Wellness is by no means limited to adults. In fact, family wellness is so important, and can start from a young age. With kids’ increasing exposure to digital devices around the clock, there’s a need to differentiate between screen-time and play-time. Plus, it’s never too early to introduce youngsters to the benefits of meditation and yoga, healthy eating and revitalising spa therapies.
Hong Kong’s immersive luxury wellness retreat Asaya has just announced its latest programmes in time for the summer holidays. Meet Asaya’s Family Wellcations. Available from July 15 to September 4, the retreat offers time and space to relax and recharge in the spacious rooms and suites of Asaya Lodge. We chat to Corinna Yap, Asaya’s Director of Wellness, on what to expect with the packages—and how to incorporate family wellness at home.
How can families integrate wellness into their routines on a daily basis?
Go from sunrise to sunset, and start the day with gratitude and positive affirmations, or a five-minute guided meditation. Go to bed by 10pm, ensuring the family has good sleep hygiene. Try to do things as a family commune, together. Wellness also comes in the form of increasing your fruit and vegetable intake and being mindful of how you eat.
Family walks in nature and incorporating time together are all great ways to do this. Sometimes it’s having a little family chart. You can create a fun competition where you gain points for the things you have done. Try to incorporate three out of the seven things each day that you can “win” on. It’s not about perfection in anything. It’s about teaching small wins and why consistency matters.
How can parents encourage kids to incorporate wellness into their lifestyle, and enjoy it?
Make it playful, make it a shared family goal. If kids don’t like vegetables or fruit find interesting and fun ways to present them by introducing new foods to psychologically change things up. Meditation apps or bedtime apps are easily available and you can lie down and do these together. For young children, the practice of yogic chanting with the “om” mantra is not only musically fun but it has also been proven to help kids focus and diffuse conflict. Moreover, it is a great teaching tool. It can help kids connect with something deeper, and strengthens the bond between child and adult.
“Emotional Freedom Technique” or “Tapping” is also a wonderful way for kids to release fear, anxiety and trauma in a playful way that empowers them. Creating little wellness spaces is something we like to do at Rosewood Hong Kong, when we put teepees into the guestrooms for children. Many children go into the teepees and create their own safe space to which they retreat to. You can make this more mindful by adding books and using essential oils that they like.
What are some of the top wellness activities to do together as a family at home, or outside?
Sitting together as a family without devices and talking is a big one! Have one meal a day where you sit together, devices down, and enjoy each other’s company. Bringing back the home stuff, 10-minutes of stretching together and five minutes of guided mediation for kids is so easy to achieve these days. Especially with apps such as Insight Timer, which has exercises for children, to cultivate calm and relieve anxiety. Creating competitions at home, like a “wellbeing challenge” as mentioned.
Going outside, cycling, walking, hiking, and generally getting out into nature as a family is huge. Bonding around wellness is easy if you can find an activity that you can do together as a common learning. That can include swimming, cycling, or martial arts. If you have a garden, grounding in your garden is fun. Going outside and feeling the grass on your feet and making this a garden ritual. Having a pet and taking care of the pet is another great family activity, and animals bring us huge wellbeing. Using aromatherapy diffusers in the home, and understanding which are uplifting or grounding essential oils can also be very beneficial.
What are the main differences between adult wellness treatments and kids’ wellness treatments?
The main difference between adult wellness treatments and kids’ wellness treatments is that children’s bodies are not as stressed out. Their muscles aren’t as developed and they are not in need of a strong or stimulating massage. So with children, it is more about the gentle power of touch. So, they have milder aromatherapy, shorter treatments, and we use very natural ingredients for the treatments. From the ages of 5-12 it’s gentle. But if they get into competitive sport at an early age between the ages of 9-12 the massage level can change according to their activity level.
We also try to help children check themselves around device usage and repetitive strain injuries related to their neck, wrists and posture. For the Asaya Kids Colour Splash Mani Pedi, as much a part of the treatment itself is learning how to take care of your skin as the largest organ in your body. With the Asaya Aroma and Tonic Atelier signature treatments, children learn about the ingredients. It’s also about the essential oils that they gravitate towards, as well as how they affect mood, with the Tonic Atelier allowing them to create their own scrub.
It’s educational and teaches both kids and adults alike how to take care of their skin. As children get older, it’s about steering them away from devices and teaching them how to learn to lie still and relax. Adding the importance of the power of touch is something parents can learn to do for their children at home as well.
How has Asaya enabled Hong Kong families to experience an immersive wellness experience?
Spa and wellness are often segregated as an adult area, but we feel that wellness has to become a habit and a desire or a need from a young age. And so the more we instill healthy habits at a young age, the more preventative we can be for future health. At Asaya, it’s important for us to open up to families without compromising the peace and tranquility for all of our guests when they visit. Family wellbeing need not be a forced activity that brings the family together.
Our Asaya Lodge stays can be enjoyed by families with young children, who can also take out the Social House (with either a minimum treatment spend or when booking the Ultimate Family Wellcation) which is a sort of expanded “Asaya within Asaya”. It’s to enable families with young children to enjoy their own beautiful space with a private garden, treatment room and wet facilities without disrupting the other tranquility areas for guests. We would like to grow more immersive experiences and family play areas in the future, expanding these offerings to include excursions around wellbeing.
What are the highlights of Asaya Family Wellcations?
Our family-inclusive workshops allow you, as a family, to enjoy dedicated sessions with our resident practitioners. Terry Burge, our Resident Sports and Rehabilitation Practitioner, is into functional fitness and is able to do a functional fitness session tailored to ages 8 and up. Our Resident Naturopathic Doctor, Tal Friedman, opens up conversations about food and proactive care for children and parents. Meanwhile, our Resident Mindfulness Practitioner, Kit Shum, offers expressive arts or singing bowl therapy for the whole family to enjoy.
And at Asaya Kitchen, we are not trying to force any diet or calorie counting. It’s wholesome Mediterranean cuisine which is colourful and tasty, to teach people that eating well doesn’t mean an experience where you are denying yourself. Enjoyable eating in a light and airy space, where you are also learning that eating healthy and eating the rainbow is so important, brings Asaya Kitchen to life for our Family Wellcation guests.
The Family Wellcation is available as a one-night or two-night stay. Rates start from HK$8,000 per night on weekdays and HK$8,900 on weekends.