To further illustrate how brainwave entrainment enhances your meditation practice, here is an explanation. When an experienced and advanced meditator is hooked into equipment that reads their brainwave patterns, it is most common for their brain to move from whatever state they are in before they meditate (normally a Beta or higher Alpha state) slowly down into a deep Theta rhythm. Very advanced meditators are able to bring their brain all the way into a Delta state, which is most normally where deep sleep occurs. To be able to bring the brain into these deep brainwave states through the process of meditation can take years of meditative practice, and lots of discipline.
Brainwave Entrainment audio technology was first developed and introduced to the public decades ago by Robert Monroe, through the Monroe Institute. This organization used their brainwave entrainment audios as a tool to induce people into specifically directed out of body experiences as well as train remote viewers. Since then the crafting of brainwave entrainment audios has become a sophisticated art. These audios are now created and used by a number of businesses and individuals for a variety of purposes, most of which having to do with personal development and self-help.
My personal experience of this was that it could get very harrowing; at times, I would literally be gritting my teeth and contracting my ribs while I was in meditation, because it was pushing me so hard. I began to ask, “Is it necessary to push this hard in such a static way and create overwhelm over such prolonged periods in order to propel spiritual evolution?”
Delta brainwaves, resonating at 1Hz-4Hz, usually only occur in the deeper levels of sleep. It is even uncommon to access Delta brainwaves through meditation, unless one is very advanced, or is using brainwave entrainment. Even while using brainwave entrainment technology, it will take some mental training and practice to be able to maintain conscious awareness and not fall asleep.
When the brain is stimulated with pulsed sounds (neuroelectrical 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.
Theta brainwaves are next highest in frequency above delta and are especially important for many people using brainwave entrainment and meditation because theta waves are at a threshold, forming a link between wakefulness and the subconscious mind. Theta waves bridge between our awake self and the creative and insightful understandings from below our conscious awareness, and while they are not common in awake adults, they are normative for children under 13 years old.
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.
Generally, the established brain entrainment technology has been to use various static levels, lowering the carrier frequency of the binaural signals over time. By doing this, you basically increase the resonant power of the carrier frequency to resonate more deeply with the resonant frequency of the brain and the nervous system. This process pushes the nervous system over time. The limitation I find with this system is that it takes a static approach, in the sense that it gives the nervous system the same degree of stimulation day in and day out. The idea here is that if you keep whamming your nervous system with the same stimulation on a daily basis, it will eventually kick in and learn. Then your nervous system and your brain will jump to the next level.
Insomnia and PTSD for most of my life are real bears that I wrestle with every night. A brain neural-therapist (for lack of a better description) said that this kind of sound recording may help. It is not music. When I remember to play the disc, I fall asleep within the first 5-8 minutes. One day I played the disc while cleaning and I was very surprised to hear how much of the recording I never recall hearing before. That's why I know how long it takes to fall asleep.
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.
I would like to start off by saying that many bold statements are made about this technology from people who have a self-interest in promoting or rejecting it. We have to face the truth by accepting that people are profiting from brainwave entrainment, and as a result of this other groups of people are being affected in a negative way (from a business point of view). This is a reason why you can find all kinds of claims from someone who has never used or tested the technology. Unfortunately I have found in my own personal journey of using brainwave entrainment that there are some great people out there making some great products, and there are also some irresponsible and untrustworthy people out there trying to grab a slice of the pie.
Not only do certain brain wave rhythms get strengthened as a result of entrainment, but a dominant frequency band results in a different state of awareness. Those that have used a quality brainwave entrainment product can vouch for the fact that their perception is altered by their brain waves. Not only could this be due to brainwave changes, but it may be a result of increased interhemispheric communication.
Slower still are theta waves. Theta is best known as the brain wave state of dreaming sleep, but it is also associated with a number of other beneficial states, including increased creativity, some kinds of superlearning, increased memory abilities, visionary experiences, and what are called integrative experiences (where we make broadly-based positive changes in the way we see ourselves, others, or certain life situations).
Specific tones that resonate at certain frequencies are created and embedded within the acoustic architecture of the original waveform. Your brainwaves latch onto these embedded carrier frequencies and attune themselves to the same vibratory rate. Brainwave entrainment now occurs that is similar to binaural beats yet there is no need for headphones to deliver these entrainment effects.
Now next point to make here is that many of the other promised benefits of brainwave entrainment stem from this basic foundation. For example, it has been said that listening to brainwave entrainment resets the brain’s sodium/potassium ratio, greatly decreasing mental fatigue, and improving the transporting of positive neurochemicals between brain cells. This promise rests on the fact that it has been shown that this occurs while one is in the theta state. Therefore, the answer would be that yes, because these audios do lead one’s brain into the theta state, then it follows that they would promote the resetting of the brain’s sodium potassium ratio.
The fastest way to make brainwave entrainment technology work for you on your path of spiritual development is to pull back ever so slightly once you realize you have reached the peak of your nervous system’s capacity to recover from the stimulus. Because your nervous system is like a sine wave, when it is about to go into its valley, you pull back just a little bit, thereby giving your nervous system, energetic system, and hormonal system enough room to pull out all of their recovery powers. This allows you to recover from stimulus more quickly, and then you get past the waning stage and back to the waxing stage, where you can start pouring on the juice a little bit more again.
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.
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Deep relaxation is a major benefit resulting from the brain’s cortical frequency following response. By selecting the desired rate the brain, via the frequency following response, will tend to mimic the rate it is exposed to and thus enter that brainwave state. This helps to explain why this technology can produce benefits commonly found with meditation. One of the most valuable benefits of consistent brainwave entrainment is that we are able to experience and recognize the various states of consciousness. With practice we can learn how to re-create these states.
Also, don’t you think that the inherent hemispheric synchronization using binaural beats might be a positive benefit within itself? While it’s true that the huge majority of us use both sides of our brains most of the time, it’s also true that many of us are a bit polarized to one side or the other in general, or when doing a particular kind of activity or focus. I’ve found stimulating a more equally and consistently whole brain activity has it’s own benefits other than the entrainment aspect.
Rudy's primary work is on Alzheimer's. In this disease, beta amyloid proteins form plaques in the brain and kill nerve cells eventually leading to dementia. Research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that when people's brains are in a Delta brain wave state, beta amyloid production in the brain ceases and the toxic material is cleared away. One thought is to explore the possibility of using brain entrainment technology to help treat Alzheimer's, but at this point all it is being used for is to help people meditate, relax and dream instantly and effortlessly.
Dissociative but not present. In college I started having difficulty with reading comprehension/absorption (not dyslexia, I could read everything out loud easily but not gather the meaning). Over the past two years or so, my memory has been concerning, as I am not middle or late aged. Since it had been getting worse, I have been researching for several years now for a cure. Biofeedback led me to neurofeedback (which I can’t afford at the moment).
Research: the authors stated that qualitative electroencephalogram signatures needed to be developed for different disorders and tested using standard validated methods of psychological assessment. Larger RCTs were needed with clear inclusion criteria for participants. The RCTs should measure qualitative EEG, hormone levels and the time of day of the intervention. Interventions protocols should be clearly defined and the relationship between session frequency/ duration and outcomes should be explored. More studies of auditory stimulation were needed, as well as studies comparing different types of stimulation, monaural, binaural and isochronic beats and use of white noise versus music.