There are many advantages and disadvantages with binaural beats. One of the major advantages is hemispheric synchronization. Since both hemispheres are required to create the beat within the brain, this method is an excellent way to create greater harmony between areas of the mind typically functioning independently. Binaural beats are also known to have effective hypnotic and relaxing effects.
So if you are interested in using brainwave entrainment music in your own recording, do so with the knowledge that it can only help to improve the quality of your work. But please don’t feel as though your recordings will be insufficient without it (some people do worry about this - unnecessarily). My advice is that if you ever find yourself in a situation where the music you love the most is not available with brainwave entrainment frequencies, don’t ignore your intuition and discard that music in favour of music that is. When you find that piece of music that brings your recording to life, go with it whether it has brainwave entrainment frequencies or not. The quality and feel of the music itself are the most important factors.
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)
When the body-mind effects from experiencing AVE are fully appreciated, the experience becomes as regular and beneficial as many other life essentials such as quality sleep, good nutrition, pure water and exercise. Sleep is another area where AVE has been shown to be beneficial, contributing to the natural regenerative process of the body and brain.
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.
“Binaural beats are not very noticeable because the modulation depth (the difference between loud and quiet) is 3 db, a two-to-one ratio. (Isochronic tones and mono beats easily have 50 db difference between loud and quiet, which is a 100,00-to-1 ratio). This means that binaural beats are unlikely to produce an significant entrainment because they don’t activate the thalamus.”
Theta waves also have been observed in moments when a person recalls information from the past, and this may be what links them also to improvement in learning ability. We also experience theta waves when we go into automatic pilot mode, such as when doing a repetitive task like driving a familiar route where the mind become disconnected while you still drive safely toward your destination.
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.
In the past few issues of the Advocate Voice Newsletter and the Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain LIFE magazine, we have offered ideas about several forms of cognitive behavior and mindfulness information. In the chronic pain community these techniques combined with other therapies, including medications and alternative modalities, can help people sleep, function, relieve stress from pain and improve their quality of life. This month’s app, Brain Wave, 30 Binaural Programs, is another tool to help introduce the idea of using your mind to help control pain and relieve stress.
Going back to the technology, the simple claim of brainwave entrainment is that, by listening to these audios, usually with stereo headphones and eyes closed, your brain will be naturally and effortlessly led into a specific brainwave state as designated by the maker of the audio (ie: it could be alpha, theta, delta, gamma, etc., depending on what the audio is designed to do.) The other most basic claim is that when listening to these audios, the right and left hemispheres of the brain synchronize and you experience whole-brain functioning.
Jump up ^ Trost W. and Vuilleumier P., Rhythmic entrainment as a mechanism for emotion induction by music: a neurophysiological perspective. In The Emotional Power of Music: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Musical Arousal, Expression, and Social Control, Cochrane T., Fantini B., and Scherer K. R., (Eds.), Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press; 2013, pp213–225.