“The great neuroscientist W. Gray Walter carried out a series of experiments in the late forties and fifties in which he used an electronic stroboscopic device in combination with EEG equipment to send rhythmic light flashes into the eyes of the subjects at frequencies ranging from ten to twenty five flashes per second. He was startled to find that the flickering seemed to alter the brain-wave activity of the whole cortex instead of just the areas associated with vision. Wrote Walter, “The rhythmic series of flashes appear to be breaking down some of the physiologic barriers between different regions of the brain. This means the stimulus of flicker received by the visual projection area of the cortex was breaking bounds— its ripples were overflowing into other areas.”
It is important to take an objective look at published scientific evidence to determine whether brainwave entrainment is an effective treatment for certain conditions and/or symptoms. Most preliminary evidence suggests that while the technology will not cure any condition, it may be a successful adjunct treatment when used carefully with the proper protocol.
The same goes for brainwave entrainment. You can’t just listen to an audio as many times as you want and expect that more is always better. In a very real way, you are “exercising” your brain. You are pushing it to build new neural pathways, to communicate with itself in new ways, and to adapt to a new kind of mental stimulation. This is incredibly good for you, but there is a limit that you must observe.
So, what is binaural beats or binaural tones? They are auditory (hearing) processing artifacts, or apparent sounds, caused by specific physical stimuli. This effect was discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove and earned greater public awareness in the late 20th century based on claims coming from the alternative medicine community that binaural beats could help induce relaxation, meditation, creativity and other desirable mental states. The effect on the brainwaves depends on the difference in frequencies of each tone: for example, if 300 Hz was played in one ear and 310 in the other, then the binaural beat would have a frequency of 10 Hz.
So what happens when the mind is entrained with a sound or vibration that reflects the thought patterns? When the mind responds to certain frequencies and behaves as a resonator, [there] is a harmonic frequency that the mind can attune to … slower tempos have been proven to decrease heart and respiratory rates, thereby altering the predominant brain-wave patterns.
While a practical understanding of brainwaves has been around for as long as people have been singing, chanting, and drumming, a scientific view of the electrical activity inside the human brain was not published until 1924 when German psychiatrist Hans Berger developed a machine for sensing and recording activity in the brain by attaching small electrical sensors to the scalp of his patients and recording the resulting electrical activity. Berger’s inventions and discoveries were built upon the earlier work of Richard Caton who published animal studies on brainwave oscillations in 1875.
Some people are more sensitive to the audios than others – if you are one of them, be sure to take a break from what you are listening to and come back to it later. Always follow your body’s signals, and don’t hesitate to ask questions. You can always drop me a line for some honest advice on anything related to brainwave entrainment, meditation, holistic health, etc. You can also rest assured that all brainwave entrainment products listed here are of the highest quality – most of them I have used for years. I also highly recommend reading What Is The Best Brainwave Entrainment Product, too. Don’t feel shy to bother the creators of the products themselves, and their support teams – you are in your full right to do so!
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.
There is a certain point where the promised benefits of brainwave entrainment become more esoteric, and based on internal, subjective experience of oneself. A few examples would be that listening to brainwave entrainment on a regular basis helps to increase one’s self-awareness, or that it increases mental “sharpness”, or helps to heal emotional trauma and increase your tolerance of stress and negative emotion.
Maya Mendoza is a published author of 3 personal development books. She has run an NLP / EFT Practice for 29 years helping clients transform problems into personal power. Maya is also a accomplished copywriter and well known Digital Marketing & Social Social Media Strategist - Specializing in Google+ for business. She was named "best marketing consultant" in Glasgow, UK in 2013.
Altered states of consciousness: In as early as 1987 it was discovered that photic stimulation at specific frequencies produced an altered state of consciousness. An extremely small study with just 4 individuals involved photic stimulation at 6 Hz, 10 Hz, and 18 Hz. The results were reported to have altered their conscious awareness. This really isn’t that surprising to anyone that’s used brainwave entrainment therapy.
Regarding split hemisphere isochronic tones. Think of this as two separate isochronic tones tracks playing independently of each other, one playing in one ear and the other one in the opposite ear. Better still, imagine someone playing and recording a drum beat at a rate of 5 taps per second (5Hz – 5 cycles per second). Then a separate recording of a drum beat is made at a rate of 10 taps per second (10 Hz). You then make an audio track where the left ear/channel hears the 5 drum beats recording and the right ear/channel hears the 10 beat recording. With headphones on, each ear can only hear each respective drum beat and not the other. So you are hearing two different beat recordings at the same time, but it’s different in each ear. A split hemisphere isochronic tones track works just the same. You hear two beats at the same time, not two tones as with binaural beats that create a single beat, but two different speeds of beats in each ear. This is what enables you to stimulate and influence each side of the brain with a different frequency of beat. Binaural beats can only stimulate and influence a whole brain effect using a single beat.
I’ve been on the brainwave vibe for about 6 months now, & I’m really diggin’ some results! I find that there are certain frequencies, I guess, that feel right and comfortable to my mind; I also find that I can physically feel the area of my brain that “pure” (no frikkn ocean waves) tones are affecting as I listen to them. This occurs the moment I hear the sound. Kinda like energy, a brain tickle. Spooky & awesome!!
Quick example: Brainwave readings (with an EEG machine) have shown that brainwaves of 2Hz occur when an individual is asleep. Scientists can create special audio recordings, which contain an encoded 2Hz frequency. While listening to such audio, the brain naturally follows (entrains) toward that 2Hz frequency, lowering its brainwave patterns. That's "brainwave entrainment." The net result is that when listening to such an audio recording, you (the listener) will naturally fall asleep.
Jump up ^ Bittman, B. B., Snyder, C., Bruhn, K. T., Liebfreid, F., Stevens, C. K., Westengard, J., and Umbach, P. O., Recreational music-making: An integrative group intervention for reducing burnout and improving mood states in first year associate degree nursing students: Insights and economic impact" International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, Vol. 1, Article 12, 2004.