For massage therapists: Mood music

Hello, massage puppies 🙂

I’ve been asked about music, the tastes of which are almost as personal as those of wallpaper, but I see no harm in naming off some various favorites that have stood the test of time.  I bring you this list, which is in no particular order and by no means conclusive…

Artist: Govi
Album: practically any
Style: Spanish-style guitar. Relaxing, yet cheerful and upbeat.
Especially good for: any session that is not lymphatic massage or cranial-sacral work.  Good for either cheerful clients (because it won’t bring them too far down) and also for depressed clients (because it will cheer them up a little, or at least not let them sink any further).  Also good for the client you don’t necessarily want to fall asleep.  Especially useful for massage therapists who do corrective work and to intentionally deviate away from the spa.

Artist: Llewellyn
Album: practically any
Style: varies.  Anything from Andean Mountain-style guitar (not quite as pick-me-up as Govi) to calmly bright peaces with light but cheerful drumbeats (Color Healing album) to totally beatless ambient music.
Especially good for: depends on which album and what effect you’re gunning for.  Choose the Andean style guitar for the relaxation massage, the oceans and dolphins for the lymphatic or cranial-sacral clients, or the Color Healing album for that pain management client you don’t want falling asleep on you.

Artist: William Orbit
Album: Hello Waveforms (especially–although many are good)
Style: electronic music without vocals, some light beats, hi-tech sound.  Usually mellow.
Especially good for: the younger, hip client who likes a cerebral curveball every now and then, or the middle-aged client who simply can’t stand Enya or any of the other typical “massage music”.  Very useful to break up the monotony.

Artist: 2002
Album: practically any
Style: ambient, with piano, harp, keyboards.  Ethereal, but no rafter-high female vocals or chanting.  Good warm sound, very dreamy.
Especially good for: a deeply relaxing massage, especially if it’s a long session.  Good for the severely over-stressed person, or someone so revved up it’s hard to get them to come down.  Useful for the person who wants to drift away, perhaps off to sleep.

Artist: Ishq
Album: Sonic Incense
Style: Dreamy, very ambient, high-tech sound without much percussion, no vocals.
Especially useful for: same as 2002.  It’s not depressing music, but don’t use with anyone who’s depressed, or with the extremely right-brained person.

Artist: Enya
Album: any
Style: a combination of ambient, dreamy, adult-contemporary, light pop, instrumental, and female vocal.  Anything from some rhythm to completely beatless.
Especially useful for: the client who likes to stick with tried-n-true typical massage music.

Artist: James Asher
Album: pretty much any
Style: a combo of good strong African/Asian percussion, with flutes, keyboards.  Very salty, earthy, grounding.
Especially good for: the chakra rebalancing session where there is a weak first or third chakra, a pain-management session where you don’t want the patient to fall asleep, a cortical hemisphere rebalancing session where the client is too far right-brained or depressed, or the client who comes in feeling too rowdy, stressed, or energetic and has a hard time settling down.  It’d be a good segue into more relaxing music, because it meets the high-strung client at their level first, all the while grounding them.

Artist: Makyo
Album: especially Yakshini
Style: a very East-meets-West style of new electronic beats and instrumentation with accents of traditional Indian/Middle Eastern vocals and instruments.
Especially good for: the open-minded client who needs a little something different, a client with an appreciation for world music, the upscale world traveler, the exploratory college student.  Very calming and trancelike, without being fast-paced at all.

Artist: Diane Arkenstone
Album: Echoes of Egypt
Style: soundtrack-quality music, some with beats and some not, some upbeat and some haunting.  Good fit for a pivotal scene in a “Braveheart”-esque movie set in Cairo.
Especially good for: the client on a journey, someone spiritual and deep, someone who sees the true deeper body-mind-soul connection and gets bodywork for that purpose.

Artist: David Arkenstone
Album: In the Wake of the Wind
Style: also soundtrack-quality music.  Mostly with beats, some more upbeat, some more calm.  A bit less haunting than Echoes of Egypt.
Especially good for: the client who wants something a bit different, something more upbeat than typical dreamy massage music.  Has catchy melodies and crafty arrangements, good use of the different audio textures of different instruments.

Artist: Michael Benghiat
Album: Meditation
Style: varies from simplistic Middle-Eastern style solo guitar to near-beatless ambient
Especially good for: the client who likes more of the typical massage music, but without the ethereal rafter-level vocals or instrumentation.  It gives traditional massage music an earthy spin.  Good for someone who wants to fall asleep also.

I’m sure I’ll add more later.  As always, feel free to add your own!  Just post a comment.

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