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.
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.
Different states of mind are associated with specific brainwave frequencies that would be inaudible if played directly. These frequencies can be induced in the brain indirectly by playing two different audible tones into each ear, which after being processed by the brain, are perceived as an inaudible beat matching the target brainwave frequency. As you listen, your own brainwaves fall into step with this inaudible beat, and after a few minutes synchronize with the target brainwave frequency. Brain Wave's 35 programs layer these binaural sequences into multi-stage sessions that have helped thousands of people focus and concentrate, feel positive and motivated, and sleep more soundly.
Deeper Meditation • Near The Stage Of Sleep • Vivid, Dreamlike Imagery • Creative Visualization • Feel More Open & Connected • Advanced Problem Solving • Super Creativity • Insight • Intuition • Inspiration • Deeper Subconscious To Super-Conscious Mind • Trance-like • GABA • Immune System • Serotonin • Endorphins • Acetylcholine • Lower Cortisol • Deeply Relaxed • Sleep Better • Emotional Intelligence
The Frequency following response (FFR), also referred to as Frequency Following Potential (FFP), is a specific response to hearing sound and music, by which neural oscillations adjust their frequency to match the rhythm of auditory stimuli. The use of sound with intent to influence cortical brainwave frequency is called auditory driving, by which frequency of neural oscillation is 'driven' to entrain with that of the rhythm of a sound source.
Biofeedback enhancement: In 1981, researcher Arturo Manns discovered that 15 minutes of stimulation with isochronic tones enhanced biofeedback protocols for bruxism (grinding of teeth). They did this by increasing muscle relaxation superior than standalone biofeedback. Brainwave entrainment is different from biofeedback in that it does not allow the person to consciously control their brainwave state.
One can also learn to control and slow down their brain waves through various neurofeedback technologies such as electroencephalograph (EEG), galvanic skin response (GSR), and heart, pulse and breath rate monitors. These devices measure stress and relaxation parameters and then "play" back the signals to the user so they can use the signals as a beacon to guide and "steer" themselves into a relaxed state. This takes some time, work and discipline but is much quicker than learning meditation.
This is good to understand because this is another area where people can make huge promises that may or may not be true. Even in this realm, there is a level of practicality that can be followed. Even meditating at the rate of a super-human monk is not going to “magically solve all your problems”. This technology cannot pick negative beliefs out of your head and implant positive ones just by influencing your brainwaves. It cannot just make you a different person.
ADHD: In 1997, various researchers conducted a study testing whether children with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) would benefit from audio-visual entrainment in a school setting. The researchers entrained a small sample of 34 students from 2 different schools. They were given audio-visual entrainment for a period of 1 month and 3 weeks at various times throughout the school day.
A crossover RCT of a single session of theta stimulation in four healthy adults reported no significant improvement in verbal fluency or attention associated with the intervention and a reduction in immediate recall. Controlled comparisons reported significant benefit from the intervention in all three outcomes measured. Six pre/post studies reported significant benefit from the intervention for 19 of 28 cognitive outcomes.
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With brainwave entrainment audio, the brain will "catch on" and follow (entrain to) the desired brainwave frequency. BrainAscend uses the binaural and isochronic type of entrainment together with amplitude modulation. Isochronic tones have been proven to be the most effective brainwave entrainment technology and does not require headphones. Binaural beats are powerful when it comes to increasing synchronization of the brain hemispheres. You don't have to use headphones, though it is suggested. This is automatic meditation. Press play, close your eyes and BrainAscend does the rest!
The phenomena of brainwave entrainment was first described in the scientific literature in 1973 by Gerald Oster in results published in an article in Scientific American entitled, “Auditory Beats in the Brain”. He showed that a specific brainwave could be induced when a person heard two separate, but closely related, sound frequencies, one in each ear. He discovered that when the frequencies heard by each ear differed by about 10 hertz, the brainwave pattern of the person hearing the sound would synchronize to the difference between the two frequencies. For example, if the person heard a 410 hertz sound in one ear and a 400 hertz sound in the other ear, their brainwaves would stabilize at the difference between the two, or 10 hertz. This technique is called binaural beats, and it is a fundamental principle of brainwave entrainment methods.
Kelly Howell brings 30 year's experience to her expertise. She has been cited by the Mayo Clinic as "renown for her pioneering work in healing and mind expansion (and) visionary recording techniques." She has collaborated with neuroscientists and biofeedback therapists to invent a sophisticated sound recording technique that makes Brain Sync programs more effective. The result is the most elegant and effective brainwave synchronization audio programs available in the world today. You'll feel the effects from the very first time you listen. With regular use, you'll establish new healthy patterns that last. Brain Sync programs use window frequencies – extremely precise frequencies that fit through narrow biological windows to impact the body at the cellular level. The choice of frequencies selected for each program is based on biofeedback research. Programs are designed to help you self-generate optimized brain states exhibited by remarkable men and women.
There's no doubt that brainwave entrainment audio is a great technology for anyone who is interested in encouraging altered states of consciousness and it certainly can help people to reach deeper states of relaxation than they might normally have access to. I myself will often listen to brainwave entrainment music in order to enhance my practice of meditation. But let’s keep a balanced perspective, put all the marketing hype to one side for a moment and acknowledge that there is no brainwave entrainment technology in this world that can make you meditate like a Zen monk “at the touch of a button”, despite what some might like you to believe. The mind is NOT a machine. It moves through various states of consciousness in an organic way and at a natural pace. We certainly can guide and accelerate that process with the use of brainwave entrainment audio, but we cannot control it with the same sort of specificity and immediacy as you might control the speed of the car you drive.
Brainwave entrainment is a colloquialism for such 'neural entrainment', which is a term used to denote the way in which the aggregate frequency of oscillations produced by the synchronous electrical activity in ensembles of cortical neurons can adjust to synchronize with the periodic vibration of an external stimuli, such as a sustained acoustic frequency perceived as pitch, a regularly repeating pattern of intermittent sounds, perceived as rhythm, or of a regularly rhythmically intermittent flashing light.