By Susannah Christensen
Perth’s new ‘baby spa’ for newborns might not live up to its health claims, according to medical experts.
Baby Spa, spawned from the London hotspot with the same name, opened yesterday on Coghlan Road in Subiaco.
The spa is the first of its sort in Perth, catering exclusively to babies six months and under and offering services like massage and hydrotherapy.
According to information on the Baby Spa Perth website, these services “improve sleep quality, [reduce] discomfort from colic, wind and constipation.”
It goes on to say that regular visits benefit the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
Dr Leon Levitt, GP obstetrician and director at Baby Steps Health Centre in Morley, says there is no real benefit from these treatments beyond relaxation.
“I think they are generally positive places as they encourage touching, contact and connection between mums and babies,” he says.
Dr Levitt disagrees with Baby Spa’s claims that their treatments “strengthen muscles and bone structure” and teach babies to “control their reflexes”.
Although they are unlikely to cause harm, he says there is no direct benefit.
“Any activity where the baby is kicking and moving will strengthen their muscle and bone development,” Dr Levitt says.
“There is no evidence that a baby who is floated in the water will be any more coordinated than a baby who isn’t,” he says.
Sydel Weinstein, a baby massage and yoga educator at the Mosman Park Family Nurturing Centre, agrees with Dr Levitt.
She teaches massage classes that guide parents to touch their babies using Swedish and Russian massage techniques, however she does not claim any health benefits related to sleeping, colic and skin problems.
“I think that’s a dangerous promise to make,” she says.
Ms Weinstein says the true benefit of baby spa therapy is improved parent-child connection and communication, which in turn aid other problems for babies.
However, Ms Weinstein says the practice of touching is important for full healthy brain development.
Dr Levitt said relaxation is the only proven, beneficial effect from baby massage, hydrotherapy, yoga, or chiro.
Baby Spa Perth was approached for comment.