Sound artistry in spas – a new tool for wellness

Sound artist Justin Wiggan has made some mind-blowing explorations into the sounds made by plants, suggesting how they can be used for good by the wellness industry


By Wendy Golledge

10 February 2023

Justin Wiggan began his work around the perception of nature and the sounds we cannot hear in 2016. He experimented with bio-rhythms – invisible waves of energy unique to each living thing – and biosonification, using technology to turn these bio-rhythms of living organisms into sound.

At the same time, Wiggan was investigating the haptics (feeling) of sound alongside Subpac, a company that specialises in creating haptic vests – wearable tactile audio systems that pulse sound through the body using haptics vibrations.

Wiggan has now merged the two technologies into an intimate experience, which means the plants’ electrical impulses can be sent from the vest into the body, so users can ‘feel’ the plants ‘singing’, connecting people deeply with nature to enhance wellbeing.

European Spa met with Wiggan, to find out how this concept could be introduced into spas.

Justin Wiggan uses a device that deciphers the interactions of plants to transform it into music

New standards of experimentation

Internal Garden is an immersive sound art programme of live investigation, interactive art installation and educational events in context of the themes of the sound, art and plant consciousness,” Wiggan explains.

“Forward-thinking spas can use sound artistry to set new standards of experimentation, share wonder, curiosity and unique connections with nature with guests, all as part of their wellness offer.

“The connection between plant and human is a two way ‘conversation’ – readings change in accordance with the energy levels of the person wearing it.

“Spas can unite nature and sound as an innovative wellbeing provision, creating a truly unique ‘slow spa’ experience.”

Internal garden at profound sound
Internal garden at Profound Sound

The unique ‘songs’ of plants

Wiggan, who spoke at last year’s Spafest, believes spas can monetise this narrative of curious wonder via sounds and haptics.

“For spas, sound art can offer guests a whole physical experience that combines nature, emerging technologies, music and biometrics. Spas are so well placed to introduce people to technological curiosity and the unique ‘songs’ generated by plants,” he says.

“Imagine a world where there are haptic living bio walls in spas? Or in thermal suites, with all the plants connected up to haptic jackets and guests able to connect with nature in a way spas have never been able to offer before.”

Wiggan is now developing a full haptic suit, so it will be possible to have a full-body massage from a singing plant. He is also creating the world’s first biosonification haptic pods for the spa and hotel industry.

Internal Garden has been used by The Sensory Trust, the British Science Association, the Eden Project, the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Sense charity, the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, Kew Gardens and more.

Be educated ...

Find out more about sound artistry and the unique ‘songs’ generated by plants below


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