Spatial’s immersive audio platform, in conjunction with HealthTunes evidence-based ‘MusicMedicine’, allows nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals to choose a soundscape such as a forest or a deep sea dive. These soundscapes are combined with low-frequency pulses that relax the parasympathetic nervous system to transport staff away from the pressure of the hospital.

The partnership between Spatial, HealthTunes, and Catalyst was developed in response to the overwhelming stress and anxiety brought on by the COVID-19 health crisis.

A recent Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) survey found that 62% of healthcare workers responsible for providing direct care for COVID-19 patients reported challenging mental health repercussions. 55% reported feeling burnout (mental and physical exhaustion from chronic workplace stress) and 49% reported feeling anxious. Three in ten frontline workers considered leaving the healthcare field altogether, and 13% have sought out and received mental health services.

This partnership is aimed at reversing these trends through the healing power of sound. In this inaugural project, Catalyst by Wellstar piloted Spatial’s immersive sound technology in wellness rooms at four Wellstar medical centers. These rooms function as therapeutic spaces for healthcare workers to relax and recharge in tranquil, completely immersive audio environments.

Evidence shows that experiential sound works effectively as a therapeutic tool, but it is vastly underutilized in practical settings.

Hank Capps
MD FAAFP, Executive Vice President, Chief Information and Digital Officer of Wellstar Health System.

To make this happen, HealthTunes licensed their content and built fully immersive versions of the soundscapes on Spatial’s platform for hospital and wellness center deployments. HealthTunes incorporates auditory beat stimulation to increase the strength of positive brain waves through a process called entrainment. Through their proprietary algorithm, HealthTunes inlays binaural beats and isochronic tones into playlists to influence and entrain brain wave patterns, which help decrease stress and anxiety, increase relation, improve sleep, and more.

By using these wellness rooms, Wellstar team members are receiving relief during their stressful and long days in the hospital. Sound therapy has provided an effective way to decompress without leaving work, increasing the well-being of team members and their ability to treat patients optimally. Testing these environments enables Catalyst by Wellstar to create real-world evidence for how sound therapy can improve the well-being of healthcare teams, as well as other workplaces that would benefit from Spatial’s technology.

Since the Wellstar Wellness Rooms opened in January 2022, nearly 5,000 team members have used them, with 95% reporting a positive mental impact. The self-reported mental state also increased by over 28%. During this time, 30,750 hours of soundscapes were played – the equivalent of 3.5 years – and 84% of users said they were highly likely to recommend the room to a colleague.

“The immersive wellness rooms present an exciting opportunity for Wellstar to leverage the healing power of sound for our clinical team members. Thanks to Spatial’s technology, health systems can be empowered to find innovative ways to promote the mental well-being of their teams while paving the way for the technology’s use in patient-facing settings,” said Hank Capps, MD FAAFP, Executive Vice President, Chief Information and Digital Officer of Wellstar Health System.

These are quotes from some team members who have used the Wellness Rooms:
“A very calm environment that allows me to decompress after all of the negative energy that comes from seeing illness and injury throughout a day.”

“Having this room is so helpful to the day-to-day stress we encounter not just at work but in life.”

“A great way to relax after a stressful shift before I head home – allows me to decompress.”

After gathering data from the use of these rooms, Catalyst by Wellstar is currently exploring the use of therapeutic sound in patient-facing spaces, such as labor and delivery areas.

“Spatial’s software enables creators to design immersive experiences with sound as a core sensory modality, opening the door for independent researchers to study the impacts of sound on human emotion, recovery, therapy and more,” said Calin Pacurariu, co-founder and CEO of Spatial. “We are honored to work with HealthTunes and Catalyst by Wellstar to enable the healing power of sound to help frontline healthcare workers manage the stress and anxiety present in their daily work environment. As we continue to partner with leaders in the audio and health sectors, the possibilities for sound as a therapeutic tool are tremendous.”