just taught, and it was like receiving that dance, with strong pressure and grace of presence, and feeling it change my body, melting and reshaping. When I laid down on the table at the start of the barefoot massage, my body felt hard and tight, full of stress and areas of mild pain. Afterward, as I drove home, I realized all that tension was gone, melted away, and I felt an ease of being that made me smile in deep gratitude. And if I hadn’t known she was using her feet, I never would have noticed, I was too busy feeling utterly relaxed by the slow, broad deep pressure being applied.
I am beyond ecstatic that Osmosis Day Spa, my beloved work home, will be able to offer this transformative type of bodywork starting December 2022. We have taken the best of the Barefoot Masters™ work, Barefoot Shiatsu, Esalen influenced Swedish massage, and our own innovation to create an Osmosis Barefoot Massage. It might sound strange, to be massaged by feet, but I can promise you, it will blow your mind.
Because a foot offers a broad, wide surface to distribute the weight of the practitioner’s body, the Osmosis Barefoot Massage is able to offer a highly effective deep massage that does not feel pokey or bony or painful. Moving slowly, the practitioner’s foot is able to broaden and smooth out knots in the myofascial tissue while simultaneously creating deep relaxation for the nervous system. Using the full weight of their body, and with the help of overhead bars to adjust pressure, practitioners are able to give as much pressure as anyone could want, but also go lightly if needed.
You might think – “Well that sounds great on my back, or maybe my legs, but what about my arms and hands, or neck?” Believe it or not, our barefoot massage has got those areas covered too! Using the ball of the foot, or even skillful toes, practitioners can give the best forearm massage you’ve ever had (I’m not kidding), loosen the neck and even take care of your foot tension. It really is almost too good to be true, but I promise you it is. And today, I was the lucky recipient!
One could also ask – “But aren’t the feet dirty?” Yes, but we have figured that out as well. Using freshly cleaned sandals, our barefoot practitioner will wash their feet with soap and water while you get on the table, and their feet will not touch the ground again until they finish the massage, protected in their sandals. We also keep disinfecting wipes and warm towels on hand, just in case. Our therapists have been trained to safely and effectively perform this massage, taking every precaution to ensure your comfort.
Clearly, the only question left to ask is – “When can I get an Osmosis Barefoot Massage?” As soon as you can book one! We can’t wait to see you in the treatment room.
_____ Written December 2022, by Heather Bishop, Spa Services Manager at Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary
We are thrilled to be able to offer this amazing and effective new modality to our valued clientele starting December 2022!
Drawing from a variety of foot-based massage techniques from around the globe, this massage is performed almost entirely with the practitioner’s feet, using cream or oil. Therapists use bars on the ceiling to manipulate their body weight to be able to provide a variety of pressure levels for a truly therapeutic experience.
EXPERIENCE DEEP BODYWORK
Utilizing the broad, firm pressure offered by the feet, this modality is both thoroughly relaxing and highly effective at releasing myofascial tension and working through multiple layers of muscle tissue. This full body massage is appropriate for anyone who likes deep work, has an athletic body type, or has myofascial tension needing to be released.
Have you ever wished your massage therapist could penetrate your muscles and tissues more deeply? This is the modality for you, and we think you’ll love it! Reach out to our Guest Services team at 707-823-8231 to book your experience today!
Osmosis is proud to partner with Laurel Skin Care, a local Sonoma County brand that uses entirely plant based and organic ingredients in their handmade skin care products. Laurel is a perfect partner for Osmosis, as we share in our vision of enriching the local, and broader, community with earth friendly products created and delivered with love and intention.
With a handful of partnering regenerative, organic and biodynamic farms, found within 100 miles of their Petaluma apothecary-lab, Laurel’s namesake line captures California’s hearty terrain and natural abundance in each and every bottle. In the practice of mindfully sourced beauty, Laurel relies on her own manufacturing and production capabilities for every step.
Unlike many spas that rely heavily on fancy equipment and chemically enhanced products, the Osmosis approach to skincare is holistic and based in our reverence for nature and the healing power of touch. Rather than rely on chemicals and machinery, we have learned that plants contain a much more potent and bio-available form of skin healing that works with our body’s own chemistry, not against it.
Our Laurel facials are entirely plant-based, using the potent healing power of roots, leaves, stems, flowers and seeds to cleanse, fortify, and enrich the skin. Used consistently over time, a plant based skin care regimen can work to draw toxins out of the skin and replenish with vitamins and minerals designed by nature herself, right here in our own backyard.
In addition to this plant-based healing, our highly skilled estheticians offer up their compassionate touch to enhance the power of plant medicine with facial massage that helps to clear the lymphatic system, reduce the effects of aging, increase circulation and induce deep relaxation. We offer natural and effective enhancements to our facials as well, such as Gua Sha, facial cupping, and plant based enzyme peels.
