When I was invited to discuss how the music industry promotes wellness, I saw a problem. It would have been a very short article, because promoting wellness simply isn’t a priority.
The music industry does not promote Wellness in general. In fact, for many years, it actively suppressed music that advertised its healing and health-supporting qualities. That’s why visionary musicians created an entirely new genre in the ‘70s to fill this need. This has now expanded to be music for well-being and optimal health. In the early days, New Age music wasn’t consider ‘real music.’ It took years before the industry executives realized there was a huge market for this new genre, so they tried to take it over.
New Age music emerged as a genre with health-enhancing potential and medical proof, so have the knockoffs and false advertising claims. Recent Top Ten Billboard New Age charts include almost half the entries of Disney piano versions of their cartoon megahits. Songs like “Let it Go” may be fun and entertaining, but they will not evoke the meaningful state of relaxation which is fundamental to optimal health.
Current research proves the deleterious effects that negative emotions have on our health. What effect do you think pop/rock music has on an audience — including your customers? When it comes to music for wellness and optimal health, different criteria are involved. The therapeutic massage field and the spa industry, both of which really became popular in the past 25 years, honor and incorporate music for wellness in their healing environment.
The biggest consideration is the beat, the rhythmic core of most music. The physical law of rhythm entrainment describes how your body will synchronize to the beat of an external drummer. While this often manifests visually with the tapping of a foot or nodding of a head, it also helps synch hidden systems, like your heart. If the tempo of the music is faster than a relaxed heartbeat, about 60 beats per minute (60 BPM) it’s virtually impossible to relax. It is like trying to drive a car with your foot simultaneously on the brake pedal and the gas pedal, or trying to sleep after drinking three cups of coffee. With that much caffeine coursing through your body, sleep is not on the menu. That’s why I call such music ‘audio caffeine.’ Numerous best-seller authors now emphasize the importance of stress reduction in promoting optimal health, such as Dr. Deepak Chopra in Super Genes, and Dr. Herbert Benson in The Relaxation Response.
Music For Relaxation
We are all culturally conditioned to unconsciously analyze and predict where the music is going to next. We anticipate the future, and that is precisely what keeps us out of the present moment, and out of a mindful state of balance and inner peace, with pop, rock or classical. When listening to music for wellbeing and optimal health, relaxation can only happens in the present moment — is the power of now. So learn to be in the moment. Be aware of your breathing, become aware of the physical sensations inside your chest when listening to relaxation music and see how your body respondes to it. You can view a short video I’ve uploaded to YouTube for more details.
Dr. John Diamond, author of Your Body Doesn’t Lie, discovered that the typical rhythm of many rock and pop songs creates stress, because it is opposite to the natural rhythm of the heart. In many cases, this stopped anapestic rhythm can actually engage an addictive, stressful and weakening response. Unknown to the public but well understood by the industry, addictive qualities in music makes it entertaining. It makes for hit records, but not necessarily wellness and optimal health. If the goal is wellbeing, set the perfect ambience in your business to make customers feel relaxed and invited when they walk in by sharing music that will enable them to become more conscious and educated consumers, helping enhance their optimal health.