Vital People – Vital Planet

Creek-path at osmosis

Dear Reader,

I am feeling a great sense of urgency to up our game to combat climate change. Seeing ourselves as part of what Paul Hawkin calls “humanities immune system response to what is happening on our planet” we at Osmosis and Green Spa Network are looking for actions that will really have and impact towards positive change. We see no separation between personal and planetary wellness. This information below from WeForest presents a compelling case for tree planting as a real solution to reverse the CO2 emissions crisis by 2030. I would love to hear your thoughts about this? And any ideas about how we at Osmosis and our community of guests could collaborate to lend a hand to this effort.

Many thanks, Michael Stusser

With the Paris Agreement (COP21 in December 2015), world governments committed to limiting carbon emissions to keep global warming “well below” a 2°C rise above pre-industrial levels, and possibly below a 1.5°C rise. In order to achieve this we must achieve carbon neutrality by the second half of this century. While reducing carbon emissions is critical, research suggests that even if carbon dioxide emissions came to a sudden halt, the carbon dioxide already in the Earth’s atmosphere could continue to warm our planet for hundreds of years. Therefore, the challenge is to not only reduce future carbon emissions, but to actively remove existing carbon from our atmosphere.


More than 2 billion hectares of land (or the equivalent of 50% of the world’s forests) are degraded and have been identified as having potential for Forest Restoration. Restoring 350 million hectares of deforested and degraded soils by 2030 (the equivalent of 41% of the size of Brazil’s land surface), whilst at the same time reducing deforestation rates by half, may be enough to limit global warming to +2°C, according to the New York (NY) Declaration in Sept 2014.


There are roughly 3 trillion trees on Earth today and around 15 billion trees are cut down each year. Since the onset of agriculture about 12,000 years ago, the number of trees worldwide has dropped by 46%.

Different initiatives are trying to contain this forest destruction: according to the State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2014, avoided deforestation projects globally (REDD) now cover almost 20 million hectares.

Others like WeForest are focusing on restoration. Projects across the world have restored between 2000 and 2010, about 5 million hectares per year (roughly half of what is being destroyed).

The Bonn Challenge in Sept 2011 announced the target of 150 million ha by 2020. In Sept 2014, the New York Declaration On Forests announced a total of 350 million ha of restored landscapes needed by 2030.

Communities where women participate in the management of local resources have been shown to experience improvements in local resource governance conservation outcomes.

Often the problems of poverty and forest degradation are intertwined. Restoring forests, coupled with sustainable forest management, can help lift economies and provide business opportunities which depend on the protection and nurturing of natural resources.

(10% of the planet’s degraded soil) and the protection of 177m ha in order to stay under the 2°C temperature increase, totaling an area equivalent to 41% of Brazil or a little more than the total surface of India (106%). By using an estimate of 500 trees per ha to be restored, we can say that the world needs 175 billion trees to be planted by 2030 if we wish to positively contribute to the global target of staying under the 2°C temperature increase.

The world population being around 7,5 million people: only 24 additional trees are therefore needed per capita!

The Initiative 20×20, a country-led initiative to restore 20 million hectares of degraded land in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2020 and AFR100, (effort to restore 100 million hectares in Africa by 2030, launched formally at COP 21 in Paris) will support the Bonn Challenge, and the New York Declaration on Forests to promote integrated landscape management with the goal of adapting to and mitigating climate change. The WeForest projects are contributing to these pledges.


The economics are clear. The benefits of trees far outweigh the cost of planting and maintaining them. Restoring the surfaces of these degraded soils would require between $79 and $131 Bn (or an average $7 Bn per annum over the next 15 years), based on the WeForest current project costs.

In 2014, global GDP amounted to about 77.3 trillion U.S. dollars, this total investment to contain global warming represents merely 0,001% of 1 years’ global GDP or 0,08% of 1 years’ global military spending.

In 2006, Nicholas Stern estimated that “capping climate change would cost around 1% of global GDP, while sitting back and letting it hit us would cost between 5 and 20%”. In June 2008, Stern increased the estimate for the annual cost of achieving stabilization between 500 and 550 ppm CO2e to 2% of GDP to account for faster than expected climate change.


