The most relaxing music in the world according to science

Most relaxing music

Researchers claim to have found the most relaxing music. How to apply this knowledge in the spa?

Music makes a big difference in your spa environment, and can have a positive effect on business.

According to a study by Music Works (via Mall Audio):

  • One third of customers are willing to pay 5% more in businesses that play music.
  • 74% of employees enjoy going to work more when music is played, and a third are less likely to take time off sick.
  • More than half of customers spend more time in a shop that plays music.
  • 81% of people prefer hair salons that play music.
  • Playing music in waiting rooms makes over three quarters of people more relaxed.

The type of music you play in your spa also matters, as the goal in this case is to inspire a state of relaxation and wellbeing. Sound, as we know, can potentially have a profound effect on mood.

Induce a state of relaxation with spa music

How to achieve this? Many spas will just play the same new age music or soundscape for all guests, but this is not ideal. There are people who absolutely despise the music played in spas, and we have had conversations with some who say the one thing they hate about going for a massage is the new age music.

When possible, it’s a better idea to give guests a choice of what they would like to listen to. This is a key element of elevating the guest experience.

If you’ve been running a spa for a while, you also know what works for you. Customer preference, personal experience, and scientific research are all elements to keep in mind when choosing the right sonic environment for your spa. And there are, of course, numerous consultancies that will help you choose the right music for your space.

What sort of music induces a state of relaxation?

A recent UK survey has ranked the 30 most calming songs, according to people living in the UK. The results are interesting.

According to 2,000 people interviewed by Smooth Radio, in partnership with homeopathic company Rescue Remedy, the most relaxing song is Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World,” followed by the Beatles’ “Let It Be,” and Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s “Your Song.”

Fifty per cent of British adults believe listening to songs helps them to feel “less worried,” and respondents also said it made them feel “positive,” “motivated,” and “happy.”

The full list of the top 30 most relaxing songs is at the bottom of this article. Most of them are not going to be a fit for most spa atmospheres – but it’s valuable to know what people say relaxes them and makes them feel “positive.”

The most relaxing music ever is a song by a band called Marconi Union

Those findings may suggest that, similar to scent, people create associations with music and find certain pieces relaxing or calming as a result of those associations. There are, however, certain sonic elements said to induce a state of calm. These include a drone and a slow pulse – elements consistently found in new age music.

Separate research conducted in 2011 found that the “most relaxing tune ever” was a track called “Weightless” by Manchester trio Marconi Union. The British band worked with sound therapists to create the track, and it is said to be so effective at inducing sleep “it should not be listened to while driving.”

At the time, the UK Telegraph reported that the song contained carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms and bass lines to help slow the heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The song was also said to slow breathing and reduce brain activity, and tests found it to be more effective at inducing relaxation than songs by Enya, Mozart and Coldplay. Subjects experienced a 65% reduction in overall anxiety at a level 35% lower than their usual resting rates.

“Weightless” is eight minutes long and features guitar, piano, and electronic samples of natural soundscapes overlayed with chants. It contains a sustaining rhythm that starts at 60 beats per minute and gradually slows to around 50.

Lyz Cooper, founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy, said Marconi Union used scientific theory to make the “perfect relaxing song,” employing principles that have been shown to have calming effects. She explained that a person’s heart rate will gradually slow to match the pulse of the track, which leads to a fall in blood pressure.

Here is the track:

Here are the top ten most relaxing tracks according to that 2011 study (conducted by Mindlab)

1 – Marconi Union, Weightless
2 – Airstream, Electra
3 – DJ Shah, Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix)
4 – Enya, Watermark
5 – Coldplay, Strawberry Swing
6 – Barcelona, Please Don’t Go
7 – All Saints, Pure Shores
8 – Adele, Someone Like You
9 – Mozart, Canzonetta Sull’aria
10 – Cafe Del Mar. We Can Fly

The top 30 most relaxing songs according to the 2019 study by Smooth Radio and Rescue Remedy

1 – Louis Armstrong, “What A Wonderful World”
2 – The Beatles, “Let It Be”
3 – Elton John, “Your Song”
4 – Adele, “Someone Like You”
5 – Adele, “Hello”
6 – Coldplay, “Fix You”
7 – Aretha Franklin, “I Say A Little Prayer”
8 – Enya, “Orinoco Flow”
9 – Cat Stevens, “Morning Has Broken”
10 – U2, “Beautiful Day”
11 – Dido, “White Flag”
12 – Keane, “Somewhere Only We Know”
13 – Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”
14 – Bob Dylan, “Lay, Lady Lay”
15 – Eagles, “Peaceful Easy Feeling”
16 – Norah Jones, “Come Away With Me”
17 – Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t Worry Be Happy”
18 – Coldplay, “The Scientist”
19 – Simon And Garfunkel, “America”
20 – The Jackson 5, “I’ll Be There”
21 – David Gray, “Babylon”
22 – Maroon 5, “She Will Be Loved”
23 – Sam Smith, “Lay Me Down”
24 – Katie Melua, “Nine Million Bicycles”
25- Ed Sheeran, “The A Team”
26 – All Saints, “Pure Shores”
27 – Lily Allen, “Smile”
28 – Norah Jones, “Don’t Know Why”
29 – Corrine Bailey Rae, “Put Your Records On”
30 – Lana Del Rey, “Summertime Sadness”

For more on how to use sound in your spa for healing read Sonic healing: how to use sound in your spa.


Spa Executive magazine is published by Book4Time, the world’s most innovative spa, salon, wellness, and activity management software. Learn more at