What Kind of Music Do Massage Therapists Use? Bringing the Spa Home

Photo of a woman enjoying a massage while listening to music

Music sets a tone for any activity. It’s why we use it to pump us up at the gym or liven up a party. Massage therapists use the right songs to help their clients relax into the massage and get the most from their experience. So when you’re having a spa day at home, you’re left with some choices. What kind of music is played during massages?

Generally, massage therapists use music with no lyrics or catchy tunes and with a slow tempo. Studies have shown that slower-paced songs can lower our heart rate and help us calm down. Some popular music genres used by massage therapists are new age, classical and soft jazz. A practiced massage therapist will actually ask your preference when you schedule your appointment.

If you don’t know which kind of music could work best for you, that’s okay. We’ll look at some options like meditation music, piano music, and the songs neuroscience has shown to lower most people’s heart rates.

What Kind of Music Do Massage Therapists Use?

When you’re paying for a massage, a great therapist will play whatever it is you want to listen to. When you’re having a massage at home, that definitely means you can go ahead and choose whatever your heart desires.

However, let’s take a look at what massage therapists use as guidelines to create a catalog for themselves.

Massage therapists look for music with a slow tempo. They don’t want their clients to wiggle or start to bob their heads during a massage, so they look for songs without lyrics and no catchy tunes. The songs cannot be loud. In general, you want the volume in songs for a massage to stay roughly even. There should be no pitchy instruments in your massage music.

A lot of people look for classical music, though this can be fairly uneven and may not be the best choice. There are a lot of upbeat and fast-paced songs on classical playlists.

Photo of a woman playing soft jazz

Smooth jazz is a strong choice. So is instrumental blues, Americana, and a lot of music meant for meditation or yoga. You can look for playlists on YouTube, Amazon Music, or Spotify using those keywords. If you do use a service like this for your music, you may want to be a paying member so you can avoid the advertisements that interrupt the music and pull you out of the songs.

There are a lot of “Live” stations on YouTube that avoid playing ads without sound, so these may be a good choice if you’re not a Spotify Premium member.

Ideally, what you want to keep in mind is that the kind of music played during massages are songs that can easily fall into the background.

By having a steady sound playing, it’s easier to stay focused on the massage. If the music changes too much, you’ll be pulled out of the relaxing place in your mind and your thoughts will shift. This opens up the opportunity for your mind to replay your to-do list or worry about what’s happening tomorrow.

Use smooth music that lets you stay in the present.

Alternatives to Massage Music

What kind of music is played during massages? Well, sometimes it’s not music at all. Maybe you just can’t find massage music that helps you relax and feel calm. That’s completely okay. Still, silence isn’t the best way for most people to relax.

One alternative that a lot of massage therapists use is to play nature sounds.

Picture of the sea

You can find long tracks on YouTube that play nature sounds, but one of the easiest-to-use options for this is actually CalmSound.com. This website has a variety of choices. You can listen to ocean waves, thunderstorms, or rainforest sounds. A lot of the nicest ones are water-based, which may not be the best idea if it causes you to need to use the restroom, so keep that in mind as you’re making your decision.

Great Playlists for Massage Music

Let’s look at some specific suggestions, shall we?

Alongside each playlist or YouTube track, I’m going to list the time length. You’ll notice that I specifically choose ones with long time frames, often between three to ten hours. This is because you never want to have to get up during a massage to find another playlist. While your home massage experience may only last about an hour, this gives you the peace of mind of knowing the music can go on much longer if you need it. No need to rush.

Piano Music For Massage

This is a popular option for massage music!

On YouTube, here is a three-hour “Soft Piano Music” track that has laid water sounds over the songs. If you’re looking for piano music with a touch of nature, this is a strong choice.

Photo of someone playing the piano

If you want to avoid the nature tracks but have a long run of relaxing piano music, try this ten-hour long track on YouTube.

If you prefer Spotify, here is a six-and-a-half-hour playlist of piano music chosen for massage.

Americana Instrumentals For Massage

Americana music often has lyrics and can be a touch jaunty for some, but there are a lot of great instrumental tracks out there, too.

This three-hour playlist on Spotify is a good choice for massage.

Rainy Day Jazz Songs For Massage

Sometimes, it can be most relaxing to listen to something that takes you to a place. That’s part of the appeal of listening to nature sounds during a massage. It can help you create a visual of sitting on the beach.

Is an afternoon sitting in a coffee shop while the rain pours outside more your idea for a relaxing place?

Try this eight-hour-long track on YouTube to set a nice relaxing jazz tone. You’ll hear the sounds of rain played over every song, which helps keep the music consistent.

Meditation Music for Massage

The below playlists were chosen as good choices for meditation music but work equally well for massages.

This three-hour track on YouTube sets an evening tone.

Photo of a Tibetan singing bowl

This six-hour track on YouTube is specifically Tibetan meditation music. The people who love it will love it, but others may find this difficult to ignore, so make sure to try this for a few minutes before your massage if you’re not familiar with Tibetan meditation music. If you want to know more about Tibetan bowls and their incredible benefits for relaxation, check out my article here.

Suggestions From Studies in Neuroscience

Would you like some more definitive answers on what will help you relax? Don’t worry. There have been studies!

The song we currently know to be the most relaxing track in the world is “Weightless” by Marconi Union. They actually crafted this song specifically for this purpose. Studies found that listening to it reduced anxiety in participants by up to 65%.

You can listen to Weightless as one track or there is a YouTube video that plays the song on a loop for ten hours straight.

If you’re looking to mix it up a bit, here is a playlist that includes other tracks the study found to be good for reducing anxiety in addition to Weightless. This playlist is great for a massage but also for listening to while you wind down in the evening or take a fifteen-minute relaxation break during the day. This playlist is on Spotify and lasts for an hour and twenty minutes.

The Best Kind of Music Played During Massages

Picture of a woman enjoying a massage while listening to music

You are now fully armed with a plethora of playlists to match your mood for your next home massage. Keep in mind that while repeating the same playlist a few times can be great, if you listen to it too many times it may become overly familiar and stop being effective. It may be useful to bookmark this list so you can change up your massage music every few times to keep your choices fresh and relaxing. Enjoy!