At Dragon Space
, a small and intimate Jingan studio, classes for new parents and pregnant women
range from the practical (fertility workshops) to the fun (yoga followed by belly painting sessions
). Janette Seach leads four-week baby massage classes where the focus is not so much on relieving tension, but on helping parents bond with their kids.
Babies don't have knots and stiff muscles like we do, but they can still benefit in a big way. Better eye contact, development of motor skills and body awareness, easier digestion… Seach's list of ways it helps kids goes on, but turns out it can be just as helpful for parents. She explains how below.
Seach inside the Dragon Space courtyard. Photograph: Yang Xiaozhe
Do babies really need massages?
For babies, the emotional side can be just that it feels good. Baby might be sick, or just wants to be picked up and cuddled. But physically it can have a lot of benefits, too. A chest rub helps open up the lungs. Massage on the back and spine can is great for developing body awareness. And a lot of stuff we do on the stomach is related to feeding discomfort or colic. When you're massaging around the stomach it helps relax muscles and also moves things around.
What do your workshops look like?
We always start by asking the baby 'would you like a massage?' The key is that it's baby-led and has to feel comfortable. If a kid start scrying children or need to stop to be feed, parents have to know that is totally okay.
During class, I'll give the base to go off and do it yourself. But the idea of classes aren't just 'come and learn,' it's also like come and be part of something. For a lot of parents with newborns, just leaving the house at that stage can feel scary.
So Mum and Dad can benefit too?
It's such a great way to get to know your baby better. I see parents arrive and they're really gentle with their babies. I'm like, 'don't be afraid to go for it!' Your baby will talk to you through body language. If they don't like it, they are going to let you know. First-time parents might not be super comfortable yet handling him or knowing how much you can move her around. So it's a helpful ritual for just learning to be with your baby, especially if it's a newborn.
A day as a parent is quite stressful. You forget sometimes to just sit down and have those moments with your kid. As a parent, time flies by. I look at my kid sometimes and it's like 'shes two... oh my god she's four!' When I sit down and we do massage, I'm just happy to get a moment with her.
Baby Massage at Dragon Space costs 1,200RMB per parent and baby for a four-week course (both parents are welcome to attend). Add WeChat contact '15000820566' for more info or to sign up.