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Tuesday, 03 October 2006 06:41

Spa Music

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A Lomi Lomi massage to the sound of the waves of the Polynesian sea; sitar music playing Raga during a soothing Shirodhara head massage; and the classical music of a Beethoven’s Symphony as you slip into a deep slumber.  Music healing has been a part of human civilization for thousands of years.
Many cultures have recognized the importance of music and sound as a healing power. In the ancient civilizations of India, Africa, Europe, Australian aborigines, and American Indians, the practice of using sound to heal and achieve balance from within was a central part of living.

The Tibetans still use bells, chimes, bowls, and chanting as the foundation of their spiritual practices. In Bali, Indonesia, the echoing Gamelan, gong, and drum are used in ceremonies to uplift troubled feelings of people. Buddhist chants roam through the villages of Sri Lanka, drawing men and women to calm their stirred emotions through meditation.
Therapeutic Qualities of Music1. Music captivates and maintains attention, stimulating and utilizing many parts of the brain.2. Music is an effective memory aid.3. Music supports and encourages movement.4. Music and its related silence provide nonverbal, immediate feedback.5. Music sets up a social context by setting up a safe, structured setting for verbal and nonverbal communication.6. Music transforms pain into relaxation.7. Music structures time in a way that we can understand.
“Spa Music” has become a necessary marketing tool in day spas, salons, and resort spas throughout the country.  Spa professionals have found that relaxing to the sound of music produces long reaching healing effects on their clients physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  What’s more, spa music is becoming a powerful marketing tool that helps to draw more clients.

The Power of Healing Music
Sound is among the most transformative and healing energies on the planet. It can relax us, make us calm, and move us to great heights of emotion. Sound can restore balance and harmony in our lives and make us healthy. Sound affects us on all levels, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. It has been found that music can change behavior. The right kind can turn depression into joy, anger to calmness, hate to love, and fear to courage. Music has a way of stirring our innermost feelings and all of our senses. Music is a universal language that has the ability to speak to us deeply and uniquely.
Ancient Greeks said, “Music is an art imbued with power to penetrate into the very depths of the soul.” Apollo was the God of music and medicine. Plato shared the profound belief, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and gaiety and life to everything.”


Benefits of Healing Music
1. Music as Medicine 
When music is used as medicine it helps to lessen pain.  When feelings are painful we tend to live in denial.  Music helps to confront those inner feelings and transform them into a healing process. Through music the body and mind can feel the healing vibrations.  Research has shown that music in the higher register can increase tension whereas that in the lower register has the opposite effect.
2. Music as Entrainment
Musically, entrainment involves the merging with, or synchronizing to, the pulse of the music. Entrainment music has the potential to (1) resonate with the listener’s feelings, (2) transform negativity into positivity, and (3) promote a state of liveliness or serenity. Certain sounds, in specific sequence can help bring the listener from one place to another.
Entrainment refers to being in sync.  In other words, the body automatically adjusts to the pace, rhythm, and pulse of the music.  Our body and mind become in sync to the sonic environment created by music. 
Music has the ability to combine the body, mind, and spirit of a person.  Music entrainment can bring about harmony within the body, thereby healing the process at many levels.  Music is one of the few experiences that can touch a person on all levels of consciousness. 
3. Tapping into Our Innermost Feelings
One aspect of “healing” music is to stir our feelings, to help us deal with grief, sadness, and anger. For instance, music played on the harp has several unique healing properties. The resonance from the strings, including the range of pitch and tonal color, set up an important relationship between sound and the recipient.
4. Music as an Energy Boost
Music is an energizer. In the morning it helps to energize us, throughout the day it helps us to focus and concentrate better, and in the evening it helps us to relax.
5. Music for Relaxation
Whether we are aware of it or not, music that is relaxing tends to slow down our heart rates to about one beat per second. If we are feeling stressful, angry, anxious, or irritable, our heart rates tend to increase. Music can actually help our heart rates slow down to a more relaxing pace, thereby changing our physiology. 
6. Music for Spiritual Attunement
Chanting has existed for centuries. For example Gregorian chants, Indian chants, and Zen meditation chants deepen our spiritual lives and help bring peaceful feelings into ourselves.
How to Incorporate Music into Your Spa Menu 
Choose calming and soothing music to relax your clients. However, keep in mind that sometimes it is necessary to first choose music that matches your client’s current mood rather than the mood that he/she wants to acquire. Arrange a series of different musical compositions in sequence, customized for clients’ needs. For example, if you are dealing with depression, select a composition that represents feelings of depression or melancholy. End the session with a composition that is uplifting and motivating. Listening to music in a sequence like this allows current stress levels or moods to be first honored and then to be gradually transformed.

