2024 Spa & Wellness Trend: music as medicine

music as medicine

It’s time to look a the trends and developments that will rock the spa & wellness industry in 2024. Here’s one in our series and stay tuned for our upcoming guide: 7 SPA & WELLNESS TRENDS FOR 2024: A HOSPITALITY HANDBOOK

Some might scoff but science says music has the power to heal.

The therapeutic potential of music has become an area of keen scientific interest, specifically music as medicine. Unlike “music therapy,” music medicine does not require the expertise or involvement of a trained professional engaging the participant but can be as simple as listening to recorded tunes. The immersive experience of music therapy appears to provide more consistent benefits, but a number of studies suggest there are therapeutic advantages of mere listening.

Some might scoff, but the research is real and ongoing. A correlation has been found between listening to music and reduction in symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and physical pain. The Guardian reported recently that trials have even found that a regular prescription of music can reduce the blood pressure of people with hypertension enough to lower the risk of stroke by 13%. In some studies, participants were prescribed specific pieces, such as Bach’s Flute Sonata or Pachelbel’s Canon, but benefits are also correlated with music participants choose for themselves. 

Older work  published in the Lancet in 2015 by UK researchers found that “Listening to music before, during, or after a surgical procedure is beneficial to patients and can significantly reduce pain and anxiety, and decrease the need for pain medication, according to the most comprehensive review of the evidence so far, involving almost 7000 patients.”

According to a media brief, “even listening to music while under general anaesthetic reduced patients’ levels of pain, although the effects were larger when patients were conscious.”

Universal Music Group’s MUSIC + HEALTH SUMMIT

In September 2023, Universal Music Group (UMG), Thrive Global, and Havas Health hosted the first MUSIC + HEALTH summit, exploring the relationship between music and health, and discussing recent research documenting music’s therapeutic and medical benefits. The event showcased innovators and technology integrating music into products and services devoted to fitness and wellbeing. 

UMG also announced that it was licensing digital therapeutic company soundBrilliance to use selections from its catalog in clinical trials for music and health research, and introduced Sollos, a forthcoming music-centric wellness app that uses cognitive science and proprietary audio technology to support focus, relaxation and sleep.

Music as treatment for brain injuries and menstrual pain

In similar developments, researchers at the University of Alberta are currently exploring whether prescribing music could enhance medication efficacy and reduce health-care visits due to adverse drug effects. And a Portland startup that uses sensors, software and music to help people with brain injuries recover their ability to walk has gotten the go ahead from the Food and Drug Administration to market their product, InTandem. Feasibility studies have shown promising results for similar therapies to treat patients with Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. 

Another example is Moonai, a Barcelona company that developed a mobile app using music to help women suffering from menstrual pain. Music Ally reported that, even in its initial pilot stage, the app was chosen as App Of The Day by Apple in several countries.

“We haven’t spent a penny on marketing in the last two years, but we just reached 17,500 users organically, with more than 25,000 downloads,” CEO Laura-June Clarke told Music Ally.

The most relaxing music in the world

The UK Telegraph reported in 2011 that, according to research, a track called “Weightless” by Manchester trio Marconi Union  was associated with slow breathing, reduced brain activity, and an average 65% reduction in overall anxiety. The group worked with sound therapists to create the track, which contains harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines designed to help slow heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. 

Hear the track:


Spa Executive is published by Book4Time, the leader in guest management, revenue and mobile solutions for the most exclusive spas, hotels, and resorts around the globe. Learn more at book4time.com.


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