What is Wavepaths? The Music App for Psychedelic Therapy

What is Wavepaths? The Music App for Psychedelic Therapy

What’s the Best Playlist for Psychedelic Therapy?

The short answer is – there isn’t one. If you Google “best playlist for psychedelic therapy” or “selecting music for psychedelic therapy,” a number of set playlist suggestions can be found, and now Wavepaths is beginning to rank among those results. What is Wavepaths? And, how is Wavepaths different from a set playlist for psychedelic therapy? This article answers these questions and more. 
As Western medicine rediscovers the safety and efficacy of psychedelic therapy for mental health and wellness, there is an increased interest from mental health practitioners in the design of ‘optimal’ playlists used to support psychedelic experiences. 

Therapists and practitioners who create their own playlists for psychedelic therapy often use tools like Spotify and other streaming services to select songs that will match the distinct phases in psychedelic therapy sessions: Pre-onset, Onset, Peak and Return.
Yet, every client has their own unique needs and preferences, which can change throughout a psychedelic experience. Three factors – liking, openness and resonance – tied to the experience of music positively predict beneficial responses to psychedelic therapy. ‘Liking’ refers to the degree to which the music was liked, ‘resonance’ the extent to which the music was harmonious with the emotional state of the patients, and ‘openness’ refers to the degree to which the patients were open to or accepting of the music-evoked experience.

Table of Contents

In this article we cover:

Key Takeaways and Wavepaths Terms

    • Wavepaths is a technology that facilitates live, unique, personalised music experiences for psychedelic therapy and deep listening.
    • Psychedelic therapy is a therapeutic practice that involves the use of psychedelic substances to support the therapeutic process.
    • Deep listening is a way of reconnecting with yourself through music. It is active listening – an attitude of listening without judgement, with curiosity and intention.
    • Music as medicine is a new approach to mental health and wellbeing founded on the insight that music is effective in eliciting therapeutically meaningful experiences both in psychedelic therapy and as a standalone tool.
    • Psychedelic playlists are expertly curated musical content specifically chosen to facilitate, support and enhance positive therapeutic outcomes from psychedelic therapy.
    • Personalised music is adapted to the needs and preferences of an individual based on ‘state’ and ‘trait variables to optimise for resonance
    • State variables: indication [depression, anxiety, trauma, etc] and immediate emotional state
    • Trait variables: cultural context of an individual, music preferences, etc.
    • Resonance: the extent to which the music was harmonious with the emotional state of the patients
    • Adaptive music changes in response to the unique needs of the listener (ex. Timbre, tone, intensity,in response to therapeutic intent
    • Generative music is an algorithmic approach to live music composition. Music is generated from artist composed ‘stems’, according to a series of controllable variables to produce unique, endlessly evolving musical scores.

Music Can Make or Break A Psychedelic Experience

Why Wavepaths was Created 

Music is critical to positive therapeutic outcomes during psychedelic therapy. It can make or break the client experience. 

Despite best efforts, pre-curated playlists usually do not meet the best practice standards identified by research to provide adaptive music experiences responsive to the unique needs of the client, moment to moment during psychedelic therapy. Set playlists are not suited to the highly dynamic and subjective experience of an individual during psychedelic therapy and can increase the likelihood of unwelcome effects. 

Studies demonstrate that the degree to which music resonates with an individual drives core therapeutic mechanisms: insight, meaning-making, emotionality and peak experience. Music that does not resonate can be counter-therapeutic.

Journeys are as unique as the individuals undertaking them. There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to curating music for psychedelic therapy.

The best music for psychedelic therapy is person-centred and composed for clients in the moment – this is why Wavepaths was born: to create personalised, unique music experiences every time.

[ World class artists + Intelligent technology + Evidence-based research]

Wavepaths is designed to complement the duration of action of psychedelic medicines while optimising for resonance. Sessions can be customised based on drug dose and route and administration. Care providers can co-create sessions live with their clients or create several sessions ahead of time and run them live, in-person or remotely through a user-friendly link.

Today, Wavepaths is the gold standard for ketamine assisted therapy, and will soon be the same for psychedelic therapy using other drugs such as MDMA and psilocybin. Beginning in late 2021 Wavepaths began to break into the wellness market, and is now optimised for music as psychedelic therapy.

Music as Medicine: How Wavepaths was Created

Music has always been an essential component in the psychedelic experience, through time and throughout the world. It continues to play a foundational role in psychedelic therapy today. Breakthroughs in neuroscientific research are deepening our understanding of how and why music is so core to the psychedelic experience.

During his research at Imperial College, Wavepaths founder Mendel Kaelen PhD and his colleagues conducted extensive neuroscientific research on psychedelic therapy. Mendel’s research demonstrated the central role of music in facilitating transformative experiences in psychedelic therapy from which he developed the vision for Wavepaths.

Founding Wavepaths

Mendel discovered that it was certain qualities of the music experience in psychedelic therapy that were more predictive of positive therapeutic outcomes than the psychedelic drug itself. (1) His research demonstrates how music and psychedelics together work synergistically to facilitate therapeutic processes in the brain, the similarities in terms of the brain response in both cases, and how music can be used as a psychedelic agent in and of itself.

