Over 30 years serving West Sonoma County, Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary’s Cedar Enzyme Bath continues to remain a favorite among many. Do you ever wonder why people continue to come back, again and again, to get buried up to their neck in cedar and rice bran? Osmosis guests have reported experiencing a wide range of wellness and health benefits over the years. The following are the top five most celebrated.
Reduced Tension and Stress
For centuries, heat has been used as a simple and effective way to manage tension and stress. Upon entering the bath you will quickly feel the warmth that is generated by biological fermentation, mimicking your body’s’ own natural metabolic processes. You may perspire, as you feel this extraordinary heat radiate through your body helping your muscle fibers to loosen and relax while reducing muscle tension and pain.
Breaks Down Lactic Acid in Sore Muscles
Overworked muscles and a buildup of lactic acid are what causes the pain associated with exercising. Heat helps your muscles to relax and encourages blood flow to the area which can reduce pain. Increasing blood flow to sore muscles helps in eliminating lactic acid waste buildup which contributes to pain.
Beautifies the Skin
Rice bran, a key ingredient in the Cedar Enzyme Bath, is high in enzymes and has a wonderful deep-moisturizing capability. This is due in part to its combination of vitamin E and fatty acids. Vitamin E improves the functioning of the endocrine system by balancing the release of hormones in the body. Beta-carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A, is also found in rice bran in significant amounts, which promotes the health and vitality of your skin. Rice bran also adds revitalizing nutrients to your body’s largest and most sensitive organ.
Detoxification and Improved Digestion
The tea and bath work together to metabolize waste, cleanse organs and facilitate absorption of nutrients. Enzymes are the catalytic force in all change in the living tissue. They are mostly known to help digestion, but they also conduct a whole symphony of functions from the exchange of oxygen from the lining of the lungs into the bloodstream and the whole movement of energy through your nervous system.
Heat causes the blood vessels to dilate, which increases blood flow and removes toxins from cells. Increased blood flow brings oxygen and nutrients to the area. The bath dilates the cardiovascular system and increases blood flow to even the smallest capillaries.
If you have not experienced the Cedar Enzyme Bath for yourself, it is time to book a visit now! You can improve your health as well as your skin while reducing overall stress. Doesn’t get much better than that. This unique experience is also a great way to prepare your body for a relaxing massage. Osmosis Day Spa offers numerous packages to take advantage of the full experience! Convenient online booking can be found at the following link www.osmosis.com
By Kim Westerman
At the base of the Bohemian Highway, within a stone’s throw of California’s best coastal vineyards, is the tiny town of Freestone, tucked between the redwoods and the ocean. Blink your eyes and you’ll miss it—but consider it a destination for deep relaxation. Osmosis Day Spa & Sanctuary, founded by Michael Stusser in 1985, is a Zen meditation retreat here, at the center of which is a cedar enzyme bath experience.
A day at Osmosis begins with a welcoming cup of hot tea and a walk through the Kyoto-style meditation garden, whose labyrinthine paths are designed to bring you into the present moment. Based on the Zen parable of The Ox and the Herder, a metaphor for the experience of enlightenment, the ten-stage journey carries you through various elements of earth and water with opportunities to stop and reflect for as long as you’d like.
Zen Garden meditation space at Osmosis Day Spa. Photo by Kim Westerman
Designed by British horticulturist Robert Ketchell and built by the late Steve Stucky, once the Abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center, the garden is lovingly tended by unobtrusive staff who will come find you if you lose track of time. After all, that’s the point.
The lovingly tended rock garden at Osmosis Day Spa. Photo by Kim Westerman
When it’s time, you’ll be led back to the main building for a tea service in a private room overlooking a beautiful tea garden that you’re also welcome to stroll in. The tea is infused with enzymes designed to aid digestion and mirror the experience your skin will have in the forthcoming cedar enzyme bath.
Next, we had massages in the couples room, a quiet space where two therapists work in harmony on your respective sore muscles, tailoring the treatment to your specific needs. There are also outdoor pagodas available for massage therapy, a good option on warmer days. Our massage therapists were especially attuned not only to what we reported our bodies needed, but also what they sensed through their own intuitive assessment.
After the deeply relaxing massage, we took a break for lunch, which was a generous salad of local greens and an egg, served at a picnic table by the creek.
Lunch by the creek at Osmosis Day Spa. Photo by Kim Westerman
At last, the main event: the cedar enzyme bath, a therapeutic treatment from Japan that is the only one of its kind in North America. Wooden boxes hold the deeply aromatic mixture of ground cedar and rice bran, infused with enzymes created by a biological catalyst imported from Japan that triggers fermentation, hence the steam rising from the “bath,” which is, actually, not wet, but rather humid from perpetual fermentation. And warm. Perfectly, relaxingly warm.
The cedar enzyme bath is the only one of its kind in North America. Photo by Kim Westerman
The cedar enzyme bath takes about 30 minutes, all told, and an attendant walks you through the process, coming in periodically to wipe your face with a cool cloth and give you a sip of water (as your hands are buried in the mixture). Then, she brushes your skin off with a little broom—yes, a broom!—before leading you into the adjacent shower.
So relaxing was our time at Osmosis that it seemed like a crime to get in the car and drive back to reality. But it’s a comfort to know that this sanctuary is always there.
Shinrin-yoku is a term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. A robust body of scientific literature now exists on the health benefits of spending time under the canopy of a living forest. Inspired by the Japanese practice and the emerging worldwide trend toward nature-based wellness practices, Osmosis is offering this one-day retreat in partnership with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs. Through training a world-wide network of Certified Forest Therapy Guides, this association is leading the effort to bring shinrin-yoku inspired practices to the United States and the rest of the world.
M. Amos Clifford, the founder of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs and one of the world’s leading advocates for Forest Therapy. Along with Nicole Daspit, a Certified Forest Therapy Guide, Amos will facilitate a series of invitations that progressively deepen connection with the more-than-human world of nature. His perspective is that the forest itself is the therapist; as a guide, he opens the doors of sensing, embodiment, and presence that allow the forest to come into a person’s consciousness and do its healing work. For more information about forest therapy see www.nftg.org.
What to expect:
Expect a very leisurely walk with a series of guided invitations, ending with “shinrin-yoku tea,” a simple ceremony of drinking tea made of plants foraged along the trail.
The program includes a mindful Forest Bathing walk, a cedar enzyme foot-bath, a revitalizing 75-minute massage or facial, organic lunch, shinrin-yoku tea and time for quiet reflection in the gardens.
Last fall my friend Duke from Ten Thousand waves, the Japanese style hot tub spa in Santa Fe New Mexico, forwarded me an article about the enzyme bath published in the Japan Timessuggesting there was growing interest in this esoteric therapy.
This article became the impetus to visit Japan for the first time in many years.