Sammi Lim vis­its Hip­popo Baby Spa & Well­ness to shed light on its benefits for tots up to 36 months old

Time Out Malaysia Kids - - Contents -

Baby spas, our favourite new toy and the best sun­screens

If you’re acutely sus­cep­ti­ble to cute­ness, you may have no­ticed the slew of baby spas that re­cently in­vaded town. Hus­ban­dand-wife en­trepreneurs Ste­fe­nie Tan and Nick Goo broke ground by launch­ing Hip­popo Baby Spa & Well­ness, a con­cept hith­erto un­known to Malaysians, in Oc­to­ber 2013. To­day, Hip­popo boasts of seven out­lets spread across Kuala Lumpur, Se­lan­gor, Jo­hor, Pe­nang and Malacca.

While par­ents can eas­ily cus­tomise their baby’s spa ex­pe­ri­ence, the typ­i­cal triad pack­age at Hip­popo is com­prised of GYM, SWIM and MAS­SAGE ses­sions in the said or­der.

Go­ing to the GYM at Hip­popo is less of a work­out and more of a ren­dezvous for ‘get­ting to know you’. ‘The gym ses­sion serves to form a bond be­tween the ther­a­pist and the baby,’ ex­plains Wooi Siao Hui, manager of Hip­popo’s Se­tia Walk branch. ‘Ev­ery­one who works here is a cer­ti­fied phys­io­ther­a­pist,’ says Wooi while ex­pertly stretch­ing her lit­tle client’s joints.

Next comes the high­light of the baby spa ex­pe­ri­ence: the SWIM ses­sion. The gur­gling baby is trans­ferred to a Lil­liputian hot tub, but not be­fore be­ing changed into wa­ter­proof di­a­pers and fit­ted with a swim­ming float. Wide-eyed with won­der, he takes in his new en­vi­ron­ment – a mag­i­cal wa­ter world filled with plas­tic balls, ele­phant-shaped sprin­klers and coloured lights. It’s all one can do not to melt into a pud­dle as he squeals with de­light and pad­dles about en­er­get­i­cally. It’s ap­par­ent that fit­ness and fun can go hand in hand.

‘The Jacuzzi acts like a re­sis­tance. Ba­bies in­stinc­tively move against the pres­sure of the bub­bles and start to kick, which tires them out quickly,’ says Wooi. ‘This pro­motes bet­ter sleep­ing pat­terns, im­proves co­or­di­na­tion and strength­ens their mus­cles.’

The child is tow­elled off and given a nappy change prior to the MAS­SAGE ses­sion, which takes place in a padded playpen. Wooi ad­min­is­ters gen­tle strokes on her pam­pered pa­tron while ex­plain­ing, ‘We use two types of mas­sage oil: Hy­draflore, a Parisian brand, and grape­seed oil, both of which are or­ganic and non-toxic. Mas­sag­ing the ba­bies’ stom­achs im­proves blood cir­cu­la­tion, re­moves gas build-ups and com­pletely re­laxes them.’ True to her word, the ba­bies are yawn­ing their lit­tle heads off be­fore the mas­sage is even over.

Once in a blue moon, the team en­coun­ters chal­leng­ing clients. Hunger, fa­tigue or a phobia of strangers might bring on the wa­ter­works, which Hip­popo’s per­son­nel try to quell. Par­ents may also step in to try and cheer up their chil­dren. If all else fails, the spa of­fers a re­demp­tion pe­riod of one month from the date of the visit. ‘Even ba­bies ex­pe­ri­ence mood swings,’ says Wooi kindly.

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