The Power of Music Designed for Health and Wellbeing

“Music has a unique power to express inner states or feelings. Music can pierce the heart directly; it needs no meditation”, said Oliver Sacks, neurologist and author of “Musicophilia” which was written in 2007. 

Since then there have been many more studies into the effect music can have on the brain, on the way we feel and think, and on our mental health and wellbeing. 

Meditative music and its important role in Wellbeing

A recent review of 26 studies conducted across several countries including Australia, the UK and the US, found that listening to music may provide a clinically significant boost to mental health. The analysis was published in the Journal of the American Association Network Open.  The author suggests that the benefit of listening to music in relation to the benefits of improved mental health was close in effect to improvement in mental health due to exercise or weight loss. 

Other research reiterates this, suggesting that when participants listen to music or musical performances that give them the chills, it triggers a release of dopamine to the brain – a feel good chemical that we receive as part of a reward system.

Music is a powerful tool that can not just have a positive impact on mental well being, but also reduce stress responses like heart rate and cortisol levels.

There are many more studies being done to understand the intricacies of different types of music and their effect on the brain and mental wellbeing, but it is clear that music can improve mental health and have a positive impact on psychological well being.

What is Wellbeing?

A dictionary definition of “wellbeing” is “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy”.  

The Wellbeing Programme at the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) did a study to ask people what mattered to them and created a live dashboard which included measures of personal wellbeing and people’s assessments of their own quality of life and experiences. 

The ONS definition of wellbeing, put simply, is about “how we are doing” as individuals, communities and as a nation and how sustainable this is for the future.  They define wellbeing as having 10 broad dimensions which have been shown to matter most to people in the UK as identified through a national debate. The dimensions are: the natural environment, personal finance, the economy, education and skills and governance. 

Personal wellbeing is a particularly important dimension which can be defined as how satisfied we are with our lives, our sense that what we do in life is worthwhile, our day to day emotional experiences (happiness and anxiety) and our wider mental wellbeing.

Listening to music is powerful in regulating emotions and changing people’s mood and is often an afterthought in terms of wellbeing, rather than properly considered as a tool for wellbeing, yet it can be extremely effective and powerful.

How big is the market of Wellbeing?

The size of the wellbeing market depends on a number of factors, including the definition of wellbeing, the geographical region, and the specific products and services included under the wellbeing umbrella. Some estimates suggest that the global wellbeing market has grown to $4.2 trillion by 2020, from $3.7 trillion in 2015.  

In terms of the spa market specifically, it is estimated that the sector was worth around $30 billion in 2020 in the United States, having grown from approximately $8.5 billion in 2016.  It is clear that the market of wellbeing is large and growing at a fast pace. 

The Global Wellness Institute predicts a continued 9.9% average annual growth, with the wellness economy reaching nearly  $7.0 trillion in 2025.

Why is the market of Wellbeing growing so rapidly?

There are a number of reasons why the wellbeing market is growing so rapidly. One reason is that people are becoming more interested in seeking out ways to improve their overall health and wellbeing.

There is also a growing demand for holistic health care services, which include not only traditional spa treatments but also other complementary therapies and lifestyle changes to manage stress and help us relax and feel good.

The rise of social media platforms has also made it easier for people to connect with each other as well as health care professionals to share information about quality wellbeing products and services. 

The prevalence of mental health issues

People are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of maintaining their wellbeing and a good sense of self esteem. This is due to a number of factors, including the increasing prevalence of mental health issues, the negative effects of stress, and the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. There is also a growing focus on prevention when it comes to wellbeing. This is due to the fact that many illnesses and conditions can be prevented or treated through lifestyle changes.

Mindfulness and self-care

Mindfulness and self-care practices are becoming more popular due to their positive effects on wellbeing. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that helps people focus on their thoughts and feelings without judgement. Self-care practices involve taking care of your physical health, mental health, and well-being. Research suggests this can include things like exercise, eating a balanced diet, but listening to the right music can have an equally positive effect. 

Music in healthcare

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that music can be used effectively in healthcare settings to help treat various conditions and improve overall health. Music therapy is an increasingly popular treatment modality that can be used to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. Music has been shown to be helpful in reducing stress, pain, and anxiety, and can also be used to improve mood, cognitive function, and sleep quality.

Additionally, music can be used to facilitate rehabilitation after surgery or injury, and research shows, to improve mood and cognitive function in people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, music therapy has been found to be helpful in the treatment of depression, anxiety, stress, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorders. Music therapy has even been shown to help decrease the perception of pain; research suggests that listening to music can be used to manage pain or as pain relief and even provide motivation for movement.

There are many different types of music therapy that can be used in healthcare settings, so it is important that the music used is thoroughly researched so its effect on wellness can be optimised. 

How does Myndstream create music for wellbeing and mental health?

Myndstream utilises the rigour of scientific research to create the highest quality music-led wellbeing programmes. Sitting at the intersection of art and science, they work with some incredible experts in the fields of health and wellbeing. 

Being part of Cutting Edge Group, a full-service provider of music for film, television, advertising and gaming, they have a dedicated roster of leading well being music artists

Health and wellbeing is a broad category so Myndstream works with experts in their fields, and matches them with some of their top musical artists, to create music targeted at particular groups of people for their health and wellbeing needs and preferred music genre, from classical music, piano songs or sad music, to heavy metal. They always test playlists with target groups prior to release and have a belief in continuous research to update their music playlists.

Myndstream’s Spa Music Service

Their unique Spa Music Service for example lowers the barrier for spa owners, individual therapists and salons to access high quality music designed for their treatments. They have worked with a wide group of spa owners to create relaxing music playlists designed for the type and length of treatment, designed to give customers a truly immersive experience. Myndstream’s carefully curated background music helps with inducing relaxation and is true music therapy.

Beyond their Spa Music Service they have several other research programmes, for sleep with Sleep Score Labs and in other areas of health and education.  

Final thoughts

Myndstream’s priority focus is to elevate the audio experience within business environments through its own platforms, as well as making its music accessible directly to consumers through the main streaming platforms for focused listening. 

For more information on the power of music, read our blog on the power of sleep music, or find out more about Myndstream here.