Our brain has nerve cells that trigger electrical signals all the time, forming distinct arrangements which are called brainwave patterns. These eminently unique patterns are closely connected to our thoughts, moods, emotions, concentration, biological chemistry, almost everything we do, and everything that we are.
Our body contains an autonomic entrainment system that synchronizes our brainwaves with strong, external rhythms, pulses or beats. We naturally entrain to the rhythms around us, however we may not be aware of it most of the time. It is quite helpful to comprehend the various frequencies and how they resonate our brainwaves and contribute to our state of consciousness in various ways.
We can alter our brainwave pattern. Stimulating the brainwaves can change a person’s mental state and this can help in a great many ways. This is where brainwaves entrainment comes into play. Brainwaves entrainment refers to the response from the brain from sensory stimuli which includes light and/or sound. For example, when the brain is exposed to a stimulus such as a sound of a typical frequency through the ears it will trigger an electrical response in the brain. This response in the brain is called Cortical Evoked Response. Any stimuli that is picked up by the senses results in a Cortical Evoked Response and is translated into an electrical response in the brain. Similarly a flickering light is known to alter the state of consciousness and cause mysterious visual hallucinations.
By using flashing lights and pulsing tones, we can gently and safely resonate the brainwaves into various brainwave states. This is commonly known as audio-visual entrainment or brainwave entrainment. Light and Sound Machines help guide the brain to adapt different brain states.
These brainwave patterns are majorly grouped into four different categories as regards to their respective frequencies:
Beta (13 to 30 Hz, pronounced hertz, meaning cycles per second), Alpha (8 to 12 Hz), Theta (4 to 7 Hz) and Delta (1 to 3 Hz).
Each of these brainwave patterns is associated with various mental states; Learning, relaxation, meditation, peak performance, stress reduction and deeper sleep.
When we say that a person is “in beta state”, what we’re saying is that that’s the dominant set of frequencies, the ones with the highest amplitudes.
Who uses brainwave entrainment?
Brainwave entrainment is used by people who want to make a brisk change in their behavior or mental state, and create lasting changes in their lives. It is, for instance, used by educators to help increase learning, memory enhancement and concentration. It is also becoming more common to find that health professionals such as medical practitioners, psychologists, and hypnotherapists are integrating binaural tones and other brainwave entrainment processes to heal their patients.
What are Mind Machines?
The phrase “mind machines” refers to a whole range of technologies that work directly or indirectly on your mind. In broad categories, this includes HemiSynch tapes, light and sound machines, TENS and CES electrical stimulation hardware, pair of opaque goggles with built-in flashing lights, and normally a pair of headphones with synchronized beeping sounds, biocircuits, lucid dreaming machinery and consciousness alteration software, to name a few. Once you get hooked into audio brainwave entrainment, the first hardware investment is essentially an audio visual device (AVE) or the so-called “mind machine”.
These equipment cause entrainment to our brainwaves. By this we mean that if you listen to the sound, music or see the flashing lights, your brain will fall into a pattern that is dictated by these stimuli. That is, if the flashing lights and beeping sounds start at something close to your current “dominant frequency” and then slowly change the “beat frequency”, it aligns or “entrains” your brain to the desired frequency. So for example, if you entrain to alpha frequencies, you experience some or most of the same benefits as experienced meditators, but in a pretty short time.
How does brainwave entrainment feel like?
The most effective brainwave entrainment is the use of audio recordings with headphones or earphones. When you listen to brainwave entrainment audios you will often hear soundscapes such as rainfall, forest streams, singing bowls or sometime includes ambient music. Remember these sounds you hear do not create the brainwave entrainment. The entrainment is achieved by inaudible frequency tones or pulses mixed with the sounds. The tranquilizing sounds that you hear mask the actual carrier
tones or pulses. These carrier tones and pulses are called binaural beats and isochronic tones. They are two vibrating or oscillating mechanisms. When they interact and synchronize then this synchronization is what creates the whole brain functioning and thereby an inner environment for you to produce and experience the peak brain performance.
Binaural Beats or Tones are sounds that influence the brain. Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, a German experimenter, discovered this fact in 1839 and it has been used widely since the 20th Century to help people manage pain, relax, reduce anxiety, meditate and be mentally and physically healthy for more than 150 years.
When you listen to binaural beats or tones, you are actually listening to two slightly different pitched frequencies. Each frequency goes through each of your ears independently. As a response your brain creates a third tone, making up the difference between the two frequencies. This shift in frequency then shifts your brainwave frequency and changes your state. For instance, if a 350Hz tone is played on one ear, and a 362Hz played in the other, your brainwaves will start resonating at the difference between the tones (12Hz, which is below normal hearing range).
