Good article. Richard, there are numerous studies dictating the research behind entrainment. Please see http://brainwavebooster.com/brainwave-entrainment-research/ for a list of many peer reviewed studies. The author here is totally correct in his labeling of brainwave entrainment as a therapy tool. Hope this helps. There are other studies out there as well, one only needs to Google it.
Participants in the included studies were children and adults, either healthy or with conditions such as learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, migraine, stress, anxiety and myofascial pain. Interventions included single, alternating, ascending or descending frequencies of photic or auditory stimulation or audiovisual entrainment selected either by the participant or by the investigator. Nearly half the studies used single sessions and the rest used multiple sessions ranging from nine to 100. Length of session varied from 0.5 seconds to 60 minutes. Frequency of session varied from twice daily to weekly. Outcomes reported in the review included cognition (including verbal skills, performance skills, attention, memory and overall intelligence/achievement), short- and long-term stress, pain, headache/migraine, mood, behavioural problems and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Binaural beats are created from two different continuous tones, which when sent separately to each ear create a single beat inside your head. Isochronic tones are basically a single tone which is switched on and off at regular intervals. Imagine a single continuous tone playing on a stereo system and you’ve got your hand on the volume switch. Then once per second, you turn the volume off for half a second and keep doing that every second. For half a second the volume is off, for the other half a beat waveform is formed. The beat is cycling once per second per second, i.e. at a rate of 1Hz.
I have spending time in a floatation tank for the last 9months and just recently added the audio of crystal bowls into the tank. HOLY FLOAT! If you have experienced the bowls live then you know the physical experience that they produce; aside from the meditative side. Well, this effect is accentuated 10fold while in the tank. I have also started to float with binural entrainment audio and have seen a few effects.
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In BrainAscend, each brainwave frequency is stimulated for several minutes before progressing deeper. Much like a staircase type of progression, but with small and smooth steps. This is the most effetive way and also stimulates the release of "feel good" brain chemicals such as serotonin which makes you feel happy. This chart shows the range that each level covers as well as the whole program.
In fact, you can use an audio, as a beginner, that takes your brain to the same places that have been recorded in the brains of 30-year monastic Buddhist monks. When you start doing this, you begin to play around with “benefits” and “effects” that lie solely in the realm of consciousness itself. These benefits are also profound, yet not measurable or provable except through your own subjective experience.
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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.
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From a brainwave entrainment effectiveness perspective, it’s my understanding that the response from isochronic tones stimulation starts to diminish over 30Hz and that 40Hz is about the limit for using them. So from what I’ve read on the topic a 100Hz beat wouldn’t work, probably because it’s too fast for the brain to process and synchronise with it.
-Frequency of the Tone Itself that Makes the Beat (Carrier Frequency): The first frequency was the rate of the beat pulsing on and off. This frequency is the sound frequency of the actual tone that comprises the beat. This frequency also has an effect on the way the technology affects your brain and consciousness. For example, too low of a carrier frequency for a binaural beat can be too much for a beginner’s brain to handle at first, and too high of a carrier frequency can be not enough for an experienced meditator’s brain to make big changes.
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When delta waves are present, our awareness of the external world decreases and shuts off. People with ADD have problems with delta waves occurring when they are trying to focus, and focus and attention become increasingly impossible with stronger delta waves. Studies show a reduction of anxiety, improvements in insomnia, and elimination of headaches when people engage in sessions of delta brainwave entrainment.
A study published in Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology by Paul Williams and Michael West in 1975 examined the brainwave states of people experienced in meditation while using photic stimulation, and another study by Leonard, Telch, and Harrington in 1999 examined the successful use of brainwave entrainment techniques for attaining meditative states in subjects.
I also believe that the dangers of brainwave entrainment should be further explored as well. There are relatively vague benefits, but it remains unclear as to whether entraining certain frequencies may be detrimental to performance or induce harm. Despite the fact that brainwave entrainment has existed for a long term, it remains an understudied niche in neuroscience.
Isochronic tones and Monaural beats are now being considered by many to be more effective and more useful in brainwave entrainment technology. Monaural beats, unlike binaural beats, only use one beat. It is said that these are easier on the brain, and help to induce a specific brainwave state faster and more effectively, as the brain does not need to go through the process of reconciling two different frequencies.
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The activity of neurons generate electric currents; and the synchronous action of neural ensembles in the cerebral cortex, comprising large numbers of neurons, produce macroscopic oscillations. These phenomena can be monitored and graphically documented by an electroencephalogram (EEG). The electroencephalographic representations of those oscillations are typically denoted by the term 'brainwaves' in common parlance.