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.

Research shows that parts of the brain and eventually large areas of the brain begin to resonate sympathetically with this "phantom" binaural beat. This is known as the Frequency Following Response. Subsequent research determined that a binaural beat frequencies drive brain activity into specific brain states. Thus, effortlessly and naturally, your brain activity slides into rhythm with this binaural beat, becoming organized and coherent. Within minutes, the sound frequencies start to balance the left and right hemispheres of your brain – creating a remarkable state called hemispheric synchronization and driving the electrical activity of your brain into powerful states, normally unattainable. Flashes of creative insight, euphoria and a deep sense of calm is often accompanied by this extraordinary brain state.


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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.
Cvetkovic D, Simpson D, Cosic I (2006). “Influence of sinusoidally modulated visual stimuli at extremely low frequency range on the human EEG activity“. Conference proceedings : … Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 1: 1311 – 4. doi:10.1109

"I'm not writing with a question, but to THANK YOU for these CDs. I originally bought The Meditation Program with the intention of returning it, believing it to be nothing more than just 'another piece of hype.' Wow, I was wrong. This was the turning point in my life. You gave me strength, and stability, and literally changed everything around. I feel GREAT, and it's thanks to YOU. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for The Meditation Program CDs. I am a true dedicated customer of yours!"

Business executive and radio producer Robert Monroe started experimenting with brainwave entrainment and has a series of powerful out of body experiences using it. In 1971 he published his cult classic “Journeys Out of the Body” sharing his experiences. He later created one of the first audio entrainment companies called Hemi Sync, alongside the Monroe Institute of Applied Sciences.
Brain Sync audio programs deliver pure and precisely tuned sound frequencies to the brain to drive brain activity into high level states of mind. These are brain states known as Alpha for heightened creativity and deep relaxation; Beta for high focus and concentration; Theta for meditation, insight and memory; Delta for deep sleep and healing; and Gamma to increase cognition and improve IQ.
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.

Like I’ve said, anyone can throw together a low-quality audio, and fool someone who is not that familiar with brainwave entrainment. At the same time, anyone who genuinely cares enough to study, learn, experiment, and practice, practice, practice can make a good quality audio as well (without a degree in neuroscience, or some kind of “certification”) However, this takes time, and that’s why everyone doesn’t quit their day job to spend their lives creating brainwave entrainment technology (except me and a handful of other brainwave entrainment geeks out there)
To summarize all this, we can see that the type of product you choose plays an important role in answering that question – “Can brainwave entrainment damage my brain?” My personal advice as a long-term user of the technology is to Be selective about what brainwave entrainment audios you download from the internet, and make sure to follow the instructions! 
If you've heard of or used other brainwaves entrainment such as Holosync®, Hemi-Sync®, Brainsync®, Brainwave Generator, Awakened Mind System, NeuroProgrammer™, LifeFlow™, The Morry Method™, Brain Evolution System™, Perfect Meditation, EquiSync® or iNet™, it is important to understand that NeuralSync™ is significantly different and superior to all of them. It is light years beyond traditional sound therapy like binaural beats, isochronic tones or typical meditation programs.
Hi Et, In all the feedback and studies I’ve read and looked into over the years, I’ve seen lots of feedback from people talking about how they don’t like the sound of the tones, or they find them irritating in some way. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any particular reason why one person likes it and the next doesn’t. It’s a bit like normal music, one person’s sweet symphony is another person pneumatic drill. It’s common for people to find it weird and maybe annoying at first, which is how I felt in the beginning. But usually after a few listens you can start to get used to it and appreciate the sound, and especially the feeling it gives you. Personally, I think it can help if you try to embrace the sound, psychologically speaking beforehand. It can also help to have the sound playing at a very low volume, to begin with, then building it up as you get more used to it.
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.
I was not looking forward to returning back to my house as I live on my own so was very pleased to see that the “equisync” CDs had arrived in my absence. Ever since I have been back I put a CD on each evening and the change has been totally fantastic. The meditation is unbelievably calming and soothing, the inner-voice has been silenced and quite often I just put it on to drop off to sleep with the sound of gently falling rain. I can feel each day starting calmly and things like organising the memorial service have not been the strain and upset I would normally have expected. I could wax lyrical for hours because the benefits are truly and utterly fantastic. Never did I think I would find anything that would lift my spirits, clear my mind, calm the inner space but Equi-Sync has done that, and more.
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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.

Because EquiSync®'s audio-based brainwave entrainment technology guides your brainwaves into various states of meditation, it helps to understand how alpha, theta, and delta waves contribute to your state of consciousness. The two charts on this page illustrate the basic benefits of each brainwave state as well as the targeting of the EquiSync programs 1, 2, & 3.
A very pleasurable experience during listening (and often for some time afterwards). As Holosync® changes your brain wave patterns to those of deep meditation, the brain produces several very pleasurable neurochemicals, including endorphins (the same endorphins responsible for “runner’s high”)…as well as several hormones with a profound and positive effect on longevity, aging, stress, and well-being.

The reason I am telling you this is to consider that it is critical for you to seek advice from sources that have wide-spreading experience with brainwave entrainment. Having personally used the technology for over 13 years, in combination with many other more ‘traditional’ methods such as yoga, meditation, visualizations, positive affirmations, NLP, etc., I believe that my personal experiences and the in-depth research I have conducted in order to make sure I approach this safely, can serve as a good starting point for you.
In 1956, the famous neuroscientist W. Gray Walter published the results of studying thousands of test subjects using photic stimulation, showing their change in mental and emotional states. He also learned that photic stimulation not only altered brainwaves, but that these changes were occurring in areas of the brain outside of vision. In Walter’s words:
Mood: While brainwave entrainment may not be a great option for depression, particularly in the slower frequency ranges, beta entrainment may improve certain measures of mood. Additionally it is important to consider the fact that many people experience detrimental changes in mood as a result of heightened stress and anxiety. Since brainwave entrainment has been shown to improve stress and relaxation, overstressed individuals may experience a simultaneous mood improvement.
Use Holosync® to accelerate the process (our data tells us that Holosync® creates the benefits of traditional meditation about 8x faster, but without spending several hours each day). Holosync® is faster, and it is easier. And, because you begin, the first time you listen, meditating like a 30+ year veteran, you see results quickly. Finally, Holosync® feels so good, and in fact causes you to feel good for the entire day when you use it, that the problem of getting yourself to meditate each day disappears.
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.
One RCT (n=108) showed significant reduction in anxiety from a single session of alpha/delta therapy for day surgery patients. A crossover RCT of a single session of theta stimulation in four healthy adults reported significant improvement from the intervention in one of five measures. Five pre/post studies reported significant benefit from the intervention for 16 of 27 outcomes.