What a time we have endured! A global pandemic that has affected our lives, and our culture, in irreversible ways.
Extreme political division and civil unrest, repeated shutdowns of all non-essential services, and a life suddenly lived over zoom, email, and working from home–if you’re lucky enough to be working at all. Every day we are being asked to bear these burdens and more, which wear on our emotional and psychological resilience. At some point, I am sure almost every single one of us has had a moment of wanting to give up, or a moment of stress levels that feel completely unmanageable. Some words I’ve heard from friends to describe emotions experienced during these moments are: frustrated, worried, isolated, tired, and sad.
How much would you love to know there was something you could do that would lower your stress to pre-COVID levels, relax your muscles, soothe your tensions and boost your immune system? And as an extra bonus, it could also fulfill that deep human need for touch and connection, and provide an opportunity for your body to enter a state of deep relaxation and renewal. What if your doctor, naturopath, chiropractor or acupuncturist could prescribe this treatment for you, as part of your routine preventative health care?
Therapeutic massage can offer relief from a long list of medical symptoms and conditions, as well as provide an essential immune system boost, lowering of stress level, and reset for the nervous system. When massage is provided upon receipt of a doctor’s referral, it is an essential service and can become an integral part of your preventative health care practices, even during this time of COVID shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders.
But is it safe to receive massage right now, when COVID case numbers are rising and ICU beds are full? Unfortunately, nothing short of total isolation in our homes is safe right now; we assume COVID exposure risks every day. However, with that in mind, consider this question – would you visit your doctor right now, if you had a need to see them for an important health concern? What if you knew that visit to your doctor would be a pleasant and effective medicine, and that you would come out feeling relaxed, renewed, and realigned?
It is a time for us to think about risks and priorities. Staying safe and minimizing situations where we could be exposed to COVID is important and a top priority for everyone. However, rising stress or anxiety levels, coupled with social isolation and cabin fever, leaves the body depleted. Stress hormones compromise the immune system, making us more susceptible to any infection. Depression or anxiety further decrease our immunity and can leave us struggling to make it through each day. All of these symptoms are dangerous to our health and enjoyment of life. So I ask you to consider this – would boosting your immunity and mood be a priority to you as well? If you could get a massage in a setting where all COVID guidelines were followed: surfaces sanitized, masks worn, temperatures taken, thorough hand washing before and after your massage, plus two systems of air purification designed to block an airborne virus–it might be worth the very low exposure risk to give your body the boost it needs to keep going, with a renewal of strength and function.
Osmosis values the safety of clients and staff as the highest priority, and we follow all COVID guidelines set forth by the state and county. We also believe that massage IS an essential service, in this time of COVID, and we would love to share this gift with you.
All you have to do is reach out to your trusted doctor (this can include naturopath, chiropractor or acupuncturist, as well as MDs) and let them know you are ready to include massage in your preventative health care practices. Want to know more about how massage can benefit you? See the 25 reasons to get a massage below, have a look around on our website and check out our many massage blogs, or call our Guest Services department. We look forward to hearing from you!
“At a fundamental level, humans have an innate need to connect with nature. When we are in nature – particularly, in a Japanese garden – we feel grounded and our senses are alert. Our pace slows, our heart listens, and our eyes catch subtle moments, like the light shining through the canopy of trees. The mind and body harmonizes with nature, and this journey continues as you step deeper into the garden, where you might encounter unexpected aesthetic or spiritual experiences. In these times, and always, everyone needs a Japanese garden.” – Sadafumi Uchiyama, Chief Curator, Portland Japanese Garden
The Osmosis Spa, best known for the Japanese Enzyme Bath, is also recognized for its authentic Japanese gardens where visitors are invited to experience a healing relationship with nature. Our garden’s flowing waters, soothing evergreens, compelling rock arrangements, and mysterious pathways takes one far away from the familiar demands of daily life. And there are countless subtle fascinations and wonders throughout our garden sanctuary! Artfully pruned shapes that capture the essence of each plant, quiet spaces discovered in corners or reflective pathways, as well as rocks placed in esoteric patterns intended invoke profound stillness.
From the least to the greatest detail, our large Meditation Garden is most captivating. Many visitors have discovered this jewel as a welcomed antidote to the pervasive stress of digital overload and the global health crisis. In addition, Osmosis recently streamed a powerful winter solstice ritual from this garden which was led by an inspired Siberian shaman, to the delight of colorful carp who formed endless patterns among the water lilies as she chanted songs of her ancestors.
Guests who receive services are invited to visit the garden and stay as long as they like, savoring the heightened sense of sensory awareness and inner peace that often follows Osmosis treatments. The impact from your bath, massage, or facial can be amplified many times over by entering this quiet sanctuary.
Now is the time for a pre-holiday reset. Melt away stress and tension in a warm and wonderful Cedar Enzyme bath. Let gifted hands lift the weight of the world with a heart centered healing massage. We are open evenings.