Children of all ages can experience high levels of stress during their school lives. Time Out Shanghai Family
looks into the top relaxation and de-stressing classes around town.
Best for little ones wanting to relax:
Wellness classes at Shanghai Town and Country Club
Located in Changfeng Park, the Shanghai Town and Country Club runs sports, lifestyle and wellness classes that are catered towards parents and children. In addition to their arts and crafts, baking and outdoor workshops, the STCC also offers a Mind and Body course that is made up of yoga, dance and roleplaying sessions for children. While children learn how to relax at the yoga classes (the club also runs baby yoga sessions) and let off steam at their dance classes, by far the most interesting offering in the course is the role-playing workshop. Here, kids take part in a combination of group games and real world scenarios that develop their improvisation skills and self-confidence, as the classes aim to help children adapt to new situations and life challenges. The sessions are an alternative way for little ones to grow and identify as individuals.
Another STCC-run activity that’s great for small children are the club’s family swim sessions, that see parents and babies bonding through swimming classes. Aside from this, the swims are also a great way for infants to feel more comfortable in the water, while gaining more self confidence. Being in the water is also a solid way for little ones to get some exercise in a soothing environment.
For ages Role-playing classes are for children under four while family swims are for parents and babies.
Price Role-play and dance classes are 200RMB per session and family swims are 350 per class. Discounted rates are available with class packages.
Shanghai Town and Country Club 46 Luding Lu, near Guangfu Xi Lu, Putuo district.
T8025 8666; www.ddi-tcc.com
Best for teens in exam mode:
Float sessions at Floatasian Spa
While floatation therapy (also known as Sensory Deprivation Therapy) resembles a scene from a sci-fi movie, it’s becoming more and more popular as a form of relaxation and stress relief. The treatment, which involves lying inside a pitch-dark tank filled with saline fluid at body temperature, aims for users to be completely shut off from every day distractions, which then encourages meditation and release. Theodor
Martin, founder of Dagu Lu-based floatation centre Floatasian Spa, thinks the practice can help stressed out students unwind and refocus on themselves.
‘While it’s true that floatation can help children relax, the way it affects and works on students is different to the way it helps adults unwind. When adults float, one of their goals is often to reach the Theta state, which is a state of relaxation adults reach just before falling asleep and waking up. As younger children reach this state doing everyday tasks and activities, their floating goals are a little different. They can then use floating as a time to develop their ‘super learning’ skills – that is, as a way to ready their minds before an important exam or as a way to prepare themselves for a stressinducing activity or event. A floatation tank is probably one of the best tools you can use to improve your mental and thinking skills. Hopefully all schools will have such tanks in the future!’ The tanks Floatasian uses are Restingwell Spirit models that have been flown in from Sweden; these have larger capacities than other tanks, thus allowing users more space. Before your float, be sure to eat a small meal one hour in advance and avoid caffiene.
For ages Fourteen and over. Children over 14 can come in unaccompanied but those under 14 need to have one parent present in the room during the session.
Price Each float is priced at 688RMB but first time floats cost 488RMB. They also have starter packages which come in at 1,050RMB for three floats. For more information on their package deals, head to their website.
Floatasian Spa Unit A, Second Floor, Building 5, 288 Dagu Lu, near Chengdu Bei Lu, Huangpu district
T6385 5189; www.floatasian.cn
Best for children wanting a time out:
Yoga and meditation classes at The Clinic
Jiashan Lu-based physical therapy and health centre The Clinic set up shop in Shanghai in 2015 and covers a wide range of health and wellness areas. Now, as part of their new Mindful Kids programme they’ll be running yoga and meditation classes every Saturday morning for children aged five to eight. Meant for yoga beginners, the classes are low intensity and are taught in English and Chinese. Apart from the physical benefits of yoga, like improved flexibility and coordination, founder and managing partner Alex Yue reckons children improve their concentration skills and senses of serenity.
‘Kids nowadays live in a frenzied world of academic pressure, constant homework, digital distractions, busy parents and crammed social lives. We usually don’t think of these influences as that stressful for our children, but they are. Children derive enormous benefits from yoga. They exercise and play better, connect more deeply with their inner selves and develop a more intimate relationship with the natural world that surrounds them.’
Yue also sees a parallel between regular meditation and a more balanced existence.
‘Facilitating the process of learning and managing their emotions, meditation can be used to affect changes within chilldren.’
For ages Five to eight. Older children or teenagers can join The Clinic’s adult yoga sessions.
Price Classes are priced at 1,500RMB for a package of ten onehour classes. A combined package where parents also get 10 sessions of yoga, xtend Barré or other classes, comes in at 3,500RMB.
The Clinic Suite A501, Fifth floor, Bldg B, 118 Jiashan Lu, near Yongkang Lu
T3368 8801; www.theclinic.international
Best for children in need of TLC:
Massages at The Waldorf Astoria On the Bund, Four Seasons Pudong and The Langham Shanghai Xintiandi
City living can take a toll on every member of the family, even young children. When that happens there’s often nothing better than a massage for soothing aching joints or mentally regrouping. Happily Shanghai’s hotels offer a wide range of deals and treatments for parents and children looking to unwind. The Langham Shanghai Xintiandi’s Parent and Toddler package at their Chuan Spa is a great way to combine pampering and quality family time, with visitors being able to choose from experiencing a 45-minute shoulder and back massage together or a 60-minute foot massage. Best of all, massage products incorporate natural, soothing ingredients that are suitable for young children.
Price During weekdays, families can opt for the Sunrise package that’s 888RMB (before 5pm) or
enjoy the same treatment before 5pm on weekends for 988RMB. Reservations are required.
The Langham Shanghai Xintiandi 99 Madang Lu, near Taicang Lu, Huangpu district
2330 2288; www.langhamhotels.com/en/thelangham/shanghai/
Another great option for family massages can be found at the Four Seasons Pudong’s FLARE Spa. While mums and dads can try out FLARE’s whirlpool and rain shower treatments for two, children can enjoy their ‘Touch of Flare’ massage, the spa’s signature treatment where warm poultices are applied to sore or tense muscles. Ideal for teens recovering from sports injuries or looking for a post-term treat.
Price On weekdays, massages range from 880RMB for 30 minutes to 1,180RMB for an hour. On weekends, treatments are 950RMB and 1,300RMB, respectively.
Four Seasons Pudong 210 Century Avenue, near Pudong Nan Lu, Pudong
2036 8888; www.fourseasons.com/pudong
Lastly, the spa at the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai On the Bund does aromatherapy, foot reflexology and back massages for children, with Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine methods both being used here. Teenagers can also remove traces of studying all- nighters with one of their refreshing bespoke facials.
Price Aromatherapy massages start from 788RMB for a 60-minute massage and foot and back massages both start from 488RMB for a 30-minute session.
Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on The Bund 2 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Guangdong Lu, Huangpu
6322 9988; www.waldorfastoriashanghai.com