1. Massage music should be simple. There’s a reason why you typically don’t hear complex melodies or elaborate instrumentation in massage music. In a nutshell: The goal is to turn your brain off, not to turn your brain on. A good massage should facilitate a relaxed, meditative state.
2. Massage music should be a little … bland. It’s not vocal-heavy. It’s not singalong music. It’s frequently airy and ethereal. Why? Again: It’s so you can turn your brain off. Your therapist doesn’t want you to be stuck in a pattern of, “Where have I heard this before?”
Here’s a funny story: I was receiving a great Reiki session where I was beginning to feel really relaxed. Then, a song came on that I recognized from many hours spent in my school’s massage lab. There was nothing wrong with the song per se – let’s call it “Massage Music 101.” However, because I’d heard it so many times, it called back the stress of school and deadline anxiety, and it took me completely out of the moment.
3. Massage music is not percussive. You won’t find lots of drumming, crescendo and decrescendo, or tempo changes in massage music. That’s because there’s research that implies that your heart rate and autonomic functions such as skin temperature and breath rate change depending on your music! As a massage therapist, I want your music to be slow and steady and soft in tone.
4. What works for one doesn’t work for another. I’ve known people who say they absolutely can’t stand traditional spa music. Even if science says this music should elicit the desired effect, well, guess what? If you hate the music you’re hearing, it will influence your opinion of the quality of the massage. This is why I have curated several different playlist options for massage, and it’s why I ask during your intake which kind of music you want for your session. There are the traditional options, but also there are classical options, more EDM-influenced options … can you tell I’m also a lifelong musician?
Be well, healthy and whole,