The Daily Mail reported on 17th October 2011 that a study commissioned by Radox Spa and conducted by Dr David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International has listed the top 10 most relaxing songs in the world – more relaxing than even a massage. They are so relaxing that you’re not recommended to listen to them while driving, lest you fall asleep. They do so by slowing down listeners’ heart rate, breathing and reducing brain activity.
According to the study, the most relaxing song of them all is Marconi Union’s Weightless. The Manchester band reportedy collaborated with sound therapists so that they make the “most effective use of harmonies, rhythms and bass lines.”
The song turned out to be even more relaxing than Enya’s celebrated yawn-inducing song: Watermark.
Here are some of the other songs in the top 10:
Airstream – Electra
DJ Shah – Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix)
Enya – Watermark
Coldplay – Strawberry Swing
Barcelona – Please Don’t Go
Mozart – Canzonetta Sull’aria
Lyz Cooper, founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy, was quoted to have said:
Weightless makes use of many musical principles that have been shown to individually have a calming effect. By combining these elements in the way Marconi Union have has created the perfect relaxing song. The study found this to be the world’s most relaxing song. It contains a sustaining rhythm that starts at 60 beats per minute and gradually slows to around 50. While listening, your heart rate gradually comes to match that beat. It is important that the song is eight minutes long because it takes about five minutes for this process, known as entrainment, to occur. The fall in heart rate also leads to a fall in blood pressure. The harmonic intervals – or gaps between notes – have been chosen to create a feeling of euphoria and comfort. And there is no repeating melody, which allows your brain to completely switch off because you are no longer trying to predict what is coming next. Instead, there are random chimes, which helps to induce a deeper sense of relaxation. The final element is the low, whooshing sounds and hums that are like buddhist chants. High tones stimulate but these low tones put you in a trance-like state. Weightless is ideal for putting on at the end of a stressful day and unwinding.
Dr Lewis-Hodgson himself said:
The results clearly show that the track induced the greatest relaxation – higher than any of the other music tested. Brain imaging studies have shown that music works at a very deep level within the brain, stimulating not only those regions responsible for processing sound but also ones associated with emotions. In fact, Weightless was so effective, many women became drowsy and I would advise against driving while listening to the song because it could be dangerous.