Brainwave entrainment is clearly NOT an effective standalone treatment for mental illness, but it may be an effective adjunct treatment in certain individuals. It should also be mentioned that when using brainwave entrainment, you may want to have a specific purpose in mind. If your goal is to relax, yet you’re using a protocol that is stimulating, you may falsely conclude that it doesn’t work even though you’re using the wrong protocol.
At the beginning of May, I decided to change over to EquiSync because it’s much cheaper and let me experience the deeper levels sooner. At best, my blood pressure has been down to 66 and after cups of tea and food, back up to 76-80 which is regarded as acceptable. I was able to achieve these wonderful results in less than 6 months of daily practice of meditation using audio-beat technology.
Hi Ulka, thanks for your compliment on my article. Unfortunately, I haven’t come across any studies or much discussion about the problem with habituation and isochronic tones and how to overcome it. The consensus among experienced users is to regularly change the frequencies and music soundtracks you listen to. Adding music to the tones does change the waveform you are stimulated with, so that’s one of the main reasons why I provide different soundtracks for my isochronic tones sessions. I have released some tracks which use amplitude modulations in the music, instead of isochronic tones. It might be worth giving them a try if you haven’t already. I have them in a playlist on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj5tHl2cuWw&list=PLveg0IEcZWN6OIRZyLkv0BJADY7Q6xFCl.
The mechanism for this is that when your eyes or ears are exposed to a particular frequency of pulses or beats, the thalamus first distributes this information to the entire brain, including the visual and cerebral cortex where neural activity begins to synchronize to the incoming frequency, producing hemispheric synchronization and a balance of brainwave activity across the brain.
With digital upgrades, Berger’s machine is still in use today, known as an electroencephalography machine, or EEG. Berger used his machine to study the brains of psychologically normal and abnormal people and discovered the first brainwave, called the alpha wave and also known as the Berger wave, along with the faster beta wave, which he observed suppressing the alpha wave when subjects opened their closed eyes.
No matter what you use: USE it. At least for a couple weeks. And have realistic expectations... Brainwave Entrainment is not some pill or quick solution (even if there are some sessions that usually give almost immediate results e.g. for sleep induction or pain relief), it is a tool that requires training and works best in combination with good breathing / meditation techniques.
A few months ago I decided to test the ability of the “Equisync II” brainwaves therapy combined with other more traditional self-improvement programs and the results have been even more amazing to me. Currently in my mind I honestly believe this type of therapy can be a breakthrough, or simply the genesis of a new type of therapeutic techniques to correct several psychological, and behavioral human issues including depression, lack of organization, and self-esteem among many, many other possibilities.
The brain produces electrical signals. These signals change depending on what we are doing and what mental state we are in. For instance when we sleep these signals are different from when we are awake. This brain activity can be measured with EEG. It will output in Hz (Hertz - cycles per second) these electrical signals. The most dominant brainwaves will tell us what sort of state a person is in. The slower vibration (lower Hz), the more relaxed that individual is. Using audio technology we get the brain to start following the beats or pulses in a sound if done exactly right.
By the 1980s, entrainment technology had merged with advancements in microelectronics technology, making it possible to develop even more sophisticated audio and visual brainwave entrainment products for the marketplace. In the last two decades, a number of scientific studies have reported brainwave entrainment as an effective remedy for ADD, academic learning problems, and improving memory and cognition.
Going back to the technology, the simple claim of brainwave entrainment is that, by listening to these audios, usually with stereo headphones and eyes closed, your brain will be naturally and effortlessly led into a specific brainwave state as designated by the maker of the audio (ie: it could be alpha, theta, delta, gamma, etc., depending on what the audio is designed to do.) The other most basic claim is that when listening to these audios, the right and left hemispheres of the brain synchronize and you experience whole-brain functioning.
In addition, Western culture reinforces thought and communication styles associated with the left brain hemisphere, which controls logic, language, and linear thinking in a majority of people, as opposed to the right hemisphere which controls brain centers for emotional, intuitive, creative, and non-linear thought processes. Note that a significant minority of people has the opposite hemispheric dominance than the majority of people.
Much of what is currently written about brainwave entrainment, especially on the internet, is simply … incorrect. It seems par for the course that when something of huge value is discovered as a potential ‘internet product’ that it is going to be marketed within an inch of it’s life. And often with less than stellar regard for actual science, research, or factual knowledge.
Because the mind and body are a single system, changing our brainwaves and spending more time in harmonious, relaxed, and restorative mind-states also affects our physical health. Physical health then reinforces our mental-state, and a feedback loop of either positive or negative processes becomes established. Research studies have shown beneficial effects of using brainwave entrainment for treating migraine headaches, premenstrual syndrome, and for managing physical pain.
Most programs start at a work/life busy brain Beta frequency of twenty light flashes per second (20Hz) and slowly ramp them down to Alpha (relaxation and meditation) at 8-12 HZ, Theta (deep relaxation and dreaming) at 4-8 Hz) and Delta (dreamless deep relaxation) of .5-4Hz. We have taken measurements at Mass General with state of the art EEG equipment and have seen a slowing of the brain waves from Beta to Theta in two minutes and complete brain wave harmonization in the left, right, anterior, posterior and occipital regions of the brain.
Normally, binaural beats, isochronic tones, or monaural tones have a certain level of capacity to entrain neural activity—and then they bottom out. By combining really great entrainment tools, I wanted to create a better entrainment stimulus that could entrain more neural activity quicker, allowing us to go deeper much more quickly than we have ever been able to go before, and moving our meditation practice or spiritual development to the next level.
Stress: In one randomized controlled trial with 108 participants, a single session of alpha and delta stimulation resulted in significantly less anxiety in surgical patients. Another session of theta stimulation resulted in improvement in certain measures of stress. Stimulation with certain frequencies of alpha and beta were reported to provide the most significant benefit for those who are stressed.
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.