Tune In for Tune Up – Soundscapes and Sound Blankets
The hills are alive with the sound of wellness, or at least they should be. Katrina Thorpe discovers the benefits of tuning in for a mindful tune up.
Soundscapes and Sound Blankets
Wellness, or the desire to improve and maintain your wellbeing has impacted countless industries from tourism, food, travel, beauty, exercise, real estate and fashion, to name just a few.
Self care is finally realised as a necessity rather than a luxury and this leads to conscious choices in looking after one’s self with regular massage, meditation, yoga and fitness being priorities for optimum health and wellbeing. More people are opting for plant-based diets, organic and vegan products, off-the-grid homes and fashion that offers an ethical ethos. The music sector is also booming off the back of the wellness sector with new music-for-wellbeing concepts and platforms seeing accelerated growth.
Music for Wellness:
Music is one of the biggest growth trends with more people tuning in to the benefits of music to help minimise stress, improve sleep or as an essential part of yoga, meditation or exercise. The music industry is responding to the demand with the big streaming music sites (Spotify, Amazon, Apple, etc.) launching dedicated ‘wellness’ channels.
While there has been a New Age music category supporting the wellness industry for a few decades, providing soft, relaxing tunes for easy listening, massage, meditation and yoga; the choice for what is now labelled ‘wellness music’ has accelerated dramatically.
Healing Through Music:
Sound healing is a real thing, it’s an ancient meditative practice that uses different musical instruments to create healing vibrations around and through the body. Even though we can be surrounded by others during these sessions, the individual experience can vary greatly. It seems only logical that if Spotify can use algorithms to create playlists from existing listening patterns, then tapping into our healing needs must be the next step in sound healing.
Musicians from other genres are now entering the wellness music realm, exploring their creativity with music for healing. Meditation apps are becoming record labels in their own right with technology generating healing sound loops.
‘Generative’ sounds describe music that is ever-different and changing, and it’s created by a system that provides a soundscape working on your body’s biometrics. Imagine music based on your personal physical or behavioural characteristics used to digitally identify you and then create a combination of healing sounds just for you?
Futuristic Wellness is here:
While it may sound farfetched to have personalised generated sound, think about what happens when we hear a special song or a piece of music, when our memories, feeling and emotions are immediately triggered, transported to a time a place and moment. So, why can’t music also be created to trigger healing and wellness?
We know that we can literally feel the beat of music, the vibrations resonating through us that makes us want to relax, dance, go into a trance or tap along with others, yet it’s just a beat right? I personally can’t wait for a personalised playlist to be created just for me.
Mubert, Lucid, Wavepaths and Endel are leaders in generative wellness sound technologies that work by a wearable device that extracts information about your heart rate, movement, the weather, your location, and circadian rhythms. It then uses the information to create a unique-to-you, neuroscience-based soundscape to help you focus, relax, exercise or sleep. Endel’s soundscapes are grounded in the concept of a person being in their ‘flow state’ of optimal immersion in what we are doing. The use of brain wave measurement technology and SleepScore Labs testing has validated that the sound interventions actually work.
It’s the opposite of catchy tunes. Soundscapes music – or as Endel labels it, an ambient “sound blanket” – that is similar to adding a biological function to our body that is as unconscious as breathing.
With the data on your body, it will understand an elevation in heart rate and if you’re not moving (exercising), the soundscapes will release vibes to calm you down that work in sync with your heartbeat. Likewise if your energy drops when it shouldn’t, soundscape healing will give you a boost.
This is sound healing of the future which is fast becoming the ‘now’. But it’s not all new – expect to hear ancient sounds that have been used for traditional cultural ceremonies to create excitement, trances, healing and calming vibes with beating drums chanting and other instrumental sounds; all integrated into the ‘soundscapes’ or wrapped up in a ‘sound blanket’.
The future of wellness music is inspiring, knowing all we have to do is wear a tracking device to compile our biometric data and download an app to help us with our physical, emotional and mental health and wellness.
Like everything we do, there are always consequences and while some are into wearable devices and the data they provide, some of us prefer to be technology-free and tap into the sounds of nature for improved wellness.
Either way, there is no denying the power that music has on our moods and mindset – now and in future.