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
More and more data is revealing that spending time outdoors can actually make you healthier. Escaping to the woods, mountains or a walk along the beach helps both your body and your brain. At Osmosis, we recognize communion with nature is a key element to healing, rejuvenation and mental and physical wellness.
Our extensive grounds are designed to give our guests unique experiences in nature. From enjoying a massage in one of our creekside Pagodas, sound healing in our Field of Hammocks, or a relaxing stroll through our Japanese inspired meditation gardens, we have you covered!
We feel very blessed to be located in West Sonoma County with so many scenic wonders. Bodega Bay and the rugged Sonoma Coast are just minutes away along with charming redwood ringed Freestone and Occidental—there is so much outdoor allurement in West Sonoma County this time of year! The Sonoma Coast offers some of the most spectacular grandeur in all of California. Rolling hills with rich biodiversity meet the wild Pacific Ocean on Sonoma County’s 62-mile stunning coastline.
For your end of summer enjoyment, we have compiled a list of our Top 10 Outdoor Activities in West Sonoma County that can actually make us healthier. Read on to learn more.
HIKING – Pomo Canyon Trail – One of the best hikes in Sonoma County, the Pomo Canyon to Shell Beach hike offers a little bit of everything, from towering redwoods to pounding surf, from ferny dells to ridge-top vistas.
KAYAKING – WaterTreks – Where the river meets the waves in the heart of Sonoma Coast StatePark and the Greater Farallones Sanctuary
STAND UP PADDLE BOARDING – Located in the heart of the Wine Country, just south of Healdsburg, Russian River Paddle Boards offers both tours and rentals on some of themost undisturbed and pristine bodies of water in the county.
ZIP LINING – Sonoma Canopy Tours – Marvel at panoramic forest views and deep ravines. Discover the world-famous California Coastal Redwoods in a way you never imagined.
BICYCLING – West County Regional Trail – The West County Regional & Joe Rodota Trails are built along land that was once the Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railway, a line that linked Petaluma and Santa Rosa with Sebastopol and Forestville. The trails total fourteen miles long. The trails are paved for walking, bicycle riding, and roller skating.
WATCH THE SUNSET – Bodega Bay – Enjoy spectacular sunsets along this shallow, rocky inlet of the Pacific Ocean on the coast of Northern California in the United States.
SURFING – Salmon Creek State Beach – North Salmon Creek Beach is right off Coast Highway 1 just north of Bodega Bay. Surfers are often out in the waves north of the river mouth.
FISHING – Russian River – Summer’s warm water provides small and large mouth bass, along with bluegill—the slow, lazy waters provide easy fishing from the banks. You can also fish from a boat. Drop in a line and let the day float by.
CAMPING – There are four camping areas in Sonoma Coast State Park. Bodega Dunes Campground is the campground with the most amenities. Wright’s Beach Campground is a little less fancy. Willow Creek Campground and Pomo Canyon Campground are what the state of California calls “Environmental Camps” or primitive camping areas.
FARMERS MARKETS – Occidental Farmers Market – Friday evenings from 5-8 p.m. June through October this quaint town comes alive! Great food vendors, live music and a unique mix of West County Locals. Sebastopol Farmers Market – Every Sunday all year round from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Russian River Farmers Market – Stop by the Guerneville Farmers Market and have a family dinner with the wonderful selection of goodies for everyone, from fresh fruit and vegetables to baked goods. You can even get made to order food as well. This is a great way to spend a Thursday night!
“I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.” –Henry David Thoreau
Have you ever wondered how you could possibly make time for self care when you have kids? Are you feeling guilty that you haven’t spent quality time with your family in a while? At Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary, we have a solution. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to prioritize self care as well as family time. Sound a bit like having your cake and eating it too? Well it is, and you deserve it! Read on to find our Top 5 Tipson How to Parent and Enjoy Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary.
Meander towards the coast on a scenic drive. Connect with your family as you enjoy the variety of landscapes that Sonoma County has to offer: from oak-studded hills to scenic valleys, from redwood groves to windswept beaches. Osmosis is located in the historic town of Freestone at the beginning of the Bohemian Highway. Nestled between river and coast, redwoods and vineyards, Freestone is close to everything wonderful in West Sonoma County.
