The Best Relaxation Music

Author: Steve Gillman

How do you choose the relaxation music that works best? You can certainly start by experimenting with many different types. After all, it seems likely that what one person finds relaxing another will find irritating. But is it all just a matter of personal preference?

Actually no. Though one’s personal tastes enter into the equation, there are reasons that some types of music are more relaxing than others. For example, both science and the experience of many people point to the usefulness of baroque music for relaxation. Studies have shown that baroque music at 60 beats per minute causes your brain to produce more alpha brainwaves. Why does that matter? More on that in a moment. For now, here are some specific examples of good relaxation music.

“Harpsichord Concerto in F Minor,” by J.S. Bach

“Concerto No.10 in F Major from Twelve Concerti Grossi,” by A. Corelli

“Winter” from “The Four Seasons,” by A. Vivaldi

“Canon in D,” by Pachelbel

“Adagio in G Minor for Strings,” by Albinoni

Often it’s just a passage from these that have the most relaxing effect. In the first three examples above, the movements referred to as “largo” work best.

What other types of music help people relax? Light jazz (try Luther Vandross) works for some. Eastern music, like that which uses the Indian Sitar, is another favorite (try Ravi Shankar). Generic easy listening music with sounds of nature mixed in is a common choice as well.

Any of the music in these examples is relatively inexpensive. Even the best “sounds of nature” and “easy listening” relaxation CDs are usually no more than twenty-five dollars. However, if you’re willing to spend a bit more, there is a more scientific approach to using relaxation music.

Altering Your Brainwaves

Some types of music work better than others because of what they do to our brainwaves. Our brains primarily produce brainwaves at 14 – 30 hertz (cycles-per-second) during normal waking consciousness. In this frequency range, they are referred to as “beta” waves. Frequencies from 8 – 14 Hertz are “alpha” waves, which are present when we are more relaxed. Around 4 – 8 hertz is the “theta” range, accompanied by a deeper meditative or drowsy state. Finally, during deep sleep delta waves (below 5 hertz) are produced.

Meditation stimulates the more relaxing states of consciousness especially if it is regularly practiced. The good news, if you don’t have the time nor inclination to meditate, is that music which has been embedded with certain beats works in the same way. This is the basis for the newest brainwave entrainment technologies, based on decades of research. Simply listen to these CDs or MP3s with headphones and they alter your brainwaves, causing a quick relaxation response.

In other words, if you’re willing to spend a little more, you get true relaxation technology. Also, these products generally have pleasant music for a background too (though some use rain or wave sounds). That makes them the best kind of relaxation music in my experience.

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Copyright Steve Gillman. Find more specific recommendations for Relaxation Music and Brainwave Entrainment CDs at

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