Like many complementary therapies, the issue most people have about meditation is in its execution. Thanks to the rapid rise of technology in our lives, we seem to be busier than ever. Our minds are occupied during most of the time we are awake, and we only really shut off when we finally go to sleep at night, which means that finding the opportunity to meditate daily can be difficult.
Binaural beats work by playing a different tone in each ear, and in the process the brain creates a “phantom tone” which is the difference between the two tones (for example if you play a 300 hz tone in one ear and a 310 hz in the other ear the brain will produce a 10 Hz phantom tone.) If this phantom tone is 10 hz the brain will gradually be led to a dominant brainwave frequency of 10 hz (this has been measured by EEG devices). If the tone is 7 hz the brain will gradually be led to a 7 hz dominant frequency, and so on.
When blended with musical sounds, brainwave entrainment frequencies induce specific states of mind, which are the result of those brainwaves, delivering them in pleasing and relaxing audio tracts for use with and without stereo headphones. For example, alpha and theta waves, because they exist at the borders between conscious and unconscious thought, are especially rich and useful for tapping into and stimulating subconscious processes.
Slow Wave Sleep or SWS, is the deepest of sleep states and it plays a vital role in health and well being. During this phase of the sleep cycle, the brain begins producing very slow, large Delta waves. Even if your lifestyle doesn’t allow for the luxury of a full eight hours of sleep, a few hours of Slow Wave Sleep will trick your brain into thinking it’s had all the restorative sleep it needs.
Newberg found that certain areas of the brain were altered during deep meditation. Predictably, these included areas in the front of the brain that are involved in concentration. But Newberg also found decreased activity in the parietal lobe, one of the parts of the brain that helps orient a person in three-dimensional space. "When people have spiritual experiences they feel they become one with the universe and lose their sense of self," he said. "We think that may be because of what is happening in that area if you block that area you lose that boundary between the self and the rest of the world. In doing so you ultimately wind up in a universal state."
But we don't need any studies to tell us that different people can listen to different kinds of music and be affected. A lot of people who work out have a workout playlist on their iPod that keeps them energized. Some people listen to certain music to help them fall asleep. The Muzak company has built an industry on relaxing music that will keep people in the mood to shop. Music does affect our mood, and so we already have every reason to expect binaural beat recordings to produce the same effect. Different people may find certain binaural beats to be relaxing or energizing. But, we've never found any reliable indication that a binaural beat's connection to our brain is any deeper or more meaningful than any other music track. We do know for a reasonable certainty that specific claims made by most sellers of binaural beats are not credible, and that there is no reason to think that the effect they're claimed to produce will work for you.
What creates that transcendental feeling of being one with the universe? It could be the decreased activity in the brain's parietal lobe, which helps regulate the sense of self and physical orientation, research suggests. How does religion prompt divine feelings of love and compassion? Possibly because of changes in the frontal lobe, caused by heightened concentration during meditation. Why do many people have a profound sense that religion has changed their lives? Perhaps because spiritual practices activate the temporal lobe, which weights experiences with personal significance.
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.
Given that brainwaves control and connect such a vast range of human experience from thought to feelings to actions, it is easy to see how the deliberate control of brainwaves can affect mood, behaviors, motivation, and even physical health. Brainwave entrainment is a safe, simple, and scientifically proven method for quickly guiding the brain into a beneficial brainwave frequency to facilitate healthy sleep, lower stress, heal emotional problems, and improve physical health.
In Philadelphia, a researcher discovers areas of the brain that are activated during meditation. At two other universities in San Diego and North Carolina, doctors study how epilepsy and certain hallucinogenic drugs can produce religious epiphanies. And in Canada, a neuroscientist fits people with magnetized helmets that produce "spiritual" experiences for the secular. The work is part of a broad new effort by scientists around the world to better understand religious experiences, measure them, and even reproduce them. Using powerful brain imaging technology, researchers are exploring what mystics call nirvana, and what Christians describe as a state of grace. Scientists are asking whether spirituality can be explained in terms of neural networks, neurotransmitters and brain chemistry.
