Spa music is ubiquitous in wellness establishments that offer relaxation and stress relief to clients. Music has a powerful effect on our brains and bodies, and it can contribute to positive or negative emotions and actions. Spa music is intentionally designed to bring about feelings of tranquility, calm, and rejuvenation. But what is the science behind spa music, and how does it affect your brain and body?
The human brain is capable of producing brainwave frequencies that are indicative of different states of consciousness. There are five primary brainwave states: alpha, beta, delta, gamma, and theta. Alpha waves, for example, are associated with relaxation and calm, while beta waves are typical of focused attention and alertness. Delta waves are indicative of deep sleep, while gamma waves are associated with higher learning and problem-solving. Lastly, theta waves are often associated with extreme relaxation, meditation or hypnosis.
Spa music is designed to elicit alpha and theta brainwave states, promoting relaxation and calmness in the listener. The intricacies of the composition are also essential in accomplishing a ‘tranquil’ effect. The tempo, beat, rhythm, and melody all play a crucial role in the overall effect of the piece of music. Slow rhythms and melodic harmonies seem to induce a sense of relaxation and calm, because it’s easier for the brain to process such patterns. Additionally, music with simple and predictable melodies has a soothing effect because it is familiar and calming.
In addition to affecting brainwave frequencies, spa music has a direct positive effect on the body’s physiological responses. One such effect is that it slows down the heart rate and lowers blood pressure. When the body perceives sound, it naturally releases cortisol, also known as the ‘stress hormone.’ But when the body is exposed to soothing and gentle spa music, the level of cortisol in the body reduces. Reduced cortisol levels, as well as slower heart rates and reduced blood pressure, can help reduce stress levels, alleviate anxiety, and promote deeper sleep.
Spa music also has a direct effect on the autonomic nervous system, helping to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the body’s ‘rest and digest’ response – it’s what helps the body relax and rejuvenate. Therefore relaxing music can help to elicit more mindful and relaxed breathing, stimulate better digestion, reduce muscle tension, and bring about an overall sense of physical calmness.
In conclusion, spa music is not just a random collection of relaxing sounds. It’s a carefully crafted composition that intentionally aims to alleviate stress, promote relaxation, and stimulate the body’s restorative mechanisms. Science has validated the effects of spa music at a neurological, physiological, and emotional level. Therefore, it’s not just background noise, but rather an essential component of the spa experience, contributing to the healing process of the body and mind. So next time you find yourself indulging in a spa day, take a moment to appreciate the science behind the music that is so integral to the experience.