The simplest way to restore vegetative cover is to protect it from the causes of degradation, which mostly constitutes exploitation (harvesting and grazing) and fires. With Natural Regeneration (NR), vegetation can spread naturally, even on bare lands but the process is often slow or limited by other land uses. Facilitating vegetation growth through the protection of wild saplings, enrichment planting of trees, bushes and grass will speed up the process. This is called assisted natural regeneration (ANR) which we use across most of our planting sites.

Why plant in tropical regions and not in Europe or North America?

The northern hemisphere would benefit from more trees for soil, biodiversity and water, not however for poverty alleviation and nor for their cooling effect. According to Dr. Govindasamy Bala (2006), planting trees in tropical regions rather than in northern latitudes is more beneficial for climate: “the darkening of the surface by new forest canopies in the high-latitude boreal regions allows absorption of more sunlight that helps to warm the surface. In fact, planting more trees in high latitudes could be counterproductive from a climate perspective.”

It’s not just about planting. Forests must be protected in the long term and this can only be achieved by making standing forests more valuable for local communities. This requires education programs, participation of local groups and leaders in the development of the project as well as long-term income generation either through agroforestry models or participation in long-term carbon certification schemes as done in India by WeForest.

The types of trees matter. Indigenous trees (or native trees) have evolved over thousands of years in a particular region and have adapted to that geography, hydrology, and climate. They are the ones that should be preferred for reforestation. When conditions permit, 10% of the trees planted in the WeForest projects are fruit trees, which directly provide food and income to local communities.

This information is taken from the website

Osmosis 2017 Photo Contest

Send us your favorite Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary photo that you captured during your visit!

It can be of the garden, of you and your friends having lunch, a moment in our Cedar Enzyme bath… Email your photo to marketing at or post on Instagram using #osmosisphoto2017! Be sure to follow us on Facebook to see the photos that have been submitted.

Our first place winner will receive our most popular Transformation Package – A Cedar Enzyme Bath, followed by our unique Osmosis Fusion Massage, blending the long, relaxing strokes of Swedish-Esalen with the revitalizing techniques of Shiatsu, Thai, and Chinese massage. Two and a half hours of complete bliss!

Second place will receive a Cedar Enzyme Bath for Two.

Deadline to enter is April 30. There is no limit to how many photos you submit. Winner will be announced the 2nd week in May on our Facebook page & Instagram as well as in our newsletter.

Follow us on Facebook & Instagram and show some love to your photo when it is posted. Tell your friends to “like” your photo and possibly influence our decision! Be sure to use #osmosisphoto2017 when posting on Instagram

We look forward to your photos!


Nurturing the Mom-to-Be

By Raizelah Bayen

Pregnancy is a beautiful but delicate time in women’s lives.  While the life of their baby-to-come is growing inside, women can feel challenged by many changes: changing bodies, changing hormones, and changing moods.  As women move through pregnancy, they may experience physical or emotional stresses due to these rapid changes.  Pregnancy Massage can benefit a mother’s physical and emotional well-being, easing a woman’s transition into motherhood.

5 Benefits of Pregnancy Massage

Relaxation and Stress Reduction

While reducing tension and increasing relaxation is a benefit to everyone, it is especially important for mothers-to-be.  Challenged by hormone-related mood swings or anxieties related to life transitions, pregnant women feel re-assured and taken care of by the nurturing touch of an experienced massage therapist, allowing stress to melt away.  

Health care professionals agree that a relaxed mother is a more fertile environment for the growth of the baby.  The relaxation response experienced in massage activates the parasympathetic nervous system, releasing norepinephrine and nitric oxide, resulting in decreased blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen consumption, and increased blood flow.  This means greater oxygen and nutrient circulation for both mom and baby.

Reduces Aches and Pains

Pregnant women’s bodies are growing fast.  As the baby develops and the uterus expands, women are carrying increased weight, resulting in greater pressure on the joints of the lower body, including the hips, knees and ankles.  Massage can help ease the discomfort in these weight-bearing joints. Additionally, the tendons which help to stabilize the uterus, attach at both the sacrum and pubic bone.  The growing uterus is continually pulling on these tendons, creating tension in the low back and pelvic region.  Prenatal massage is useful  in relieving this tension.  Sciatica and calf cramps are also commonly associated with pregnancy. Massage techniques, combined with gentle stretching help to relieve the pain associated with these symptoms.

