These are very similar to binaural beats, except that instead of the audio being fed through two different channels containing two different tones, monaural beats put both tones together on a single channel. The difference is that instead of your brain producing the effect of cancelling out the wave and producing the low frequency beat, it instead mixes in the air where it is perceived by the ears, with no brain processing involved.
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Binaural beats are created when two tones are played simultaneously, one in each ear. As long as the difference between the two frequencies is less than 30 hertz, the brain perceives the difference in the tones as a “beat” which, if listened to with enough focus, the brain will begin to follow (this is known as the “frequency following response”). By changing the difference between the two beats, the brain will change its wavelength and enter into different “states” of being.
In addition, Western culture reinforces thought and communication styles associated with the left brain hemisphere, which controls logic, language, and linear thinking in a majority of people, as opposed to the right hemisphere which controls brain centers for emotional, intuitive, creative, and non-linear thought processes. Note that a significant minority of people has the opposite hemispheric dominance than the majority of people.
It has been both a pleasure and an enlightening experience listening to the Equisync II CDs for the past month. As a 15 year stroke survivor, daily meditation has become a part of my life. Listening to these CDs reminds me of sitting alone in a forest during periods of rain, whether they be light, heavy, or in between. I am able to access my right hemisphere more readily and experience the feeling of nirvana that we all have within us. When I reach this point, my system reminds itself of all the compassion and connectedness we each have.
The gentle pulsating rhythms of Brain Sync audio programs act in a similar fashion, yet because the frequencies are precise and consistent they can be targeted to induce highly specific and desired brain states. Just as you can tune a radio to get a particular station, with Brain Sync technology you can re-tune your consciousness – effectively dialing your mind into a wide variety of brain states.
Binaural beats were first discovered in 1839. The effects of using audio instead of light for brainwave entrainment were noted in 1959. Oster’s research paper in 1973 brought attention to the use of binaural beats in a medical setting and this inspired a range of studies in the 1980s indicating very positive findings. The effects of brainwave entrainment using binaural beats has become of a hot topic of research ever since but despite their reported successes, they have never quite shook off the sometimes negative connotations of being an “alternative medicine”.
Most of these websites give some brief explanation of entrainment. The example you hear most often is that of Dutch polymath Christiaan Huygens, who in 1665, hung two pendulum clocks next to each other on a wall. He noticed that the pendulums eventually matched each others' frequency, but always in antiphase, opposite to each other, as if canceling each other out. He'd try disturbing one or setting them in sync, but they'd always return to the same antiphase synchronization. Huygen's experience is widely touted on binaural beat websites as a demonstration of how systems can become spiritually connected through some energy field. However, they misunderstand what happened, and have not read the full story. Huygens also tried taking one clock off the wall, and as soon as they were no longer physically connected to one another via the actual wall, the effect disappeared. It was not the proximity of the clocks to one another that created the entrainment; it was their physical, mechanical connection to one another. As each pendulum swung it imparted an infinitesimal equal and opposite reaction to the wall itself. With two clocks on the wall, the system naturally sought the lowest energy level, according to the laws of thermodynamics; and both pendulums would thus swing exactly counter to each other, minimizing the system's total energy.