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.
In fact, there is more to answering this question than meets the eye. As someone who’s also been skeptical enough to do the research, I am more than happy to explore the issue in great depth. The important thing to address here is what have you been told that Brainwave Entrainment would do?  Depending on whose site you’ve landed on you may have been promised different things.  The promised benefits of this type of product are a long list, and more things are still being added to it.  You may have been told that brainwave entrainment would help you meditate deeper, and rocket launch your spiritual evolution from doing so.  You may have been told that it would help your brain release positive neuro chemicals and anti-aging hormones that would improve your health and help you feel more positive emotions, overcoming anxiety, and you also may have been told that listening to brainwave entrainment on a regular basis would help your brain evolve, building a higher threshold to mental and emotional input, growing neural pathways, and synchronising the two hemispheres of the brain.
True on your point about diminishing returns. It is like dieting. The bulk of the weight comes off at the beginning and then you lose a pound or so if you are diligent. Yes you lose the high of the original gains but you don’t receive more gains because you are in a better place. I am a big believer in data. When the gains begin to be less obvious a daily entry of how your emotional state was (1-10) and naming something you are grateful for goes a long ways. I guarantee a person will overall be in a better place on average. As always, thanks for your contributions Daniel.

Until NeuralSync™, brainwave entrainment involved inferior linear, single or sequential protocols - such as binaural beats or isochronic tones - that were natively restricted in their ability to affect the natural complex dynamics of the brain. But now, NeuralSync™ significantly improves entrainment by incorporating EIGHT SEPARATE BUT SYNERGISTICALLY-INTERACTIVE DIMENSIONS into a dynamic and cohesive process powerful enough to compel the brain to produce whole-brain synchronization for intense effect. Incredibly superior to binaural beats or isochronic tones, NeuralSync offers an entrainment experience beyond anything you've used before.
Brainwaves, or neural oscillations, share the fundamental constituents with acoustic and optical waves, including frequency, amplitude and periodicity. Consequently, Huygens' discovery precipitated inquiry[citation needed] into whether or not the synchronous electrical activity of cortical neural ensembles might not only alter in response to external acoustic or optical stimuli but also entrain or synchronize their frequency to that of a specific stimulus.[16][17][18][19]
You may already have a good feel for where each of the different brainwave states takes you, and know intuitively what will work for you the best on a day-to-day basis with your meditation practice. If you are a little fuzzy about the differences between the brainwave states, however, and would like to have a really clear, visceral sense of what each state does for you and how they resonate with you physically, mentally, and emotionally, one way you can find out is to listen to Harmonic … [Read more...]
Hi Pajaro. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly why and they probably didn’t want to make assumptions without conclusive evidence. Do you suffer from ADD? Or do you struggle to focus? The reason I ask is because of this: “Peak performers’ decrease Delta waves when high focus and peak performance is required. However, most individuals diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, naturally increase rather than decrease Delta activity when trying to focus. The inappropriate Delta response often severely restricts the ability to focus and maintain attention. It is as if the brain is locked into a perpetual drowsy state”. This extract… Read more »

No side effects have been reported from brain entrainment use.  Most producers of the technology warn against the use of brain entrainment by children under age 18, people with seizure disorders, and pregnant women.  Studies have not been conducted on these populations to date.  Additionally, (and this goes without saying) it is suggested that you do not drive while listening to brain entrainment due to the relaxing effect.
When the brain is stimulated with pulsed sounds (neuro-electrical 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.
Your brain operates at certain levels of activity – the normal waking, active Beta, the meditative Alpha, the asleep-and-dreaming or deep meditative Theta, and the deep sleep/unconscious Delta. Beta is characterized by one thing we all want to get away from – stress.But that brainwave state has its place. It’s the action mode, and that’s the way it should be! If we’re not alert when we’re awake, bad things can happen, right?
They are a useful and effective tool that allow you a structured means in which to entrain your brain into a desired, new brainwave state using an intended set frequency range of the audio track. Frequency ranges for desired sleep, recovery and deep meditation states to different/higher frequency ranges for performance “flow-states” and high-level focus and calculation.

Let's check in with another expert, chemistry professor Thomas Taylor from the Texas A&M. Taylor hooked a load of students up to an EEG machine (like you see in the movies with the sticky plastic pads with wires stuck all over people's heads) in an attempt to analyse 'synthesis thinking' - which is basically a nerd's way of saying "find out how people come up with new and creative ways to solve a problem".

The objectives and inclusion criteria of the review were clear. Relevant sources were searched for studies, although the restriction to published studies in English meant that the review was prone to publication and language biases. The authors did not state whether steps were taken to minimise the risk of bias and error in the processes of study selection and data extraction (for example, by having more than one reviewer independently make decisions). The authors mentioned which studies were blinded, but it did not appear that study validity was systematically assessed, which made it difficult to judge the reliability of the review findings. The decision to combine studies by narrative synthesis appeared appropriate given the strong clinical heterogeneity between the studies, but the authors failed to quantify the size or statistical significance of the findings reported. The evidence presented appeared to justify the authors’ conclusions that further research was justified, but in view of the dearth of good-quality evidence and problems with methodology and reporting in the review, the conclusions regarding efficacy did not appear reliable.

There are many sources of binaural beats on the internet and YouTube to check-out and experiment with yourself – I recommend using headphones for optimal effectiveness. However, like most things, not all binaural beats are created equally (especially if they are free on the internet) and therefore not as effective or enjoyable to listen to. This is why I HIGHLY recommend the binaural beats created by master audio technician, music producer and meditation teacher, Cory Allen – which can be found here:
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.

***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!)
Until NeuralSync™, brainwave entrainment involved inferior linear, single or sequential protocols - such as binaural beats or isochronic tones - that were natively restricted in their ability to affect the natural complex dynamics of the brain. But now, NeuralSync™ significantly improves entrainment by incorporating EIGHT SEPARATE BUT SYNERGISTICALLY-INTERACTIVE DIMENSIONS into a dynamic and cohesive process powerful enough to compel the brain to produce whole-brain synchronization for intense effect. Incredibly superior to binaural beats or isochronic tones, NeuralSync offers an entrainment experience beyond anything you've used before.
Use traditional meditation to create the changes in the brain that lead to the benefits I’ve described here. Of course that means going through a long learning curve while you master the art of meditation, motivating yourself to sit each day to meditate. And, to get the benefits I’ve described, you’ll need to meditate several hours each day), and continue in that way for 30+ years.
The main gist of brainwave entrainment audios, without getting too technical here, is that they effortlessly guide one’s brain (when listened to with stereo headphones) into a specifically targeted state, as designated by the creator of the audio. They are able to alter your brainwave states through the use of specific audio frequencies, and specific beats-the most common of which being binaural beats (though there are other types of beats being used as well).  When one frequency is played into one ear- let’s say 1115 Hz- and a slightly different frequency is played into the other-say 1125 Hz- the brain is forced to reconcile the two, and creates its own “phantom” frequency that is the difference between the two- in this case 10 Hz.  Not only does this allow the brain to be led into specific brainwave states, but it also allows the two hemispheres of the brain to synchronize with each other, stimulating and promoting whole-brain functioning.

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.
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