A sound therapist and a stress specialist got together with a couple of musicians and a few marketers, and created what they say is the world’s most relaxing song.
The song — more of an ambient new-age soundscape — is called “Weightless,” and it’s reportedly proven to be “more relaxing than a massage using specific rhythms, tones, frequencies and intervals to relax the listener.”
Why you might want to try getting weightless
“Weightless” was created when Marconi Union was asked to write a piece of relaxing music, in consultation with Lyz Cooper, a leading sound therapist in the UK, and the founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy. The plan was that the track’s effectiveness would then be scientifically tested.
Every element of this soundscape was chosen to evoke a particular feeling or response. Cooper explains, “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 help to induce a deeper sense of relaxation,” she says.
“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.”
Sounds to soothe your stress or lull you to sleep
“It contains a sustaining rhythm that starts at 60 beats per minute, and gradually slows to around 50. While listening, your heart rate comes to match that beat gradually,” says Cooper. “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 study, commissioned by Radox Spa (a line of bath products), reported that when the track was tested at the Mindlab Institute, scientists reported that the music slowed the heart rate, reduced blood pressure and decreased levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress.
“What distinguishes ‘Weightless’ from other music is the use of therapeutic sound,” says Cooper. “Many musicians and composers intuitively use therapeutic elements in their music every day, but when you put many of these elements together it is possible to create music that has an extremely relaxing effect on people.”
“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,” says Dr David Lewis, a psychologist and author of several books, including One-Minute Stress Management, who worked on the project.
“So the next time you need to relax, there’s no need to comfort eat a chocolate bar or book a spa retreat. Just put on the right piece of music, such as ‘Weightless,’ sit back in the bath or a comfortable chair, close your eyes and chill out to the soothing beat.”