Parental Pampering

In an industry that revolves around the concept of nurturing, it's no wonder that pregnancy treatments have become an essential element at most spas. While commonly filled with a sense of joy, most expectant mothers also experience a great deal of stress and anxiety leading up to the birth of their babies. Add to that the physical changes their bodies are subjected to, and you have an ideal market for relaxing treatments that can also serve to alleviate the discomforts brought on by pregnancy.

Mothering Mom

The Stressless Step in Scottsdale, AZ, provides three pregnancy treatments that are all an hour in length and priced at $80 apiece. The spa's Maternity Massage works to help alleviate morning sickness, relieve headaches and sinus congestion, and boost energy in the first trimester. In the second trimester, it provides relief from backaches and leg cramps. Other benefits, particularly in the last trimester, pertain to swelling and insomnia. "The Maternity Massage is a lighter massage with no deep tissue work involved," says Hilda Franco, spa manager. "It's very relaxing, very soothing." The spa also offers a Pregnancy Seaweed Reviver, which stimulates lymphatic drainage. Franco recommends it for women suffering from edema. A Prenatal Facial rounds out the selection of treatments. It differs from other facials in that women who are in their second trimester are seated in a comfortable upright position as opposed to lying flat on their backs. Using lymphatic drainage techniques, the facial helps to eliminate excess melanin, which causes brown spots during pregnancy. Special care is taken to avoid products and ingredients that could be potentially harmful to the fetus, such as certain essential oils.

Although adding prenatal treatments to your menu may seem like an easy way to capture this "growing" clientele, caring for pregnant women requires special care so as not to harm mother or child. Because premature labor is just one complication that can arise from the use of incorrect techniques, it is essential that therapists be properly trained to care for pregnant clients.

Indulging Dad

Mothers aren't the only ones being catered to with relaxing treatments. Fathers are getting in on the act as well. At Capelli Spa in Bloomfield Hills, MI, the New Dad's Day package provides stressed-out dads with a much-needed break. "Men are very involved in the pregnancy these days," says vice president Aundrianna DiMaria. "They're part of the planning, part of the shower, part of the delivery, and part of the night-time feedings. We thought dads needed a little something too." Priced at $215, the 3 1/2-hour package includes a facial, dulse (seaweed) scrub, 50-minute aromatherapy massage, haircut, and style. According to DiMaria, the haircut was added after a new dad remarked that in all the excitement surrounding the pregnancy he had completely forgotten about even getting his hair cut. "New dads have a lot of anxiety about trying to be Mr. Mom," says DiMaria. "They don't experience the pregnancy in the same way as women. For them, it's all psychological." Recognizing that being a new parent is not only a joyous event but also a stressful one, husbands and wives often buy the package for one another. The spa also offers a New Mom's Day package for $215. DiMaria notes that both packages are popular gift ideas with the in-laws.
Mothers bond with their little ones during The Greenhouse's "Baby & Me" program.
Mothers bond with their little ones during The Greenhouse's "Baby & Me" program.

Bonding in Style

While pregnancy treatments play an important role in pampering mothers-to-be, some spas have gone a step further to lend a helping hand in the bonding process between parent and child. The Greenhouse in Arlington, TX, offers "Baby & Me," a weeklong program dedicated to pampering mothers and their babies. "One of the most significant times in a woman's life is when she becomes a mother, and we felt it would be a natural link to have these women spend some of their early motherhood moments at a spa to relax and bond with their babies," says owner Lee Katzoff. "It is also a wonderful time to share the similar experiences with other women who are in this stage of their lives." Incorporating programs for both mothers and babies, the week includes yoga, aqua exercise, and baby massage classes. Intended solely for the mothers are beauty and fitness regimens that cater to new-mom concerns like weight loss and stretch marks. Other highlights of the week include baby-food cooking classes and baby fashion shows.

The "Baby & Me" program accommodates 15 mothers and babies less than 12 months old. Separate rooms are available so that the mothers are free to sleep through the night-the spa provides on-staff nannies to care for the infants. Participants in the program may also bring their own caregivers, if preferred. Adapted accordingly to fit specific needs, the program is also open to those who are still expecting. According to Katzoff, the prenatal program is focused more on relieving the aches and pains related to pregnancy. "We will also concentrate on connecting the unborn child and the mother by tranquility of body and soul," says Katzoff. The emphasis in the postnatal program is based primarily on facilitating the bonding experience between mother and child in a relaxed and nurturing environment. The program is proving an appealing option to those wanting a little rest and relaxation but not yet ready to leave the little one at home. "We have had an overwhelming response from mothers around the country," says Katzoff. "They are thrilled that something like this exists."

