Most of our Royalty Free brainwave entrainment music uses an audio technology known as "binaural beats". These binaural beats are embedded in the music in order to bring about desirable changes in brainwave activity, thereby encouraging various states of relaxation, deep meditation or sleep. When played with headphones, you may be able to hear the binaural beats as a subtle pulsing sound beneath the music.
Hi Julie! You’re very welcome for the info. In answer to your question, I think some are probably good, and some not so good. There are many people putting brainwave entrainment out there these days and it is not so easy to figure out which ones are and aren’t of reliable quality without investing time and doing some research. I would say (in general) that paid products are probably better quality than free ones, but I couldn’t guarantee this is a golden rule. My best advice is to just do your research before spending too much time listening to the freebies.
The use of brainwave entrainment techniques offers many benefits for overall health and well-being, including improved emotional stability, increased cognitive function, and a deepening of creative insight. Much of this benefit derives from the hemispheric synchronization occurring as a result of entrained brainwaves. This effect happens when the electrical impulses in both hemispheres synchronized to the same frequency being delivered through the entrainment source.
If the further development of consciousness and awareness is your ultimate goal, there really is no substitute for actual meditation, of which many techniques are the result of thousands of years of human endeavor and accumulated knowledge and experience. Sure, it's not as easy as putting on headphones and pushing a button, but achieving authentic inner peace and relief from the stresses of human existence will mean so much more to you when earned through the time-tested route of traditional meditation. (Plus, once you learn to actually meditate, you can do it anywhere anytime without having to rely on being plugged in to something!)
Isochronic tones work by influencing your brainwave activity and they can’t directly affect the body. That said, the brain does control the body, so sensations and feelings can sometimes be felt in the body after stimulating your brainwave activity. Some people who are new listeners of this type of audio can sometimes feel tingling sensations in their body. Not everyone feels this and these sensations usually stop once you get more used to using the audios. Isochronic tones are considered as a safe technology. However, sometimes they can leave you feeling temporarily fatigued, especially if you listen to them for an extended period (hours) when you first start using them. If you felt fatigued, I would recommend using them for a much shorter period while you are getting used to them and ensure you are well-hydrated.
There are primarily three ways to elicit the frequency following response through an audio: binaural beats, monaural beats, and isochronic tones. Binaural beats was the first method to be discovered, and has been used since the 80’s, after being first made known and popular by Robert Monroe of the Monroe Institute (the institute is still around today, though Mr. Monroe has passed away). Binaural beats basically work in this way: one specific frequency/beat is played in one ear, let’s say, 1115 hz., while one slightly different frequency is played in the other at the same time, let’s say, 1120 hz. What the brain will naturally do while exposed to these two frequencies in either ear is create its own “phantom” beat, that is the difference between the two frequencies. In this case, it would be 5 hz., which is the frequency of the theta brainwave state. Therefore, your brain would be led into the theta state. At the same time, your brain working to combine these frequencies also ends up synchronizing its two hemispheres, and functioning in a whole-brained fashion while the listener is using the audio.
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.
If brainwave entrainment leaves you with unwanted side-effects (see below) or discomfort, you’re probably encouraging a range of brainwaves that are already excessive in some area of your brain. The way around this is to get a brain map to see what your brain’s strengths and weaknesses are, and see what (if any) brainwaves could use some encouragement.