However, yoga and meditation take time to learn and master, and until the student becomes proficient, progress can be slow and frustrating, leading many people to abandon the effort before they see the benefits. Brainwave entrainment has the potential for helping a person enter the relaxing and rejuvenating mind-states brought about by yoga and meditation without the learning curve and time needed for mastering these other techniques. Brainwave entrainment may even facilitate learning other mindfulness methods by helping a person achieve success faster and more reliably.
All brainwave states serve important mental functions, and with today’s lifestyle, returning to a peaceful way of being is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve and maintain for any period of time. This continual stress or alerted state causes disease in the mind and body, which is why it’s paramount for us to relearn or retrain ourselves to get back to these healthful and rejuvenating states.
Additionally, most of the studies have been conducted with extremely small samples and the touted benefits are vague. When studying the effects, it would be beneficial to hook each participant up to an EEG, note initial brainwave activity, then post-entrainment, note any changes. Although certain conditions share similarities in brainwave activity, this is clearly not always the case.
While a practical understanding of brainwaves has been around for as long as people have been singing, chanting, and drumming, a scientific view of the electrical activity inside the human brain was not published until 1924 when German psychiatrist Hans Berger developed a machine for sensing and recording activity in the brain by attaching small electrical sensors to the scalp of his patients and recording the resulting electrical activity. Berger’s inventions and discoveries were built upon the earlier work of Richard Caton who published animal studies on brainwave oscillations in 1875.
If brainwave entrainment leaves you with unwanted side-effects (see below) or discomfort, you’re probably encouraging a range of brainwaves that are already excessive in some area of your brain. The way around this is to get a brain map to see what your brain’s strengths and weaknesses are, and see what (if any) brainwaves could use some encouragement.