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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.

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Eluv also notes sound-infused treatments can work inside the body while the therapist works on the outside. “The vibration from the sound and music is an internal massage that can affect every organ, muscle, pore and cell in the body. Practitioners can describe it to clients by explaining that while their hands are providing the external massage, the music and sound is providing a similar treatment internally,” she says.

It is really that type of intense, full-body relaxation that music can help spas provide. “When people are stressed out, their breathing isn’t as deep and oxygen intake subsequently is lower. Music can help facilitate a more relaxed state where the breath becomes deeper,” says Eluv. “And anytime you get more oxygen into the body, you’re going to see positive results. For example, in the skin you may notice a rosier complexion and a more even skin tone with improved circulation—clients literally become radiant from the inside out.”

Getting personal

One of the easiest and best ways to add music to a spa, however, is to turn to your clients. Kirby notes that she has spent many hours on a treatment table as a client and explains, “If I really want to relax, I want to listen to my own music. Every person has something different that helps them relax when it comes to music—whether it is ocean sounds, or Norah Jones and Ray LaMontagne—and in the spa, it’s really about what the clients want, what they choose.”

And with the pervasiveness of small, handheld MP3 players, clients are often carrying around their ideal spa soundtrack in their pockets or purses. Adding the perfect musical element to a treatment can be as simple as giving your clients an outlet with which to listen to their music of choice, and to that end, many spas have started including MP3 player docking stations in treatment rooms, sometimes along with remote controls so clients can have complete power of the music in the room.

“It’s something that really helps customize the experience for the clients,” Bodnar says. “It’s taking spa and treatment customization to the next level.” Clients at Ciel Spa can even plug their MP3 players into the spa’s sound table, bringing their own music selections into the actual treatment for an ultimate customization experience.