Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Relaxing music: Why it works and which one to choose

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Daily life is more and more full of commitments, with stress and frenzy on the agenda and every now and then it is right to take a break: for this reason nothing better than listening to relaxing music.

To promote sleep, to concentrate, for children, for massages and even for dogs… There are so many songs that can fall into this category. Which one should you choose to get the most benefits?

In this article we explain what are the characteristics that make a relaxing piece of music.

Relaxing music: characteristics

When we talk about relaxing music, we generally think of classical music and new age music, often able to perform a relaxing action for the mind and also for the body.

In order to be defined relaxing, a music must respond to certain technical-compositional characteristics:

  • time : it must be around 60-80 beats per minute
  • rhythm : constant, without sudden changes in sound or speed
  • tonality : may vary within the piece but without “abrupt” passages

On the web you can find many tracks to listen to. The primary advice we want to give you is not to choose melancholy songs, but tracks that are able to convey serenity, sensations and pleasant memories.

The sounds of nature are also often used . According to some studies, these sounds are in fact able to balance the two hemispheres of the brain.

While listening, it is good to check your breathing, which must be regular and deep.

Relaxing music, benefits

Nowadays, based on multiple experiments, researches and theoretical works based or related to experimental research, we can say that it has been scientifically proven that listening to relaxing music offers great cognitive, emotional and neurobiological benefits.

Let’s see in detail what are the positive effects for our well-being:

  • reduces anxiety
  • counteracts stress
  • improves concentration
  • reduces the sensation of pain because it activates the production of endorphins and strengthens the immune response
  • improves the quality of night’s rest
  • improves brain function
  • it has beneficial effects on heart health, because it reduces blood pressure and heart rate, beats become more regular and rhythmic and arrhythmias are reduced
  • rebalances the respiratory function
  • improves oxygenation
  • increases the production of serotonin and endorphins, important for awakening our well-being, our happiness and our vital impulse
  • promotes meditation
  • facilitates study by optimizing cognitive processes
  • increases the ability to concentrate and memory
  • helps to think positively
  • increases self-awareness
  • stimulates creativity
  • instills self-esteem

Classical relaxing music

Numerous studies attest that the relaxing classical music par excellence is that of WA Mozart, which appears to be a real panacea during the most routine work and for calculation. In fact, it seems to act above all on the stimulation of memory, while instead it seems to represent an obstacle for those who have to try their hand at abstract thought.

In addition to Mozart, we suggest some pieces – always considered relaxing – but composed by other authors:

  • Ludwig Van Beethoven – Per Elisa
  • Claude Debussy – Beau Soir (Joshua Bell)
  • Johann Sebastian Bach – Minuet in G major

Relaxing music to calm the mind

Relaxing music is perfect for calming the mind. Stopping for a moment and listening to it for a few minutes a day helps ease tensions and get you off to a great start. Through a cross-study that looked at more than 400 previous research, McGill University researchers found many positive effects of music on the immune system and stress levels.

To find calm and remove anxiety and stress, nothing better than relaxing Zen music.

It is proven that relaxing music at 432 hertz has a positive effect on the organism; at the auditory level no difference is perceived, but the body rests and eliminates the accumulated tensions.

Relaxing music for sound sleep

Scientific studies have shown that listening to relaxing music before sleeping promotes a better quality of sleep: it increases the time of the so-called “deep sleep”, that more regenerating period that allows you to wake up well rested and full of energy.

For a truly optimal effect, the ideal would be to listen to relaxing music for 45 minutes before bed . This was stated following a study by researchers from the Loughborough University Sleep Research Center. With this method, sleep improves, and consequently also the lifestyle in general is positively affected.

It is obvious that the most suitable music to listen to before bedtime is classical, new age or ambient music.

It is also better to prefer only instrumental music, as singing stimulates the brain too much.

Finally, the chosen song should have a bit-rate of about 60 beats per minute, so that the heart can almost go in sync, slowing down the rhythm a little, thus favoring general relaxation.

“Weightless” della Marconi Union

For this type of music we can offer you a practical example, elected as the main model. It is “Weightless” by Marconi Union, lasting about 8 minutes.

In 2011, the British band was specially commissioned to write a piece of music that people found relaxing. To compose it, the musicians teamed up with Lyz Cooper, a sound therapist and founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy. The result is a song that causes the listener to slow down their breathing, reduces brain activity, lowers the levels of cortisol, the hormone that causes stress.

Relaxing music to work

There are those who must be in absolute silence to work and study, and those who do better by listening to music or even with the TV in the background.

