When my son (now in his thirties) was born, I was given a book titled Loving Hands: The Traditional Art of Baby Massage by Frederick Leboyer. In those early months of new motherhood I would set aside time to massage my baby son with pure coconut oil following his bath. He loved it. He returned the favor when he was still small — by crawling, and then walking on my back when I would lie on the floor. He thought it was very entertaining, and I loved it. These were special bonding times for both of us, helping us to just relax and have fun together. I continued to massage him as he grew older, especially his head and feet, assisting him to disconnect from the stresses of daily life and ease into a relaxed state.
I am lying on a bed of chamomile, deeply inhaling its gentle fragrance as I listen to a waterfall flowing behind me. I don’t want to leave here but am too energized to stay, so I rise and follow a stone path around a heart-shaped koi pond and across the small waterfall.
There, I take one last look at the guardian stones — boulders, practically — and wish them well.
“Every Japanese temple garden has these three stones, kind of a trinity of spirits to watch over the well-being of the garden,” Osmosis founder Michael Stusser had told me during a tour of his haven that morning. “They’re usually quite small and subtle. It’s a break with tradition to have guardian stones so large.”
FREESTONE, Sonoma County – Everything I’d read and heard about Osmosis – and it was all good – included a breathless claim: “It’s the only place in America with a Japanese enzyme bath!”
So my first question for Michael Stusser, who created this “om” of an oasis in the postage-stamp town of Freestone 20 years ago, was, “Why is it the only one?”
His answer was long, but it boiled down to this: high maintenance.
“Anybody can throw a few drops of scented oil in a tub and call it a spa treatment,” he said. “But making an enzyme bath is like making wine and cheese; each batch has to be closely overseen, and each is different.”
In these hyperactive, hyperstressed times, it’s good to know there’s a place of perfect peace and calm where the tensions of life evaporate like the morning fog.
Where is this place? Look no farther than inside yourself. But to get there, you may need a little help and support. That’s the purpose of the new Zen-inspired meditation garden at Osmosis Enzyme Bath and Massage in Freestone.
The garden, designed by Osmosis owner Michael Stusser and his friend Robert Ketchell of England, with construction overseen by Zen priest Steve Stucky, head of the Dharma Eye Zen Center in San Rafael, combines traditional Japanese and Chinese elements to symbolically represent the personal journey inward toward harmony and tranquility.
We are excited to announce that our spa is now beginning a phased reopening!
Osmosis is now available to fulfill the longing for physical touch, community, and human connection you may be needing. Our extensive re-opening plans and current booking opportunities are detailed HERE.