There are many advantages and disadvantages with binaural beats. One of the major advantages is hemispheric synchronization. Since both hemispheres are required to create the beat within the brain, this method is an excellent way to create greater harmony between areas of the mind typically functioning independently. Binaural beats are also known to have effective hypnotic and relaxing effects.
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.
Headaches: There are several reports of brainwave entrainment providing therapeutic benefit for those suffering from general headaches or migraines. A study in 1985 analyzed photic stimulation within the theta range (5 Hz to 8 Hz) and discovered that this protocol provided significant headache relief. A total of 19/24 participants noted that the “slow wave” photic stimulation provided “complete relief” from chronic headaches and migraines.
If you’ve used brainwave entrainment and experienced any benefits, feel free to share your experience in the comments section below. Be sure to discuss why you believe the entrainment was effective and/or whether you think it could’ve been a placebo effect. I’ve played around with the products and feel as if they are great for relaxation enhancement, inducing a temporary perceptual change (i.e. altered state of consciousness), and arousal reduction.
Some research suggests that the benefits from brainwave entrainment can last a lot longer, and still be seen for some time after you've stopped using it. Study participants have still maintained improved test scores a few weeks after the stimulation had ceased. Research on the long-term benefits has so far been minimal though, so how long the effects last is still up for debate.
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4. Be hesitant committing to any BWE system making wild claims. Profit fueled marketers with little to no experience in the BWE field have created a slew of low-quality entrainment systems on the market. These products typically make outrageous promises such as permanently enhancing the brain within minutes of use. Although BWE is a powerful method to improve the mind, it’s not a magic bullet.
***NOTE: (Last one) Please do research on which brainwaves do what before just trying out the first track you find! Also read descriptions of what frequencies are being used in the track, so you know what you are training your brain to! (Example: You struggle with OCD and have some anxiety. You see a track titled “Clear, Focused Thinking” and you try it out w/o reading the description. You either do not experience anything or you end up with worse anxiety/headache than before. If you knew before starting, that your problems were caused by too much Beta wave activity in your brain and the track was all low Beta ramping up to high Beta – you would not listen to it!)
The most common way to use a brainwave entrainment is for a short-term benefit, to help guide your brain into a particular mental state at the time you need it. In a similar way to how you might take a sleeping pill before bed to help you get to sleep, or maybe drink some coffee or an energy drink to help wake you up and give you a boost of energy.
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.