Indulge Mom while discovering the world-famous California Coastal Redwoods in a way you never imagined. Mom begins her great escape by settling into the warmth of a Cedar Enzyme Bath. This warm and fragrant treatment offers myriad health benefits, from improving circulation to relieving joint and muscle pain. This is followed by the Osmosis Fusion Massage in a secluded Pagoda along the forested banks of Salmon Creek. Her journey of quietude concludes in the Japanese style meditation garden where she is invited to walk, lay, sit, or meditate while experiencing its ethereal feel that is unmistakably calming. At the same time, Dad and the kids head down Bohemian Highway to Sonoma Canopy Tours just 6 miles away. They have two unique courses that feature zip lines, bridges and rappels for most ages and abilities. As well as panoramic forest views and deep ravines.
Nourish the Family Unit with Fresh Baked Bread, Artisan Cheese and Gardens. After a couple hours of high adventure, it is time to come together and grab some fresh bread at Wild Flower Bakery in Freestone, (please note their business hours of Fri., Sat., Sun., and Mon. from 8am-6:30pm). This quaint, storied bake shop has organic French breads, scones & other treats, plus specialty coffees is a great way to break up the day. Visitors are welcome to wander in their garden located just beside the bakery. It features herbs, vegetables and flowers and picnic tables. Don’t forget to pick up some hand crafted artisan cheeses along the way at Freestone Artisan Cheese just a short walk through town.
Rejuvenate Dad while discovering windswept beaches. A cedar enzyme bath is a good place to start for Dad. This fermentation bathing ritual involves immersing your entire body in a mixture of soft and fragrant ground cedar and rice bran with living enzymes that stimulate metabolic activity inside and out. Next up for Dad is an Osmosis Men’s Signature Facial, specially formulated for men’s skin care needs, including a series of hot towels and a relaxing foot treatment. At the same time, Mom begins her bonding adventure with the kids at Doran Beach Regional Park. This family friendly beach has a wide, 2-mile stretch of beach on Bodega Bay and is ideal for walking, picnicking, playing in the sand, flying kites, surfing, and bird-watching.
Conclude the Day’s adventure with Dinner & Shopping. After Mom, Dad and the kids have been wonderfully nurtured, it is time for the family to come together to enjoy some food and shopping. The Barlow brings together the very best wine makers, food producers and artisans, creating a space that offers a direct connection between the consumer and the makers of the local products they love. It’s a place to share food and enjoy art, wine and time together.
These Top 5 Tips, are only a suggestion to the myriad of good times and relaxation a family can have together while spending the day in West Sonoma County. Feel free to substitute any adventure with some of the links below. We also invite you to explore our website to further customize your your experience to fit your families needs.
Summer. A time for being in nature. For fresh air. When our skin gets to feel the warm sun, lie in the cleansing sand. The season designated for relaxation. So what are the best ways to relax in Sonoma County this summer? Luckily for us, this beautiful part of the country offers majestic natural landscapes that make for wonderful getaways–that time in nature is so important to our physical, mental, and emotional restoration! Here are our top five ways to enjoy Osmosis during the season of abundance.
Massage in the Pagodas. Take a stroll down the wooded paths to a private pagoda and enjoy the songs of nature as you treat your muscles, your skin, and your mind, to some healing kneading.
Hammocks! Need we say more? Sway in the soft breeze along Salmon Creek and rock yourself into a blissful summer dream.
Lunch in the forest. Taste the bounty of local Sonoma County farms while enjoying a fresh, local meal prepared by Fork Roadhouse. Get lost in the views from our eating areas tucked away among the trees.
Summer Skin Care. Let one of our expert estheticians rejuvenate you face, heal sun damage, and hydrate your skin–leaving you looking and feeling your best.
The gardens! Soak up some rays or relax in the shade. Let your mind wander as you watch the coy fish meander through the Heart Mind Pond. Take a deep breath. This is what summer is all about.
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.