It is true that listening to classical music while studying or working (especially calculation operations and repetitive work) has positive effects. The playlist recommended for this purpose includes classic works such as Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Chopin’s Nocturnes, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and much of Mozart’s production.

As in principle anticipated, in this specific case, the benefits that listening to music can bring depend primarily on the personality and habits of the listener, as well as on the type of study / work that one is called to carry out.

If classical music doesn’t work, the sounds of nature are fine too : the sound of the sea, the sound of the forest, the flow of a stream… They are all excellent ways to isolate yourself from the outside world and find concentration.

Relaxing music: the sounds of nature

The ticking of the rain, the lapping of a river, the ocean hitting a rock, the chirping of some birds… this is not real music. But some sounds of nature have a cathartic power on our organism.

It is a kind of return to our origins.

A few years ago, the BirdLife Focus Nature project demonstrated that listening to natural and animal sounds improves the concentration and performance of children with ADHD (Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder).

This kind of “natural” music is also often used during meditation and relaxing massages.

Relaxing massage music

A real cure-all to totally relax and close problems and deadlines out the door is to indulge in a relaxing massage. A cuddle of an hour that we should all indulge in once in a while.

But for the massage to be truly perfect, it is necessary to choose the most suitable soundtrack: songs with poetic, dreamy, almost hypnotic atmospheres … Able to chase away all thoughts and completely free the mind.

Green light then to new age music and sounds of nature (chirping, rustling of leaves, rain, waves of the sea …). The classic “Buddha Bar” compilations, which present a mix of typical oriental sounds and music, have also been very popular lately.

Ayurveda massage

During the Ayurveda massage , the top is reached by creating a particular ambient: soft lights and incense smoke in the air.

Muscle or sports massage

Muscle or sports massage is less evocative and suggestive. In this case a bossa nova music can be fine but also a “soft” cover of famous songs.

Relaxing music for children

Children are also increasingly stressed, living in an overactive and increasingly demanding society. Here are a couple of songs that will help them relax their body and mind.

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sonata for due Piano K 448 in D maggiore, II MOV, andante
  • Antonio Vivaldi – Four Seasons – Spring

Relaxing music for dogs

Few beings with a life of their own remain indifferent to hearing sounds. It seems that even plants are affected by it …

In any case, among the subjects who have proved to be most sensitive, there are dogs.

We can therefore speak of music for dogs, or sounds that can put our faithful friends in a state of contentment and psycho-physical well-being. In fact, it has been proven that even in dogs, the notes stimulate the nervous system and activate specific areas that release chemical neuromediators.

Be careful in your choice. It is not said that the music that we like – and that causes us psycho-physical benefit – is also good for our 4-legged friend.

First of all it must be remembered that dogs are very sensitive to the auditory level as they react to sound stimuli in an amplified way: they can perceive well over the 20,000 Hertz felt by the human ear! The volume must therefore always be kept low enough.

As with humans, each animal also has its own tastes. It is therefore necessary to proceed by making attempts with various compilations. Certainly the selection must take place within a range of sweet and not strident sounds and with not too “agitated” rhythms. Simply put, no heavy metal and hard rock!

Classical or Zen style music and Buddha Bar CDs are fine.

relaxing music

White noise generator

If, following various experiments, you realize that your dog does not like music, even if it is relaxing, you can buy a white noise generator, an easier and more peaceful way to calm your dog by letting him enjoy the pleasant sounds.

These are devices that have built-in sounds that can be adapted to the pet’s tastes: a sort of iPod for dogs that comes with its own playlist and contains various options such as waterfall, rain, wind, ocean, nature … and a series of noises very suitable for calming dogs.

Dog laugh

Another way to help a puppy relax and feel comforted is to let him hear the “dog laugh”. It is nothing more than a loop containing the sound of dogs panting in a relaxed way.

Relaxing Celtic music

When you think of Celtic music, cheerful ballads with a sustained rhythm and to the sound of bagpipes immediately come to mind.

In fact, there is also a strand of Celtic music that has characteristics designed to promote relaxation. In this regard we mention Enya , Irish singer-songwriter whose songs are suspended between the myths of the Celts and sacred music, between the Middle Ages and the new age.

From its origins, Celtic music was used as a tool to communicate with magical creatures, elves and fairies, in order to ensure their goodwill. The music designed for this purpose has mostly sweet melodies and uses soft or crystalline instruments, with the aim of enchanting and attracting these creatures.

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