Improves Blood Circulation

Women’s blood volume increases dramatically during pregnancy to provide for the needs of a growing baby.  By the 6th month of pregnancy, a mother’s blood volume has almost doubled! This dramatic increase may result in symptoms such as swelling, varicose veins or increased blood pressure.  Swedish and lymphatic massage techniques are known to increase and blood and fluid circulation in the body, relieving swelling and increasing oxygen and nutrient delivery to baby, and accelerating the removal of waste.

Balances Hormones and Moods

Studies have shown that massage during pregnancy significantly improves the regulation of hormones: norepinephrine, cortisol and serotonin.  A study conducted by Dr. Tiffany Field at the University of Miami School of Medicine showed that massage both reduces stress hormones, and increases the “feel good” hormones. These improvements in hormone regulation help expectant mothers balance mood swings. Studies also show that women with decreased stress hormones, such as cortisol, and increase norepinephrine, have fewer complications during pregnancy and birth, and a decreased rate of low birth weight of the baby.  Massage is vital to the well-being of mother and, in turn, nurtures the life that grows within her.

Preparation for Labor

Childbirth requires both strength and flexibility, particularly in the low back, pelvis and legs.  Prenatal massage techniques and applied stretches are effective in increasing muscle and joint flexibility in the lower limbs and pelvis, important in the preparation for childbirth.  Recent studies from the Touch Research Institute in Miami Florida indicate that massage provides more than just symptom relief, but also fewer complications in delivery.  The women studied showed lower levels of anxiety, stress, sleep problems and back pain, in addition to reduced rates in labor complications.

Pregnancy Massage at Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary

At Osmosis, we have specialty cushions, designed for pregnant women, allowing them to receive massage lying face down through the ninth month of pregnancy.  Our specially trained massage therapists are also able to perform a full-body massage in a side-lying position for those who feel more comfortable that way.  Our Pregnancy massage therapists are knowledgeable of the techniques most effective in relieving pregnancy symptoms, such as low back pain, sciatica, calf cramps and aches in the joints of the lower limbs.  Our massage therapists are also aware of which techniques, acupressure points and aromatherapy oils, are contraindicated for use during pregnancy.

Is Pregnancy Massage for Me?

If you want to experience greater ease in pregnancy and childbirth, the answer is YES!

Women experiencing complications in their pregnancy, such as but not limited to diabetes, heavy bleeding, preeclampsia, high blood pressure or unusual pain, should consult with a doctor before pursuing massage therapy.pregnancy massage


Raizelah-Bayen-Osmosis-Day-SpaRaizelah Bayen is a California Certified Massage Therapist, currently employed as the Director of Training and Massage Therapist Supervisor at Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary in Freestone, California.  She has been practicing massage for over 25 years, and teaching T’ui Na, Acupressure, Sports and Pregnancy Massage in massage certification programs for 15 years.  Raizelah is an approved CEU Instructor by the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), offering trainings in Freestone, California and on-site training at your massage school or spa.  For more information, connect with Raizelah Bayen on LinkedIn.

Please contact for information on upcoming trainings in T’ui Na, Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Foot Reflexology, and Body Mechanics for Bodyworkers scheduled in Sebastopol, California.  Or book Raizelah for an on-site training in your massage school or spa in T’ui Na, Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Foot Reflexology or Body Mechanics for Bodyworkers.


Haiku Contest Winners 2017

Thank you for all the amazing Haiku’s submitted to our Osmosis Haiku contest last month! It was not easy to narrow it down to our top three with nearly 100 submissions! Congratulations to the following winners:


Haiku Winner first place

Embraced by cedar

Releasing, an ebb and flow

My soul is renewed.

~Heidi Margocsy, First Place Haiku Winner





Haiku Winner second place


My outdoor massage

Wind chines ringing in the trees

This is bliss to me.

~Kelly Dillman, Second Place Haiku Winner




Haiku Winner runner up

Nestled in soft bliss

My skin is gently renewed

I am young again

~Leah, Runner up Haiku Contest








Meditation: The Return to Presence: Rest Your Mind In What Is

By Tara Brach  Tara Brach’s teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices, mindful attention to our inner life, and a full, compassionate engagement with our world. The result is a distinctive voice in Western Buddhism, one that offers a wise and caring approach to freeing ourselves and society from suffering.

It’s natural that our attention wanders, and the more we relax back, the more that becomes our habit…returning to presence. This meditation opens with conscious breathing and awakening through the body. We then rest in open awareness, and when the attention drifts, guide ourselves to rest our minds, over and over, in the aliveness and presence that is right here.