In 2019 Kaelen was joined by co-founder Anna Rickman to develop Wavepaths from the seed of an idea to a product, team and company, launching operations with a headquarters in East London. Their initial focus was to validate core hypotheses through a pop up research space on Brick Lane, in collaboration with Brian Eno and Jon Hopkins.

Wavepaths generative music design is based on over a decade of neuroscientific research and is used in clinical trials by experts in the field and leading academic institutions. Today, Wavepaths is at the forefront of a new field of neuroscience working to unlock the healing effects of music. Wavepaths is currently supporting the rapidly expanding ketamine therapy market across the US and Canada and is being used by ketamine clinics for both ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) and ketamine IV therapy (KIT).

1. Kaelen M, Giribaldi B, Raine J, Evans L, Timmerman C, Rodriguez N, et al. (2018) The hidden therapist: evidence for a central role of music in psychedelic therapy. Psychopharmacology (Berl) [Internet]. 235(2): 505–519. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-017-4820-5

A New Category of Therapeutic Tools

Wavepaths is developing a new category of therapeutic tools: Experience as Medicine – founded on the realisation that our existing system of mental health treatment is broken and a new paradigm of mental health care is needed. 

Journalists from RollingStone, Billboard, GQ, Glamour, Wired and other mainstream media outlets have reviewed and featured Wavepaths, primarily curious to experience if you really can trip on just music alone (yes) and if Wavepaths is unique able to guide listeners into a state of calm (also yes).

Today, over 300 legal clinics in 30 different countries use Wavepaths. Wavepaths is currently rolled out for ketamine therapy, and will very soon be optimised for MDMA and psilocybin. Wavepaths has just granted access to key partners in the wellness market to use music as a form of psychedelic therapy with the purpose of facilitating personally meaningful experiences to improve mental health and well-being – music as medicine

“Field Trip uses Wavepaths because they are the clear market leader with the most sophisticated technology and the most history around developing music for psychedelic experiences,” said Ronan Levy, co-founder and executive chairman at Field Trip. “Working with organisations like Wavepaths that are data-focused, doing the research and are evidence-based is very consistent with who we are at Field Trip.”

What is Wavepaths?

[ Research + Technology + Community ]

Wavepaths is the world’s first person-centred music solution for psychedelic therapy.

Wavepaths is both a browser-based app and an exclusive online community of practitioners and experts at the forefront of psychedelic care.

The Wavepaths App

Through the Wavepaths App, users can create person-centred music experiences both for and as psychedelic therapy. Through a user-friendly, intuitive design, Wavepaths helps practitioners and listeners to work with music as an extension of the therapeutic relationship, gently guiding listeners through emotional atmospheres that most resonate with their unfolding experience.

A first of its kind adaptive musical tool, Wavepaths is responsive to who you are, how you feel and the duration of action of different psychedelic medicines. Practitioners can automatically adapt the music to medicine, route of administration and dosage when curating sessions. Sessions can be run live – in person or remote, or scheduled to be experienced at a later date in the comfort of your clients home.

The Wavepaths Community

With Wavepaths, practitioners and listeners can continue to develop their practice in the Wavepaths community, a place to connect with and learn from peers and experts in the space. The community provides theory and practice of person-centred music, and experiential understanding through live and on demand educational resources.


Wavepaths is available via monthly subscription. Subscription includes onboarding to Wavepaths, a live demo for how to create a personalised session and access to Wavepaths international community of practitioners, researchers and experts at the forefront of psychedelic care. Wavepaths community is a place to connect and learn from peers, experts and thought leaders in the space through live events and on demand educational resources.

To access a professional subscription to Wavepaths, join the waiting list here.

Guided Deep Listening Sessions

Wavepaths also provides music as psychedelic therapy in the form of deep listening; an approach to mental health that recognises the therapeutic role of music alone.

Wavepaths offers guided deep listening sessions for the public and smaller groups. The sessions offer a dedicated space to reconnect with yourself through music. They are group experiences facilitated by a trained Wavepaths guide.

Book a guided deep listening session here.

Generative Online Streams

Through our public facing website, Wavepaths invites listeners to journey through Wavepaths ever-evolving musical worlds designed for focus, meditation, introspection and emotional reconnection from the comfort of their own home.

Explore Wavepaths generative music streams here.

What does Wavepaths generative music sound like? Experience Wavepaths four emotional atmospheres. Click below to experience:

Designed for practitioners, composed for patients

Wavepaths supports practitioners to work with confidence with music in a person-centred way. Through both software and community, Wavepaths helps practitioners create safe, person-centred, adaptive spaces for challenging therapeutic work to happen.

Wavepaths is committed to expanding access to safe, ethical and effective psychedelic therapy, with a profound respect for the therapeutic process involved and heartfelt understanding of the urgent need for a new paradigm of care.

To learn more about Wavepaths, request a demo and subscribe to our newsletter for the latest advances in experience as medicine and product updates.



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