Prepare Your Spa Client to Listen 
Spa clients need to learn the art of relaxing to music. Believe it or not most people are not aware of how to relax and enjoy life sometimes. Especially those who are constantly under stress, or working all the time, have no idea how to relax. Preparing your clients for the musical environment is important.
Use Speakers - It is ideal to listen to music through speakers rather than headphones so that the cells of the body themselves may “listen” to the sound. 

Spa Music: Selling a Lifestyle 
Music supports the sale of an overall image. Music is energy. Proper energy is a fundamental key to a successful spa. You are selling a lifestyle. To truly appeal to clients in this context and create incremental profits, select music that integrates naturally with the spa environment. 
Music can help to draw more clients to your spa.  The quiet sounds of Ragas can soothe a client while receiving an Ayurveda or Indian head massage while the sound of the waves gently crashing against the rocks can lull a client into a deep slumber at night.

Music in Various Spa Settings
In the retail area, research has proven that music can be the deciding factor that determines whether or not customers buy products or not. 
In the treatment cabin, effectively chosen relaxation music helps therapist and client shift into an rapport that deepens the experience. Clients often want to take that music home with them. Having it available for purchase is an easy additional profit strategy.
The correct choice of music during spa cuisine can enhance the ambience of the nutritional setting offered at spas. In the restaurant, outdoor patio, or dining area, carefully select music to complement the moods of spa visitors.
The Yoga and meditation center is another place to incorporate a musical lifestyle. Introduce soft and soothing music to these areas where clients come to relax. The right choice of music here should evoke a sense of balance in the body, mind, and spirit.

Marketing the Sound of Music
Using the right technology to deliver sound can be used as a subtle yet powerful marketing device to increase spa and salon customers. The correct sound systems built into massage rooms, reception area, bedrooms, beachfront, swimming pool, and mobile spa settings can give a unique touch to your business and attract more clients.  Consider using digital sound to provide high, crisp, and clear sound. The iPod, portable speakers, outdoor environmental speakers, and underwater speaker systems are some of the latest technological devices that can drastically help improve the sound systems in your spa environment.
Sound should be systematically delivered to fit the moods of visitors, architecture, landscaping, and the time of day. Pay attention to volume control and the angles with which sound is being delivered.  Hire a professional who has a sound judgment of what speaker systems would best suit your spa layout, architecture, and landscaping.  Visit the Internet and see the newest technology that is out there, thereby making the best investment for your spa. 

Where to Buy Spa Music
There are plenty of resources offering a wonderful variety of spa music. These collections of beautiful music range from quiet and tranquil, perhaps best suited for morning or a relaxation treatment, to uplifting and ethereal, better suited to afternoon or a more rejuvenating treatment. 

Conclusion
Selecting the right kind of music can be used as a marketing device that works subconsciously on spa customers.  The types of music to be delivered will depend on the setting, time of day, season of the year, and age groups of customers, among other factors. Remember- people come to a spa to relax, so make the music a part of the relaxation process.

Preethi Burkholder is a classically trained pianist and has performed at major international music festivals. She has a Master’s degree in Ethnomusicology from Tufts University, Massachusetts. Her current musical focus is on music therapy. She has been recording Sri Lankan folk music for many years. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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