Updated: Jun 16, 2022
Music has always had a healing effect of some sort. But this time it really is healing. Music Therapy, Wellness music and others are intentionally made to heal.
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After 14 long reads in which I easily write 3.000 words about a certain health & self-care trend, I wanted to change my approach. Instead of writing down all the results in a structured, comprehensive way, I switched to a bit more of a column style. Still the same content. Still the same insights. But shorter and with some sauce on it.
If one of my foresights or trends may spark some thoughts or reflections, never hesitate to reach out to me.
So here I am again, sitting behind my screen on a late-night. Floaty female voices and minimal beats are sounding through my earbuds. This alternative music always does the trick for me. It gets me in a creative mood to write yet another newsletter. The same music, of course, wouldn’t work before going on stage or when meditating. And that’s precisely what we like about music, right? It can make us sad, happy, calm or excited. Music is the answer when we try to reach such personal goals. “Music” is also my answer when people ask me why Ibiza has such an exceptionally relaxing (or happy) vibe. It transforms the place into something magical. Music simply has that kind of a profound impact on us.
Early in our lives, our mothers sang to us. It was our first introduction to music's soothing or even healing power. And yes, of course, this intended effect has been around for ages. Greek physicians used flutes, and Egyptian doctors chanted to heal the sick. Roman, Chinese, Indian or Arabian traditions all contained several notions of music therapy.
Today, most of us won’t run to our mother to be soothed. Instead, we might dig up that old vinyl record, put the radio on in the background or search for ‘relaxing music’ on Spotify. The latter is an ever-growing catalogue on streaming services. It serves as intentional medicine for a world suffering from a mental health crisis and noise pollution. Spotify even revealed that the number of streams of ‘mental health playlists’ doubled in 2020. This music intends self-care and, while doing so, brings a sense of Healthusiasm into the music industry. I’m not just talking about how Lego provides a mindfulness playlist on Spotify with the sound of their blocks being shuffled around. Nor about how nearly every socially invested artist released a ‘relaxing’ album during the pandemic. But instead, I refer to every festival now providing a wellness zone, yoga moments or meditative sound baths as part of their line-up. And what about car manufacturer Nissan writing lullabies for babies? Even Meditation apps turned into record labels, reaching up to 200 million yearly streams of exclusive songs.
I’ve always claimed that music is my pacemaker. In all honesty, I mostly used this excuse for my ‘emotional absence’ at parties with awful music. Because terrible music simply puts me out of the mood. But today, Spotify intends to solve this. My speech and background noise will soon provide ‘the right music’ for my mood. Algorithms intend to play the soundtrack of my life. Start-up Weav will even seamlessly adapts the beats per minute to the speed of somebody’s activity, whether it is running, skiing or having sex. It is supposed to boost endorphins and decrease fatigue (gimme that!!).
Today, artificial intelligence and smart algorithms can create music based on biofeedback. Our biometric and contextual data generate ever-changing medicinal compositions that enhance our health & happiness. This ‘generative music’ comes from within you with the intention to heal you. In previous newsletters, I’ve already written about how the car industry is more focused on health experiences than on driving experiences today (read it here). Well, here’s another example: Berlin-based start-up Endel partnered with Mercedes-Benz to create an adaptive sound environment that keeps the driver relaxed and focused behind the wheel. Expect similar health experiences in aeroplanes, retail stores, hotels, airports, and hospitals.
You may not think of it that way, but music has always been present in hospitals. The National Association for Music in Hospitals, Music in Hospital & Care, and The Council for Music in Hospitals are international associations born in the early 20th century. Still today, you will encounter music as a mood maker in hospitals, with many artists on a visit to cheer up patients. But Medicinal Music is increasingly being prescribed in hospitals as well. UK hospitals are trialling MediMusic to deliver a ‘musical drip’ that fights pain and stress. The NHS researches whether an algorithm can curate music playlists that reduce suffering in Alzheimer’s patients. It is also planning to test it on recovering critical care patients, needle-phobic children, outpatients coping with chronic pain and patients with pre-operative stress. Soon, entire hospital rooms will be transformed into immersive audio spaces to create restorative and calming audio-sensory therapy for hospitalised patients.
Music Therapy is not something new. It was already researched in the late 1800s. But it really gained traction with the creation of the World Federation of Music Therapy (1985) and the International Association for Music and Medicine (2010). Music Therapy is now a recognised profession in several countries and intends to make strides in diverse settings. The Thai government uses music and karaoke to prevent early onset from Alzheimer's, a health experience currently available in the app store. Moby wrote an entire album as therapy for anxiety. It was launched together with the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function. Pharma companies are also researching this field as people increasingly tend to avoid or postpone medication intake today. Sanofi launched a playlist on Spotify that alleviates headaches. Reckitt Benckiser, the manufacturer of Nurofen, advises certain music to better tolerate pain. But I genuinely like how start-up Sick Beats is taking the impact of music even further by designing a vest that produces deep bass frequencies (40 Hz). What’s so unique about it? The sound waves produced by this vest loosen mucus as effectively as traditional therapy. It is created together with cystic fibrosis patients and is now subject to clinical studies for future FDA approval.
There is clearly more to music than hears the ear. You can feel music. It makes you feel differently. It can even make you (feel) healthier. Music becomes intentional and even medicinal if it hasn’t already been that way for ages. The question is, what age are you living in? Are you already intentional about music in your business? Perhaps it might not seem immediately applicable. But surely, the life aspirations behind this trend must get you started (see image).
Floaty, female voices and minimal beats gave me this creativity boost. Please let me know if you’d recommend other Intentional Music for the next newsletter. From my side, I hope you had the fitting soundtrack to read as well.
Don't hesitate to contact me if you want to discover what opportunities this Metabolic Health trend (or any of the other 15 health & self-care trends) could bring to your business.
Healthusiastic to help.
Keynote speaker on business strategy in this health-conscious world