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The Sounds of Spa

By: Abby Penning
Posted: November 24, 2009, from the December 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Eluv playing crystal bowl

Playing a special “alchemy” singing crystal bowl made with platinum, musician, sound-healing spa consultant and qi gong practitioner Eluv encourages stress relief and calmness through sound and music.

Like everyone, you have a favorite song you like to listen to when unwinding from a stressful day. It may be a special mixture of notes, harmonies and rhythms combined with a good beat that can help transport you from a sour mood or simply one that has you tapping your toes. Either way, music is something that can remove people from their worries, and that aspect has long been taken advantage of in spas.

However, music can provide additional benefits in the spa environment, as well. “Many people think music just comes in through the ears and that you are affected only by hearing it,” says Eluv, a musician, sound-healing spa consultant and qi gong practitioner in Tampa, Florida. “Actually, sound can potentially affect you on a cellular level, right down to the DNA, so in essence, sound and music are actually both heard and felt throughout the entire body.” Carol Revak, an acupuncture and vibrational sound-healing practitioner at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, echoes that statement, saying, “Deepak Chopra said the body is held together by sound, and the appearance of disease can mean the body is out of tune. Sound therapy is really a complement to healing spa experiences because it can reach the body at a very deep level.”

Even spas that aren’t looking to incorporate sound therapy treatments into their menus can benefit from some good musical implementations. “The intent of music in the spa is to bring grace, beauty, balance and harmony into your client’s whole being,” says Eluv. “Healing sounds and music can be catalysts to help bring people back into balance.”

Mood music

Whether a person’s preference is for swinging jazz or pop rock, classical or reggae, music has the ability to set a distinct mood in any environment, and one area in which it can create the most impact can be in a spa. In fact, SpaDelic, an Atlanta spa currently searching for a new location in the Buckhead/Midtown area of the city, uses music as one of its client hooks with an in-spa musical rotation that includes artists such as The Who and Joni Mitchell. Owner Kelly Kirby notes that a client’s motivation for making an appointment at the spa can really factor into what kind of music is selected. “If someone is coming in to get ready for an event, they’re excited and want to get geared up. It’s possible they’ll want something fun, such as Michael Jackson—some party music, to help keep the energy going,” she explains.

Although many spas opt for soothing sounds to help clients relax during treatments, others have found a variety of musical options can benefit them. In addition to its eclectic song choices, SpaDelic also features an artist of the month in its treatment rooms. “If clients don’t have a preference about the music that is playing, we put on the artist of the month,” Kirby explains. “We had one—Priscilla Ahn—that people really connected with, and they would come back in and request her music or other music they’d be exposed to here.”