So there you are, on the table, getting ready to get that massage you’ve been waiting all week for. You start to settle in, ready to relax. Hey, maybe even starting to drift off… and all of a sudden you hear…
Sail away, sail away, sail away…
Music is an important part of my sessions. The right kind of music helps me create a soothing and relaxed mood. The wrong kind of music, well, doesn’t. Because of this, I am rather picky about what I choose to include in my ‘Massage Music’ playlist. I’ve chosen music from several cultural backgrounds and music styles – Native American, Japanese, Indian, Classical, to Windham Hill-esque compilations. I play my songs on ‘shuffle’ too, in case a song pops up that might not exactly jive with you, so at least you don’t have to listen to a whole hour of Asian inspired music if it’s not your thing.
Everyone’s musical tastes are so different, It can be a bit of a challenge finding music that is pleasant and relaxing to a wide variety of people. While not completely etched in stone, over the years I have settled on the following criteria for my music selections:
Easy, Gently Paced Rhythm
I choose music that has a slow and evenly paced rhythm. This slow pace matches the pace that I tend to work at. While a fast, driving rhythm is great for a workout, can be tough to relax while listening to high energy tribal music.
Lyrics can be distracting and draw you attention outside of yourself. To me, massage is a great chance to tune in and connect with what’s going on with our bodies. When practicing meditating a soundtrack of chanting can be a useful tool, but many people are either distracted or perturbed by it while on the massage table. One notable exception to the my no singing/no lyrics rule is Polynesian Spa – this is an absolutely lovely CD with vocals that are perfect for drifting off to & one of my all time favorites.
No Super-Familiar, Easily Identifiable Songs
Whether it’s a classical composition, modern jazz standard or a rendition of a popular song, it’s not unusual for us to associate people and events with familiar songs (think weddings & funerals for instance). Ava Maria is a perfect example, it is an absolutely beautiful song, but can trigger sad emotions for some people, so tend to I keep these types of songs off of my list.
Real Vs. Synthesized Music
I will admit that this is a personal preference of mine, but I find acoustic music played Vs. synthesized music more enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing. I would rather hear a piece of music played on a piano, a classical guitar, or a Shakuhauchi, (Japanese bamboo flute). To me, heavily synthesized music can sound very dated, like you’ve time-traveled and are suddenly receiving your massage sometime circa the 1980’s.
This is a bit of a mixed bag. Some CD’s that I play definitely fall under the ‘nature sounds’ category – rainfall, ocean waves, birds chirping away in the background. There is music that just doesn’t make the cut though – that one song where a crow’s ‘CAW-CAW-CAW’ goes on for five minutes? Nope. That one that has the giant clap of thunder that always makes me jump? That one is gone too.
Music is highly personal. What one person loves to listen to, may be another persons Enya. I even have clients who request that I turn the music off completely during their appointments. Some clients will even bring in their own music for me to play during their session – it’s very easy for me to play a CD or plug in your MP3 player and I am happy to listen to any kind of music that you might bring in – really nothing is of limits, if your bringing your own music in. I’ve even massaged to The Beatles before per a client’s request! It’s always nice to listen to something new-to-me. Ultimately this is your time to relax, so I am more than happy to do what I can to make your session as enjoyable as possible, so even if you request Enya, I’m happy to cue it up for you!