Offering another unique bonding experience, infant massage has become a popular post-pregnancy service that works well in a spa setting. For spas that do a lot of pregnancy massages-like Spa Pangea in Arlington, TX, which did 250 last year-it can be the next logical step in continuing to care and provide for this growing clientele. According to former spa director Laura Latronico, the decision to offer a seminar on infant massage came rather naturally. "We work with a lot of doctor's offices and OB/GYN's that recommend it," says Latronico. "We also look at children and young adults and know that spa treatments have healing benefits." Strengthening the bond between parent and child, relieving the symptoms of gas and colic, and promoting more restful sleep are just some of the benefits being attributed to infant massage. At Spa Pangea, the seminar is scheduled based on demand. A day is then set aside and individual appointments made in which a parent accompanied by his or her child meets with a trained therapist to learn various massage techniques. The individual appointments were found to be better for the children who range in age from newborn to nine months. The $30, 30-minute seminar is especially popular with first-time parents. It is also available to expecting parents, who practice the techniques on a doll.

Getting Mom's Attention

After investing the time and training needed to provide safe and effective treatments for pregnant women, new parents, and their babies, it's time to get the word out. Not sure how to market your pregnancy treatments and new parent packages? Latronico suggests talking with local birthing centers about including information in their new mom packages as well as in hospital take-home kits. Spa Pangea also promotes its pregnancy and infant massages with fliers in local OB/GYN offices.

Treating the Kids

Don't think that because they grow up so fast the treatments have to end. Eclips Kids Salon & Spa in McLean, VA, gives kids a day spa of their very own-complete with manicures, pedicures, makeup and skincare lessons, mini-facials, eyebrow archings, and ear piercings. According to owner Diane Fisher, the concept has really caught on, with the spa becoming an ideal setting for birthday and theme parties. Catering primarily to 6- to 10-year-olds, the spa handles approximately 150 kids each week. Other spas have also seen the advantages of providing more kid-friendly offerings. The Center for Well-Being at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ, offers a 45-minute Family Yoga class that works on flexibility and breathing techniques. And Canyon Ranch recently joined up with Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs to offer a three-week coed camp program for 12- to 17-year-olds. The program is meant to offer teens an active and fun vacation that also encourages a lifetime of healthy living. Overall, these programs provide an easy way to introduce the benefits of living the spa life to the spa-goers of tomorrow.

Mama Mia

Expectant mothers face a number of unique skincare issues ranging from tired feet to stretch marks to overly sensitive skin. Many also find themselves concerned with products' ingredients. Recognizing that pregnant women have special skincare needs, some companies have begun developing product lines that put mom first. * A unique skincare collection, Thatglow offers more than a dozen products. The all-natural, biodegradable line includes Belly Magic to help prevent stretch marks, Fanciful Feet to soothe feet and reduce swelling, and Nipple Nourish to prevent irritation caused by nursing. (800) 240-3230. * In addition to infant skincare products, Mustela also offers Mustela 9 Months, a line for expectant mothers. All products contain a unique combination of Elastoregulator (a derivative of soya protein), green seaweed extract, and other natural ingredients that help improve skin elasticity. The company recommends use throughout pregnancy and while nursing. (800) 422-2987. * Bella Mama is an all-natural aromatherapy line that employs essential oils found to benefit the body and spirit. The oils are chosen for their safety and effectiveness in pregnancy. The line includes Pregnant Belly Oil, Uplifting Foot Salts, Rejuvenating Face and Body Spray, and more. * Using all-natural botanical ingredients, Erbaviva has created a pregnancy line of products to help soothe expectant mothers and keep skin soft and hydrated. To uplift and revitalize low spirits, the Baby Blues Massage Oil and Baby Blues Synergy are available for use by moms in the weeks after delivery. (877) 372-2848.

Oh, Baby!

Geared to infants and young children, the following product lines will pamper your clients' babies in true spa style. * Specializing in upscale babycare products, gift sets, and accessories, BabySpa features a variety of bath and skincare products that contain no mineral oils, petroleum products, artificial fragrance, harsh soaps, or chemicals. (877) 422-2977. * Designed to appeal to kids, Spa Bear Kid's Care makes bath time a sweet affair with products infused with the intoxicating scent of chocolate. From Chocolate Bath Sprinkles to the Chocolate Boo Boo Creme, the products are as diverse as they are skin-delicious. (877) 684-2772. * The Herban Essentials Baby Kit contains Tummy Ache Massage Oil, Stuffy Chest Massage Oil, Bum-Bum Rash Spray, Night-Night Mist, and Teething Rub to comfort and calm little ones. (877) 276-8442. * Developed to treat delicate skin, Mom's Kiss In A Bottle is a collection of aromatherapy massage and bath products for babies. (877) 583-3222. * Formulated to be safe and effective, Davies Babies is a line of babycare products from the founder of Davies Gate. Since most parents usually have their hands full, all of the products were designed to be used with one hand. (888) 398-9887. * A collection of luxurious skincare products for babies, Bambini Soul offers gentle, non-irritating formulas in unbreakable bottles and tubes. In playful packaging, the line includes Rub E Dub, a super-gentle baby lotion; O Sole Mio, a moisturizing water-resistant sunscreen; Scent of an Angelo, a sweet-smelling freshener, and more.