Listening to binaural beats is not something to be feared, however. In most situations, listening is safe and very enjoyable. Choosing a track from various websites online, as well as some videos on YouTube.com, can assist you in relaxing and can bring about a more restful sleep. Choosing a Beta entrainment can help with alertness and focus, while listening to an Alpha wave track can help you to relax and learn new information. Theta tracks can help to change some negative emotions, or to help you drift off to a sounder sleep. Delta waves will help to accelerate healing. To use them, you must use headphones or earphones, because each ear will hear a different frequency. You should make the commitment and listen daily; consistency is key in order to achieve maximum benefits. However, please don't listen to binaural beats twenty four hours a day; once daily for a short period of time is perfectly fine. You should also make yourself comfortable; either lying down or sitting in a comfortable chair will help you to relax. You can do them right before sleep, or right upon awakening. Listening during meditation or visualization exercises will help to improve and deepen your practice. If you feel a little blue or you need a break from the daily routine, you can pop a CD in and unplug completely. When you return to whatever you were doing, you will find that you are more refreshed and ready to take on whatever is before you.
In 1956, the famous neuroscientist W. Gray Walter published the results of studying thousands of test subjects using photic stimulation, showing their change in mental and emotional states. He also learned that photic stimulation not only altered brainwaves, but that these changes were occurring in areas of the brain outside of vision. In Walter’s words:
Participants in the included studies were children and adults, either healthy or with conditions such as learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, migraine, stress, anxiety and myofascial pain. Interventions included single, alternating, ascending or descending frequencies of photic or auditory stimulation or audiovisual entrainment selected either by the participant or by the investigator. Nearly half the studies used single sessions and the rest used multiple sessions ranging from nine to 100. Length of session varied from 0.5 seconds to 60 minutes. Frequency of session varied from twice daily to weekly. Outcomes reported in the review included cognition (including verbal skills, performance skills, attention, memory and overall intelligence/achievement), short- and long-term stress, pain, headache/migraine, mood, behavioural problems and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Effects on cortisol: The hormone cortisol is commonly associated with stress, and when levels are higher than usual, it can have a negative impact on the body. High levels of cortisol can lead to a range of conditions, including Cushing syndrome, menstrual cycle and female libido changes, anxiety, and depression. Dr. Giampapa noted a reduction of cortisol of up to 70-80 percent in several study participants.