When the "Internet lifestyle," aka 24/7, starts to look like a bad bargain with Satan, there is a place you can go to get reconnected with what we sometimes laughingly refer to as the real world. "We want to smash people back into nature," says Michael Stusser, founder of Osmosis Enzyme Bath and Massage, a little place in a little town in Sonoma County, Calif., where the time-starved Type A person is more or less forcibly introduced to the notion of being at peace. "This time poverty thing is terrible--people are desperate for time," says Stusser. "We're promoting timelessness."
Interested? Hey, Oracle brought a team up here, and so did Apple. Let's give this a whirl. Call up Karen Ray, who handles corporate business, and arrange to take a dozen of your most stressed-out managers (your own name is somewhere on that list, right?) up the Bohemian Highway to Freestone, Calif. (population 92).
Visitors walk onto the verandah of a funky old two-story house, take off their shoes, and go inside. They are greeted by a bath attendant, who brings them to a small room that has one wall open to a Japanese garden complete with a little wooden bridge, soothing waterfalls, and iridescent orange koi swimming in shallow pools. The attendant serves green tea and talks about what will happen next: The visitors are going to get undressed and lie down in what looks for all the world like a giant sandbox filled with warm bran flakes. That impression is nearly correct. In fact, the brown stuff is cedar flakes, rice bran, and 600 active enzymes imported from Japan. The enzymes cook the cedar/bran mixture, creating a soothing warmth. After lying in this stuff for about 20 minutes, visitors forget how long they've been there. Some forget what day it is. After the bath, visitors are led to private pagodas behind the main building, where they receive a Swedish-style massage.
While tiny Freestone doesn't have a lot in the way of sleeping rooms, it is not far to such deluxe accommodations as the Bodega Bay Lodge, Inn at the Tides, and Inn at Occidental. So, burnouts of the world unite. You have nothing to gain but your sanity. Or, as Stusser likes to say, "We have the antidote to the tech industry."