For many years this principle of entrainment has been used as a part of neurofeedback to help patients change their brain wave patterns in the hope of ameliorating the symptoms of dysregulated brain processes that are hypothesized to contribute to various disorders such as ADHD, anxiety, and depression. There is some evidence that neurofeedback combined with photic stimulation (e.g. Hammond, 2000) can help depression and that auditory and visual stimulation can help cognitive abilities in children with learning disabilities (e.g. Olmstead, 2005).
People who meditate grow bigger brains than those who don't. Researchers at Harvard, Yale, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found the first evidence that meditation can alter the physical structure of our brains. Brain scans they conducted reveal that experienced meditators boasted increased thickness in parts of the brain that deal with attention and processing sensory input.
The aim of this study is to identify tendencies in the effectiveness of relaxing audio stimuli that could be verified through further focused experiments. A series of brainwave entrainment (BWE) techniques for inducing relaxation will be presented consisting of different binaural phenomena (BP). The BP will derive from the binaural sine wave beat, widely acknowledged in rhythmic BWE... [Show full abstract]
At the end of just two weeks of use (I was now into the Equisync II cds), I experienced for the first time ever, what my partner described as Nirvana. I experienced a complete dissolution of individual consciousness, felt at one with everything, and felt the deepest peace, love, and complete bliss I had ever, ever experienced in my life. Since you do all the research on this, you know what I’m describing. Unfortunately, language does not express it. I have never experienced mind altering drugs, but I recall watching a documentary of LSD research, and one of the subjects described the exact same “feelings” as I had when she had received a micro amount of LSD.
Controversies concerning the brain, mind, and consciousness have existed since the early Greek philosophers argued about the nature of the mind-body relationship, and none of these disputes has been resolved. Modern neurologists have located the mind in the brain and have said that consciousness is the result of electrochemical neurological activity. There are, however, growing observations to the contrary. There is no neuro-physiological research which conclusively shows that the higher levels of mind (intuition, insight, creativity, imagination, understanding, thought, reasoning, intent, decision, knowing, will, spirit, or soul) are located in brain tissue (Hunt, 1995). A resolution to the controversies surrounding the higher mind and consciousness and the mind-body problem in general may need to involve an epistemological shift to include extra-rational ways of knowing (de Quincey, 1994) and cannot be comprehended by neuro-chemical brain studies alone. We are in the midst of a revolution focusing on the study of consciousness (Owens, 1995). Penfield, an eminent contemporary neurophysiologist, found that the human mind continued to work in spite of the brain's reduced activity under anesthesia. Brain waves were nearly absent while the mind was just as active as in the waking state. The only difference was in the content of the conscious experience. Following Penfield's work, other researchers have reported awareness in comatose patients (Hunt, 1995) and there is a growing body of evidence which suggests that reduced cortical arousal while maintaining conscious awareness is possible (Fischer, 1971;West 1980; Delmonte, 1984; Goleman 1988; Jevning, Wallace, & Beidenbach, 1992; Wallace, 1986; Mavromatis, 1991). These states are variously referred to as meditative, trance, altered, hypnogogic, hypnotic, and twilight-learning states (Budzynski, 1986). Broadly defined, the various forms of altered states rest on the maintenance of conscious awareness in a physiologically reduced state of arousal marked by parasympathetic dominance (Mavromatis, 1991). Recent physiological studies of highly hypnotizable subjects and adept meditators indicate that maintaining awareness with reduced cortical arousal is indeed possible in selected individuals as a natural ability or as an acquired skill (Sabourin, Cutcomb, Crawford, & Pribram, 1993). More and more scientists are expressing doubts about the neurologists' brain-mind model because it fails to answer so many questions about our ordinary experiences, as well as evading our mystical and spiritual ones. The scientific evidence supporting the phenomenon of remote viewing alone is sufficient to show that mind-consciousness is not a local phenomenon (McMoneagle, 1993).
♥ I've beeen training in self-hypnosis for a while (under supervision and for a reason) and found that the 8-4 Hz beats put me very quickly in a deeply relaxed state. Definitely the thing! With the timer, I can shut them for the real self-hypnosis. I haven't tried the other beat generators yet, but this one works much better than I expected and clearly does the job. In a few words: I'm impressed!
