When Layla and Brooklyn go for a spa day, there’s a chance there might be kicking, screaming and babbling.
That’s because the girls are just 6 months and 7 weeks old. Their “baby spa” isn’t about towel wrapped heads, cucumber eye patches or charcoal face masks. It caters to infants less than a year old and mostly involves floating.
Oakville’s Baby Float Spa, like other health clubs for tots, isn’t unlike their adult counterparts. It has Instagram-friendly interiors, a no-shoes policy, candles for purchase and Registered Massage Therapists who lead parents in a baby massage. But the showpiece in this these infant Zen centres is the hydrotherapy water tub, part home bath, part Jacuzzi, where anywhere from one to eight kids, each buoyed by a doughnut-shaped neck ring — a water-wing floaty for the head — can kick, float and get some exercise.
From Oakville to Markham, spas for babies are a small but thriving business in the GTA with varying prices from $40 for a single float session to more than $600 for 10 float-and-RMT-massage combos (which means much of the cost can be claimed through insurance).
While there is scant research to suggest floating is beneficial to a babies development, anecdotal observations from spa owners and the parents who visit them are positive.
“The non-scientific benefit is the epic nap that happens afterwards,” said Alex Fell, owner of Oakville’s Baby Float Spa. “There’s no new parent that’s not going to benefit from that.”