Brainwave entrainment is a method to stimulate the brain into entering a specific state by using a pulsing sound, light or electromagnetic field. The pulses elicit the brain’s frequency. Brainwave entrainment, also referred to as brainwave synchronization and neural entrainment, refers to the capacity of the brain to naturally synchronize its brainwave frequencies.
How does it work?
Sound helps us to facilitate shifts in our brainwaves state by using entrainment. Entrainment synchronizes our fluctuating brainwaves by providing a stable frequency which the brainwave can attune to. By using rhythm and frequency, we can entrain our brainwaves and it becomes possible to down- shift our normal beta state (normal waking consciousness) to alpha (relaxed consciousness), and even reach theta (meditative state) and delta (sleep; where internal healing can occur). This same concept is utilized in meditation by regulating the breath, but with sound it’s the frequency that is the agent which influences the shift.
What are brainwaves?
Brain is made up of billions of brain cells called neurons, which use electricity to communicate with each other. The combination of millions of neurons sending signals at once produces a significant amount of electrical activity in the brain, which can be detected using sensitive medical equipment such as an electroencephalogram (EEG).
This electrical activity of the brain is commonly known as a Brainwave pattern, because of its cyclic, ‘wave-like’ nature.
You can train your brain to change your brainwaves by learning meditation and relaxation techniques. However, it can take weeks, and for some people even years to experience the proven and powerful benefits of brainwave entrainment through meditation alone.
There is also a shortcut to getting the best from your brainwaves by using an audio tone known as binaural beats.
Binaural beats effectively entrain and synchronize your brainwaves to enhance any specific brainwave pattern. This allows you to rapidly enter states of relaxation, focus, high-energy, or meditation whenever you want.
What are the benefits of modifying our brainwaves?
In general, we are accustomed to being in the beta brain rhythm. We are in a Beta brainwave pattern when we are consciously alert. It is the default and dominant brainwave for most of us most of the time. We are in Beta when we feel agitated, tense, hurried, pressured, afraid and stressed. The frequencies range from 13 to 60 pulses per second in the Hertz scale.
When we alter our brain rhythm to alpha, we are slowing our brainwaves down. The benefit of this is that we put ourselves in the ideal brain state for optimal performance and super learning.
We become better at analyzing complex situations, learning new information, memorizing data, and performing elaborate tasks,
Some forms of meditation, relaxation exercises, and activities that enable a sense of calm, also naturally create this alpha state.
According to neuroscientists, the effect of decreasing the brain rhythm from beta to alpha via deep relaxation techniques and the use of binaural beats brain entrainment, changes the levels of certain beneficial brain chemicals.
Studies show that alpha states significantly increase beta-endorphin, nor epinephrine and dopamine. These naturally occurring chemicals are linked to feelings of expanded mental clarity and generate an internal environment for new learning and accessing previously learned information. This positive effect lasts for hours and even days.
Entraining your brainwaves can be a highly effective method for personal growth. Different brainwave states will produce different results for you.
The Five Categories of Brainwaves
Beta brain waves
(14 to 30 Hz alert, focused)
Beta is the most common brain wave pattern: Beta brain waves are produced when we are wide awake, alert, and active and engaged in mental activity, usually involving more the rational, reality-oriented left hemisphere of our brain. When beta wave activity becomes very intense, our brain hemispheres become less synchronized. Beta state is required to function properly in your everyday life.
Features and Benefits of a Beta State
- This is the brainwave for the fight-flight response
- Increased concentration and alertness
- Improved logic, reasoning and critical thinking
- Feelings of anxiety, stress, scatty unfocused thought
NOTE: Excessive Beta brainwaves are also a feature of insomnia
(8 to 14 Hz relaxed yet aware)
These are lower frequency waves: The state is generated when our thoughts are really not concentrated and our minds wander freely, or we are in a relaxed state such as meditating or daydreaming. We also experience Alpha Brainwaves when we are gently busy with routine tasks like pottering in the garden, taking a shower, putting on makeup, doing light housework. Alpha is considered to be the bridge between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind.
Features and Benefits of an Alpha State
- Our brain hemispheres become naturally synchronized or in-phase with each other.
- Relaxed detached (absent-minded) awareness and daydreaming mind.
- Enables us to remember our dreams and meditative states.
- Link between conscious and subconscious mind, gateway to meditation.
- Receptive to casual and auto – suggestions (hypnosis state)
- Increased vividness benefits creative visualization and triggers imagination
- Increased memory retention, concentration & focus for super learning
Health benefits include:
- Reduced anxiety
- Alleviates stress and depression
- Reduces chronic pain
- Reduction of high blood pressure
- Increases athletic performance
- Increased cerebral blood flow
- Increased motivation, energy, and happiness
(4 to 7.9 Hz deep relaxation,mediatative, twilight state)
Theta brainwave states have been used in meditation for centuries: It is common for people to feel as if they are in a trance, where the mind feels as though it may have gone to sleep although it is conscious of what is happening around it. Theta induces a capacity for prolonged daydreaming, where a loss of time may be experienced.
Theta waves are also conducive to visualisation and creativity and the mind in this very relaxed state is highly receptive to direct suggestion under hypnosis. As with Alpha, in Theta our brain hemispheres are synchronised and we experience whole brain functioning.
Features and benefits of Theta brainwaves
- Increased sense of inner peace and emotional stability
- Deep relaxation
- Improved memory
- Heightened intuition and inspiration
- Calms the chatter of your mind
- Increased psychic abilities and sense of spiritual connection
Health benefits of Theta brainwaves
- Speed healing, improved physical healing
- Sleep onset and better more restful sleep
- Release beneficial hormones related to health and longevity
- Reduce mental fatigue
- Reduction of anxiety and stress
NOTE: Research has proven thirty minutes a day of Theta meditation can dramatically improve a person’s overall health and well-being. Theta meditation has also been known to result in a reduced need for sleep.
(0.1 to 3.5 Hz deep sleep)
This is the slowest band of waves that our brains produce and they occur when we are in deep, dreamless sleep. These waves are very beneficial for the body which restores and heals itself when in this state. The delta state releases anti-aging hormones, including melatonin and DHEA. Human growth hormone (HGH) is another anti-aging hormone that is increased when delta brainwaves are occurring inside the brain, due to the stimulation of the pituitary gland. HGH maintains the skin, bone density, cartilage, and the joints in your body as well as speeds up the healing process of joint and cartilage injuries. HGH can also help heal physical pain.
In healthy amounts, delta brainwaves can also cause a person to have an advanced state of empathy, understanding, and compassion for others.
Delta is the place of deepest relaxation, deepest healing, deepest spiritual connection and deepest connection with the subconscious mind. It is considered to be the gateway to the unconscious mind and the collective unconscious, bringing access to the universal psyche or mind.
(40Hz or higher: Zen mind mastery)
Gamma brainwave states are the most rapid in frequency. Gamma has long been considered the brainwave that is able to link and process information from all parts of the brain. It is the frequency that brings with it the ability to process large amounts of information in relatively small amounts of time. Think of generating more Gamma activity as getting a processor upgrade for your brain.
Unfortunately, Gamma brainwaves have received the least attention and research, although more attention is currently being paid to them.
Having high amounts of Gamma Brainwave activity has been associated with:
- Having high levels of intelligence
- Being compassionate
- Having high amounts of self-control
- Having greater than average feelings of natural happiness.
- Increased awareness through your five senses