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Marriage Bliss at Osmosis Day Spa

Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary

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The perfect marriage is about the joining of two people, not just for religion and law as we know, but in heart, soul and spirit.

Yet sometimes, after the euphoria of a wedding ceremony and the romance of a honeymoon fades to everyday reality, even the most in-love couple can feel a bit frayed around the edges.

And let’s face it — a year is a long time to wait for the special reconnection of an anniversary.

Instead, more ambitious couples put a little extra work into their marriage, say the experts, by planning periodic fun. It can be as relaxed as a “date” to walk the dogs together every evening after work, with time to discuss the day and get a little exercise. It can be a ritual — one couple credits their strong marriage to their Friday night commitment (every Friday, barring a hurricane) to cooking dinner together and watching a movie. The two switch back and forth as to who chooses the menu and the film.

For an even deeper connection, some counselors suggest mini-retreats. That might mean going straight to the spirit itself, perhaps with no talking at all, through a couples’ visit to destinations like Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary in Freestone, where partners can explore their joined oneness in silent cedar enzyme baths, meditation, and massages.

As a new program, Osmosis owner Michael Stusser has just introduced “Spa Without Walls,” an outdoor spa ritual set in the creekside Japanese gardens. All through the summer, guests can participate in a daylong package of activities focused on health and wellness, and designed to create enjoyment and healing through communion with nature.

The new package takes the spa “out of the box,” said Stusser, and into the Kyoto-style meditation garden, a wild riparian area, a field of hammocks, and massage pagodas scattered inside peaceful woodland crisscrossed by babbling creeks.

“Increasingly, quietude in nature is being recognized as an essential element of wellness and vitality,” said Stusser, who built his retreat in 1985, set on five secluded acres in a scenic valley in west Sonoma County.

Add to that the healing touch of a massage therapist, the attention of an aesthetician, and the metabolic health benefits of the biologically active cedar enzyme bath, and it’s “transformational,” he said.

Guests begin the five-and-a-half hour ritual with ceremonial tea served by a personal attendant in a Japanese garden set with a pond and traditional bridge.

Next is the bath, in two large side-by-side wooden tubs filled with finely ground cedar, rice bran and plant enzymes imported from Japan. Each partner rests in a hollowed out bed in the shavings, covered up to their necks, where they “ferment” in the naturally occurring heat and cleansing enzymes. The attendant brings cold face cloths and iced beverages periodically, while the couple enjoys views of a meditative sand garden.

After a shower finished with an energizing ion spray, the couple is free to wander the expansive gardens in kimono robes, to find new discoveries around every turn of the gravel path, and behind every authentic Japanese wooden gate.

Next is a massage, a custom-tailored 75-minute treatment in the sanctuary of a creek-side pagoda. Tucked among the towering trees, each small wooden cottage with retractable shoji screen walls is silent except for the trilling of songbirds, the rustling of leaves in the breeze, and a guest’s own gentle breathing.

By then it’s time for lunch in yet another garden, this one set with colorful flowers. Fare is light and healthy, such as a delicious quinoa salad, broccoli cheese quiche, fresh fruit and carob cookies with hot tea.

A couple likely will be so blissful by then, that a nap seems like a good idea, and that relaxation deepens in the dream-inducing outdoor Field of Hammocks, where hammocks are strung like wind sculptures and outfitted with a Hemi-Sync® Sound Therapy headphones. This is also when a guest can enjoy a men’s or woman’s organic facial.

To ease the transition back to the real world, Stusser recommends the couple sit or stroll quietly together in the main Japanese-style garden, which was designed to share the ancient tale of an apprentice’s liberation through a labyrinth of plants, stones, water, and the guidance of an ox. They may chat about their personal discoveries, or simply meditate in the garden’s tranquil hypnotic effect.

Heart, soul, and spirit — be as one.

Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary, 209 Bohemian Hwy., Freestone, 707-823-8231, The “Spa Without Walls” package is $399.

Find more info on wine country weddings or spas & wellness.

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