“Life-changing.”Ê “Mind-altering.”Ê “Transformative.” Ê“Blissful.”Ê These are the words repeatedly uttered by grateful, blissed-out guests as they slide the shoji screen door shut, reluctantly return their yukata robe, and check out of Osmosis.Ê Located amidst the untouched, rolling hills of bucolic Western Sonoma County, Osmosis is home to the only cedar enzyme bath spa outside of Japan.ÊThe nearly 20-year-old brainchild of founder Michael Stusser, Osmosis is a profoundly relaxing, Japanese-inspired sanctuary complete with a tranquil tea garden, an enchanting new one-acre meditation garden, and plein-air pagodas for alfresco massages along the banks of Salmon Creek.Ê “Everything about Osmosis is designed to help people relax,” Stusser says.Ê “We’ve created a special mood, the feeling of a haven far from the hustle and bustle of ordinary life.Ê A visit to ‘the land of Oz’ as it is affectionately known by return guests, is like spending time in another, more peaceful world.”
The centerpiece of that peaceful world is Osmosis’ signature cedar enzyme bath, a warm mixture of light, fragrant cedar fibers, rice bran, and over 600 active enzymes.Ê Mingled together in a roomy redwood bath tub, the unique combination of ingredients ferments and heats naturally, generating soothing cedar-scented steam that heals body and soul.Ê More often than not, 20 minutes in the bath induces a profound state of relaxation unlike any other heat treatment.Ê And, this blissful experience explains why nearly 80% of Osmosis’ guests return to the tiny hamlet of Freestone year after year from around the globe.Ê
Currently administered clinically in Japan to reduce inflammation, the cedar enzyme bath’s healingÊproperties were discovered by Osmosis founder Michael Stusser during the 1980’s while studying traditional landscape gardening in Japan.Ê Stusser sought help for a debilitating bout of sciatica, and after unsuccessfully trying several hot springs and exotic heat treatments, found a cure in the enzyme bath.Ê “The enzyme bath surpassed them all.Ê After only a week of treatments, the sciatica was gone.Ê I wanted to recreate this wonderful healing experience for others when I returned to the States,” says Stusser.
At Osmosis, the cedar enzyme bath begins with a warm enzyme drink.Ê Upon arrival, guests are quietly ushered into a private room overlooking the tea garden’s swaying bamboo, picture-perfect bonsai, and falling water.Ê There, seated on a meditation cushion, guests sip a mixture of herbal tea and pleasant-tasting enzyme powder imported from Japan.Ê The enzyme drink known as “Koso” is both soothing and energizing.Ê Extracted from 25 different organically-grown plants, fruits, vegetables and herbs, the enzymes strengthen the metabolism, aid digestion, and reduce inflammation.
As 2005 nears, Osmosis will be offering a commemorative 20th Anniversary cedar enzyme bath spa recipe.Ê In the meantime, guests are welcome to experience the traditional cedar enzyme bath, the serenity of the new meditation garden, and the natural charm of Western Sonoma County, an area of Northern California akin to what Provence was to France before Peter Mayle published his now famous “Tourjours Provence.”Ê Verdant rolling hills dotted with vineyards and organic family farms, this quiet corner of Sonoma County is still refreshingly free of the traffic jams and crowds found in nearby Napa.Ê After a leisurely day at Osmosis, guests can cross the road and pick up hand-kneaded bread and sticky buns baked in a wood-fire brick oven at Wild Flour Bread.ÊÊ Or, better yet, stay awhile at the nearby Inn at Occidental, an elegant Victorian and the town’s oldest surviving home featuring fireplaces, exotic antiques mixed with Americana, spa tubs, and the tastiest homemade granola on the West coast.Ê
For Osmosis reservations or a complete menu of services, please call (707) 823-8231 or visit the new website at www.osmosis.com.Ê
A healing sanctuary nestled in the rolling hills of Sonoma County, Osmosis is the only enzyme bath spa of its kind in the country.Ê Osmosis offers calming meditation gardens, unique enzyme cedar baths with over 600 active enzymes imported from Japan, nurturing 75-minute massages, organic aromatherapy facials, and an environment in resonance with nature.Ê