The music that plays during your massage sessions serves a very real, proven purpose. It is meant to put your mind at ease, make you feel comfortable, help you relax, and soothe you – body and mind. Most massage therapists listen to each song thoroughly before choosing to add it to their playlist to make sure that each song will optimize relaxation throughout the session.
But what is considered a relaxing song? What about a song is the deciding factor that ultimately makes a song great for relaxation? The answer may be different for everyone, and if you don’t like the music your therapist plays, or if you have a specific relaxation CD or playlist you prefer, you can certainly bring your own music to each session. Regardless of what helps you relax, you should not be afraid to ask for it. I had an ex-boyfriend who asked me to play death metal every time I gave him a massage!
I personally have specific things I look for when putting together a playlist of music. The music should evoke some sort of emotion. Some massage therapists choose music with the sounds of the ocean, hoping to put images of a sunny beach vacation in the massage recipient’s mind. Others like to use birds chirping to bring forth images of walking alone through a quiet forest. I personally like to use music that will bring people back to their happiest childhood memories, such as instrumentals of Broadway musicals or songs from Disney movies. I also like to use music that has an ethereal sound, like something you might hear in a dream.
Secondly, the music should not be too distracting. Suddenly loud notes or constant changes in tempo are examples of music that would not fit well in a massage session. The song shouldn’t require a lot of effort to listen to. The rhythm should be consistent and slow.
It is important to remember that any instrument can be relaxing or not. A lot of the songs I use in my practice are piano or violin versions of popular songs, but that does not mean that any song played on the piano or violin is relaxing by default. I have a CD of Pachelbel’s most famous compositions, most of which are too fast paced and upbeat for the massage room.
There is no particular beat per minute that I prefer to use. Sometimes, even a faster paced song can be quieting if it is soft and crooning enough. However, slower paced songs are usually preferred and better evoke relaxation. If a song on my playlist has a beat, it is soft and in rhythm with the beat of a heart. If it doesn’t have a beat, the flow of the music is consistent and calm.
Those are the guidelines that I follow when putting together a playlist for the massage room. I follow these guidelines because they are what I’ve found help me relax the most when I get a massage. However, as stated before, each person is different. Some people have particular music that helps them relax, which may sound absolutely nothing like the playlist I use in my practice. Some people prefer not to have any music playing at all, and instead just be at peace in the quietness of the room. Whatever you prefer, don’t be afraid to speak up. It is, after all, your massage experience, and you should get the most out of it!