The Spa at Four Seasons Hong Kong has launched a new spa programme, Journey of Motherhood, aimed at new mothers, thoughtfully put together by specialised practitioners to help alleviate symptoms of pregnancy and aid in the recovery post-childbirth. Prestige’s managing Editor Stephanie Ip takes a spa day for a closer look.
Nothing truly ever prepares you for the state of new motherhood – the books, the Internet and the best advice from friends and family only take you so far. In media, you’re often confronted with pretty pictures of glowing pregnancies and cute babies, and copious jokes about sleepless nights, but what you don’t see and hear about is the leaky breasts, incontinence, piles and hair loss, things that a mother tenderly deals with on her own, while friends and family ooh and ahh after the baby.
Little is said about the postpartum stage – or the trauma that is childbirth. It’s amazing what our bodies are capable of, this is true, but if it takes nine months to grow a baby, it will also be months before a woman can bounce back, physically and mentally. Which is why, after my own delivery and the shock of realising I’m not back to my usual self, I turned to those who would know how to make me feel better.
To my utter delight, the Four Seasons put together a wonderful programme called Journey of Motherhood for pregnant women and new mothers. Past the first trimester, ladies who are expecting can enjoy prenatal massages that can help relieve the ongoing changes and discomfort in the growing body. For new mothers, the programme aims to help restore the body back to its pre-pregnancy state.
The Journey of Motherhood comes under the hotel’s Empower from Within wellness programmes that is rooted in complementing healing modalities, spa rituals, mindfulness practices and nutrition, spearheaded by Senior Director of Spa Dr Tania Bardhan and run by its in-house therapists and visiting Resident Healers.
The full itinerary is best enjoyed over the course of two days in the span of a week. I started off my first day with a wellness lunch at the Pool Terrace overlooking a terrific view of the Victoria Harbour. I highly recommend the watermelon iced tea, but if that’s too “cold” for you, there are various options of teas to choose from. Lunch was followed by a 60-minute private pre-natal or post-natal yoga class with an Ikigai yoga practitioner.
My practitioner that day was Bhakti Wong, a yogi who specialises in women’s yoga and prenatal care. It was an enlightening session as Bhakti walked me through all the different exercises I would need to strengthen my pelvic floor – it’s not just Kegels! – as well as gentle stretches I can incorporate into my every day to loosen up stiff joints from baby-wearing too long.
My last appointment that day was with an osteopath, Florence Leo, for a 45-minute cranial sacral therapy session. The alternative therapy uses a gentle touch to palpate the synarthrodial joins of the cranium. In a silent environment, Florence lightly tapped various points on my head and limbs to examine the membranes and movement of fluids in my central nervous system, realigning and rebalancing points in my body that were out-of-sync. At the end of the session, she promised me better sleep that night – I don’t know if it was the overall relaxing nature of my day that caused it, but sleep well I sure did.
I came back to the Spa a few days later for a 60-minute Healing Ginger Bath. The freshly-prepared ginger water bath draws on the traditions of Chinese confinement to drive “yin” out of the body and to keep the body warm. Ginger is a powerful herb that is commonly used to keep infections at bay (both in Western and Chinese medicine) as well as sets up the detoxification process in the body. Following the warming bath and cups of red date and ginger tea, I was ready for the grand finale, a 180-minute Journey of Motherhood Ritual at The Spa.
The three-hour treatment started with a back exfoliation using a detoxifying scrub of juniper berries, oatmeal, shea butter, vitamin E and ginger to heal and nourish the skin. The post-natal massage is done using a special blend of tamanu oil, moringa oil, calendula oil and vitamin E oil, which helps the body rehydrate, regenerate and repair. To finish, a warm poultice is applied to the back, neck, shoulders and lower legs to ease pain and aid lymphatic drainage to reduce bloating in the body. A final body wrap with a nourishing body cream and a mini facial using guasha will leave any expectant or new mother feeling completely rejuvenated, ready to take on yet another day.
So treat yourselves! Or treat your significant other or expecting friends. We can’t think of a more welcoming push present than this.
To find out more about the Journey of Motherhood spa programme details and reservations, click here.