These binaural tones have been thoroughly and carefully tested and researched over the years. The brain entrainment technologies of today are scientifically proven to be effective, having a powerful impact on people’s mental, physical and emotional health.
With the help of this robust brain entrainment technology, it is now possible to bring about significant and profound changes in a controlled manner in far lesser time than what used to be spent by monks in achieving that mental and emotional state.
Monaural brainwave entrainment is a single pulsing beat. It can be heard as a pulse in the music, created by the convergence of two tones emanating from a single speaker. Monaural beats are proved to be more effective than binaural beats, nevertheless they can more easily interfere with the accompanied music they are embedded in. Monaural beats are used without headphones.
Isochronic tones are a powerful advancement in the context of brainwave entrainment. They are computer generated, rhythmically pulsed beats or tones that safely, gently but effectively entrain your brain to the most optimal brainwave frequencies. You can choose the range of frequencies you want to experience. For example, if you want to boost your concentration level, you would choose an isochronic tone on the alpha wave range (7-13 Hz). On the other hand, someone who wants to reach deep meditation would set them down into the theta wave range (4-7 Hz).
These tones need to be audible, so you will hear them along with the music (though the music is not required) in the brain waves to the desired state more quickly.
While in Beta state brain oscillates at a frequency of 30 to 13 Hz (cycles per second). The usual signs of this state are watchfulness, analytic problem solving, tension, stress, hectic activity and imbalance. Creativity and learning abilities are unfortunately on a low during this state. Everyone knows this state, which occurs, for example, when working with one’s hands, driving a car, playing football, going shopping, discussing, etc. People spend most of their time in Beta State.
Beta brainwaves dominate our conscious mind most of the time. Research shows that too much time in the beta state cripples the immune system of the body.
The frequency ranges from 12 to 8 Hz. In contrast to the Beta state, the Alpha state is a placid and calm state of mind. It is characterized by light watchfulness, easy concentration, heightened learning and memorizing ability, as well as a feeling of body and mind in unison. This relaxed, calm and balanced yet energized and wakeful state is experienced during light meditation. The Alpha state produces self-calming neurotransmitters.
Prominent characteristics of Alpha state are; The first layer of subconscious mind, gateway to deeper mental states, calm and peaceful, relaxation, confidence, meditation begins, great for learning and studying, creative ideas flow, phobias melt away.
While being in alpha state we learn, process, memorize and recollect plenty of information fast and with peak effectiveness. Alpha waves are best for quick learning.
This is a meditative state, the brain oscillates at 7 to 4 Hz. It is characterized by deep relaxation, strong imagination and high creativity. We experience it during sleep and deep meditation. During this state, one has access to undiscovered potential. Associations and interconnections are recognized in an integrated manner.
Salient characteristics of Theta state are; deeper meditation, near the stage of sleep, creative visualization, advanced problem solving, super creativity, deeper subconscious to super-conscious mind, deeply relaxed, emotional intelligence.
Theta brainwaves become dominant when we go deeper into meditation and relaxation. Here, brain activity decelerates to the verge of the sleep stage. In the theta state we feel much more open and connected to other people. This state increases problem-solving skills. Having dominant theta brainwaves are correlated with insight and intuition, associated with lucid dreaming. Sometimes long-forgotten memories come to the surface.
Delta State is a state of deepest relaxation. The frequency ranges from 3 to 1 Hz. We experience it only rarely because it is the state of deep sleep, trance, or deep hypnosis. Out of Body Experiences usually happen during the Delta State. All these states can be measured by EEG. Or rather, EEG measuring has made scientific research of these states possible in the first place.
Delta waves are considered to be the entrance to non-physical states of reality. This is the state of deepest meditation, dreamless sleep, super-healing, best for immune system, health restoration and rejuvenation. Delta waves are linked to the unconscious part of our mind.
A lucid dream is one in which you are aware that you are dreaming, and therefore have full control over what happens to you in the dream, even though you are still asleep. People who experience lucid dreaming say that it puts your sleeping hours to work to enhance your creativity and that it helps you get a feeling of control over your real life to have your sleeping life under control.
The Benefits of Light/Sound Technology
The following are some of the major benefits explored by users of these machines.
- Relaxation and Meditation: Achieve states of calmness in a shorter period of time than is possible with many traditional methods.
- Memory improvement, accelerated learning, stabilizing emotions, increased intellectual focus.
- Lucid dreaming, increased physical energy and unlock the doors to creative breakthroughs.
- Visualization and development of new goals: These may include psychological goals such as increasing motivation levels, getting rid of negative thoughts and physical goals such as increased focus and other performance necessary for physical achievements.
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