Five Tips for Choosing Music to Help Your Body Relax

From my last post, you know that you can listen to or play music to help you relax on an emotional level or on a physical level. These tips are directed more specifically to the times when you want to listen to music to help your body relax on a physical level. You may just listen to the music, or you may be using the music as an accompaniment to music-assisted relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, or autogenic relaxation. These tips also work for caregiving situations, when you are choosing music for someone else. Just make sure to keep their preferences in mind! 1. Choose music in a style that you prefer. This always has to be the first item on the list, because music marketed as “relaxation music” won’t necessarily work for you if it’s a style you do not like. If you don’t like classical music, listening to Mozart won’t help. If you hate whale sounds, listening to a musical setting of whale sounds will just be annoying. There are plenty of options when it comes to music for relaxation, so choose something you like listening to. 2. Choose music with a slower pace, even music that slows down as you’re listening. Through the process of entrainment, your body will tend to match the dominant stimulus in your environment, which you probably want to be your relaxation music. Music that is set at a tempo of 70 bpm or less will help your body move to a resting heart rate. Music that starts slightly faster and then slows down to 60 or even 50 bpm may be even more effective in helping your body to slow down. 3. Choose music with less complex or jarring changes. Just as a gradually slowing tempo will help your body to slow down, sudden changes could make your body wake up, alert for anything else new and surprising that may come up. Sometimes albums that are marketed as something like “the most relaxing jazz/classical/opera/etc album ever” can include selections that have major shifts in mood. These selections could interfere with your body’s relaxation process (although they may still be relaxing on a more emotional level). 4. Choose music without words, especially words in English. Listening to the lyrics could prove to be distracting, especially if you are trying to focus on another relaxation exercise. Some people find the human voice to be very soothing, though, so vocal music that is in a language you don’t understand could still be helpful. (A good example of this kind of music is Gregorian Chant.) 5. Listen on quality playback equipment. You certainly don’t have to go out and buy a top-of-the-line system, but you should put some thought into how you’ll listen to your music. You don’t want to be distracted by tape hiss or crackling noises coming from your speakers. Following these tips will help you to find the music that will you (or your loved one) to relax your body on a physical level. Do you already have some favorite music for relaxation purposes? Does it fit these tips? What tips would you add? Please leave your comment below.]]>


  1. […] It is important to know, however, that no one album or musical selection will be helpful for every person in the same way. Some people may find this music to be very helpful for relaxation, but others may be turned off by the style of this music and not find it helpful at all. Some people may be inspired by knowing that this music is composed around a particular spiritual system; others may find that confusing or even offensive. No one piece of music can be perfect for every therapeutic or self-care need, and that is perfectly okay. […]

  2. Guided Imagery on December 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    i am a great fun of music,its refresh my mind.great post also.
    Guided Imagery

  3. Tanvir Ahmed on December 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I am a great fun of music.great refresh my mind.great post also.
    Guided Imagery(GI) is a gentle but powerful technique that focuses and directs the imagination.

  4. […] your body’s rhythms will tend to match the music you’re hearing. So, listen to music that is slow and steady, and you’ll feel your breathing slow and your body […]

  5. Matt on October 9, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Great post! As for me, I like nature sounds. For example, sounds of waves. It helps me relax after work. I found this page few days ago. it has some sounds of waves and also it feels like I am on a ship 🙂
    But each person has his/her own way to relax.

    • soundscapemusictherapy on October 9, 2012 at 9:47 pm

      You’re right – everyone has different preferences! I’m glad you found a resource you like.

  6. […] Music can be pleasant. Would you rather listen to your neighbor revving his engine or your favorite Bach Sonata or Enya track? Yeah, I thought so. It is important, though, to choose music that works well for YOU – music in a style you like that doesn’t bring up bad memories or uncomfortable feelings. You can read more about choosing music for relaxation here. […]

  7. MrKappa on February 19, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    I find music which dazzles my senses has the best chances of soothing my confused mind. Other times, tone like minimal sounds capes help promote or exaggerate my sense of well being. ASMR is another great relaxation therapy.

  8. […] and especially about using music for self-care. We talked about choosing music for emotional and physical relaxation, exercising to music as a form of self-expression and stress relief, and how to practice techniques […]

  9. […] else. So, if you find something that “works” – helps to establish a routine, or calm someone down, or encourage exercise – then by all means, keep doing it! As a music therapist for people […]

  10. […] or Taylor Swift. Music preference certainly matters. We know, for example, that it is difficult to relax to music you don’t like. If you hate the sound of the soprano saxophone, then Kenny G is not […]

  11. Mr.Anon on February 12, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Best website I use is
    there’s a few videos/songs by FredBouchal on youtube

Leave a Comment