Brainwaves are the collective electrical signal of millions of neurons working together in a living brain, producing our sense of alertness – or lack thereof - and producing our experience of reality. As brainwaves change, so does our perception of the world and our inner perception of ourselves. By learning to control our brainwaves, we can achieve specific, desirable mental states, such as feeling more relaxed, less anxious, more creative, more focused, or sleepier.
The only downside is that there is a limited choice available – only 8 tracks in fact (but they are so powerful you are likely to forgive them). The tracks range from the performance enhancing Deep Concentration, the amazing Crystal Clear Mind (which I count as one of my secret weapons when I want to get something done quickly to meet a deadline). And the awesomely mind expanding God Consciousness.
That is a general assumption people make but there isn’t really much science to back it up. What we do know though is that isochronic tones are ineffective below 4hz, and possibly a bit higher. So for theta and delta entrainment you are best off with binaural beats. In my experience binaural beats will be very effective all the way up to around 40hz.
Anxiety: In a review of brainwave entrainment research, there were several studies that investigated short-term stress relief as well as long-term stress or “burnout.” Several used modalities of auditory stimulation, while a couple used audio-visual entrainment. Those with heightened short-term stress and anxiety were undergoing medical treatments, experiencing addiction, and/or were just anxious adults.
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In March I started using the CDs that I affectionately call “Meditation for Dummies” and am very pleased with the results so far. My blood pressure has dropped, I am sleeping better and notice that I feel much more calm and less stressed. Instead of feeling that I need to “find the time” in my schedule to meditate, I look forward to that totally relaxing half hour–that peaceful feeling of floating.
When the brain is stimulated with pulsed sounds (neuro-electrical activity via the nerves originating from the ears), the overall activity of the brain will respond to and align with these pulses. By selecting the desired rate, the brain — via the frequency following response (entrainment) — can be naturally induced towards the selected brainwave state.
This is a question I have noticed to concern many people, who are researching the issue. I have come across this question in forums, Yahoo Answers, in blogs, and all other sorts of places. I can definitely empathize with someone who is looking to find a solution to a problem like anxiety, migraine, pain, etc., and needs reassurance and scientific proof that brainwave entrainment actually works!
Lucid dreaming: A lucid dream is considered a dream that a person is aware of and often able to consciously manipulate. Many have alleged that using brainwave entrainment technology makes it easier to experience a lucid dream. Scientists have studied this phenomenon and noticed that beta frequencies within the range of 13 to 19 Hz tend to be generated to keep the person conscious. Additionally there is significant increased activity in the parietal lobes of the brain, which allows an individual to stay conscious.
Isochronic tones are basically just a single tone with the volume being turned on and off at regular intervals. When you apply the same effects to music or a noise, it’s usually referred to as amplitude entrainment effects (in Mind Workstation anyway). When you apply the on/off effect to music or noise it’s usually done by targeting a specific frequency range in the sound and only turning that part on/off, leaving the rest of the music/noise untouched. What that does is allow parts of the music/noise to play without being distorted/interrupted, making it sound more pleasant to listen to. It produces a kind of fluttering sound as I like to call it and you can adjust the level of intensity.
I have read something different about theta waves and learning languages. A University of Washington study tested students resting brainwave activity before learning French. They found that students with a higher amount beta/gamma and a lower amount of delta/theta activity were better at acquiring a second language. When you are dominant in theta, that is the lowest and most deeply relaxed awakened state you can be in. I think it would be much harder to really concentrate, fully understand and learn new information while in a theta state, so I would personally consider using theta while studying.
How does brainwave entrainment work? Consistent, precisely engineered audio frequencies in the form of binaural beats cause the brain’s frequencies to match the stimulus. Your brain perceives two beats with slightly different frequencies (which are inaudible to the ear) through your headphones. It takes the difference between the two, and matches its own frequency to it. This is called the “frequency following” response.
Both brainwave entrainment and neurofeedback deal with brainwaves, but the similarity stops there. Entrainment pushes your whole brain into a pre-determined state, while neurofeedback teaches you how to move specific parts of your brain on your own. It is the differeence between forcing the brain into a given position, and skills building so you can move it there yourself.