Why do so many spa’s say ‘No Children’? Why can’t children experience the same wellbeing benefits as their parents?
Children today live increasingly stressful lives. There is a pressure to do well in exams, to fit in, to make friends. More than ever they are expected to attend after school clubs as their parents are working long hours and dealing with manic rush hour traffic. With this and homework they don’t have time to play creatively or even just to sit and relax and get the proper rest and nutrition they need. They also listen in to the conversations of their parents about money troubles, work, life, divorce etc.
So we should be helping children to find a way to manage this stress and to understand the benefits of everyday wellbeing.
This can start almost from birth! The Baby Spa franchise hold hydrotherapy sessions, a natural sensory experience that calms babies from as early as 2 days old! Regular visits to the spa floatation pool can benefit the cardiovascular system and their movement through the water has a positive effect on the digestive and circulatory systems. Babies also enjoy massages including gentle exercises to build flexibility and strength.
In Scandinavian countries, thermal bathing with the family is an accepted way of life. Children bathe with their parents from as early as 5 years old, although it is important to remember that children cannot regulate their body heat as efficiently as an adult. It is a great idea to introduce children to the heat by setting it lower than usual (for example around 45 degrees) and letting them sit in the room while it warms up, gradually acclimatising to the temperature rather than walking into a blast of heat. The heat in a sauna isn’t as intense at lower levels so to start with let children sit on the lowest bench.
Don’t let them stay in for very long to begin with either – 5 mins is perfectly adequate. Or bathe in a ‘soft’ sauna – this has a lower temperature due to increased humidity which provides a gentler form of sauna bathing therefore can be enjoyed for slightly longer. Again let them sit in the room as the steam starts to circulate so their body temperature increases slowly.
It is also important for adults to remain in the sauna with children to teach them bathing etiquette and to make sure there are no accidents with them burning themselves on the heating elements. After bathing, try to avoid rapid cooling – have tepid showers rather than cold showers, especially if they are going to jump into a cold pool. Cool down slowly and gently.
Another benefit of family bathing is that it gives everyone a chance to talk with each other without the distractions of phones, tv’s and outside distractions. This is incredibly important for children’s wellbeing as it will encourage an open relationship where they will be comfortable talking about their life from a young age through to their teenage years and beyond. It helps to build their confidence and self-esteem as others listen to what they have to say.
A great way to introduce younger children to sauna bathing is to use an infrared sauna as the heat is at a much lower temperature. Infrared saunas can also have music systems installed so they can listen to their favourite music whilst they relax increasing the feeling of calmness.
Saunas (and steam rooms) are great for helping with respiratory ailments in young children and skin conditions which can beset the teenage years. Research also shows that sauna use leaves you less susceptible to depression and neuroses and the soothing effect of thermal bathing can also help to get rid of aggression within the bather. Salt rooms are also beneficial to youngsters with respiratory and skin problems and is 100% natural. Children can play within a salt room and even watch movies on TV as they breathe in the tiny salt particles.
It is really important to ensure that bathers rehydrate after thermal bathing to replace the lost minerals and fluids lost through the sweating process.
One problem facing the wellness industry is that it is not seen as accessible to all – especially those in ‘poorer’ areas. To combat this, schools have jumped on board with the wellness factor and have started to incorporate mindfulness and yoga into their PE lessons and after school offerings. Mindfulness and meditation helps the younger generation to control and guide their own thoughts, handle stress better and develop skills to help handle their emotions. The Mindfulness at School Project in the UK partner with parents and youth organisations to bring this form of wellness to a wider youth audience.
Many spa resorts are now starting to realise that wellness is a family affair and offer more tailored spa treatments for children and teenagers such as massage therapy (both for injuries and to help with sleep issues) alongside yoga and mindfulness classes. Six Senses Laamu are actively encouraging their younger guests to appreciate the importance of good health and how to integrate wellbeing into their everyday lives through specially designed classes and interactive games. They also teach children how to make music using singing bowls 🙂 The Schlosshotel Fiss in Austria is another example of where families can spend quality time together in the spa.
Helping children to understand wellness from an early age will hopefully promote a healthy, balanced, less stressed future generation.
So why do so many spa’s say ‘No Children’ ………
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