If you’re acutely susceptible to cuteness, you may have noticed the slew of baby spas that recently invaded town. Husband-and-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.
Hippopo Baby Spa has outlets in Setia Walk Mall, Great Eastern Mall and Centrepoint Bandar Utama. Visit hippopo.my for more info.