…I got curious about the Equisync II CDs and it was the 2nd track that started giving me some body signs that revealed me I was in the alpha state. I never practiced meditation before, however, I follow the Gurdjieff and Ouspensky teachings which, if you are not aware, tell us how to do quite the same thing as meditation in our everyday lives while performing our daily tasks. I also believe that Equisync II was more appropriate for me because my life is also dedicated to collective causes, my personal life is totally under control, but your CDs were able to relieve my severe depression after only 3 days of practicing, my chronic insomnia condition which had been lasting for over 27 years seemed to be finally healed. I am truly amazed, really.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is another highly utilized methodology for studying state changes in meditating brains. fMRI detects subtle increases in blood flow to areas of the brain with higher metabolic activity. Thus these areas of increased metabolic activity indicate which regions of the brain are currently being used to process whatever stimuli presented. Counter to EEG, the advantage of fMRI is its spatial resolution, with the ability to produce detailed spatial maps of brain activity. It suffers, however, in temporal resolution and cannot measure progressive activity, like the EEG, with much detail.
In 1984 medical researcher Dr. Gene W. Brockopp published a paper making several conclusions of audio and visual entrainment (AVE). Such conclusions were that hemispheric synchronization caused by AVE is related to increased intellectual functioning, practiced use of AVE overtime leads to a cumulative effect, and AVE may result in the recovery of early childhood experiences.
Since most of us spend our days in the beta state, EquiSync excludes the beta brainwave frequencies, and entrains only those responsible for the most beneficial brainwave states: alpha, theta, and delta waves. The two charts on this page illustrate the basic benefits of each brainwave state as well as the basic targeting of the EquiSync programs 1, 2, & 3.
"When these people talk of religious experience, they are talking of a meditative experience," said John Haught, a professor of theology at Georgetown University. "But religion is more than that. It involves commitments and suffering and struggle it's not all meditative bliss. It also involves moments when you feel abandoned by God." "Religion is visiting widows and orphans," he said. "It is symbolism and myth and story and much richer things. They have isolated one small aspect of religious experience and they are identifying that with the whole of religion."
Binaural beats can easily be heard at the low frequencies (< 30 Hz) that are characteristic of the EEG spectrum (Oster, 1973). This perceptual phenomenon of binaural beating and the objective measurement of the frequency-following response (Hink, Kodera, Yamada, Kaga, & Suzuki, 1980) suggest conditions which facilitate entrainment of brain waves and altered states of consciousness. There have been numerous anecdotal reports and a growing number of research efforts reporting changes in consciousness associated with binaural-beats. "The subjective effect of listening to binaural beats may be relaxing or stimulating, depending on the frequency of the binaural-beat stimulation" (Owens & Atwater, 1995). Binaural beats in the delta (1 to 4 Hz) and theta (4 to 8 Hz) ranges have been associated with reports of relaxed, meditative, and creative states (Hiew, 1995), and used as an aid to falling asleep. Binaural beats in the alpha frequencies (8 to 12 Hz) have increased alpha brain waves (Foster, 1990) and binaural beats in the beta frequencies (typically 16 to 24 Hz) have been associated with reports of increased concentration or alertness (Monroe, 1985) and improved memory (Kennerly, 1994).
Chant in a monotone, enunciating clearly and moving the mouth in a very pronounced way. (exaggerate the lip movements) Pump the navel point with each part of the mantra. (Pull the navel point toward the spine.) Once I have perfected the above I like to add a slight root lock with the pumping of the navel center, which further stimulates the fire in my spine.
a concise P.S. I was in a horrible car accident when I was 18 and had to learn to read and write and walk and talk all over again. It was long ago and I’m pretty well over it, but such an injury has lifetime repercussions. The neurological damage sustained causes my left arm to shake uncontrollably anytime I use it in a situation requiring precise coordination. From simply listening to the demo, the shake [though not disappearing completely in the last 2 months] has lessened dramatically. I had been wondering for years what kind of neurological exercises I could undergo to help it…
So, in summary, binaural beats certainly do not work the way the sellers claim, but there's no reason to think they're any less effective than any other music track you might listen to that effects you in a way you like. If they make you sleepy (like they all do for me), use them to go to sleep. If they relax you or get you amped, use them for that. But don't expect them to be any more effective than regular music. If someone you know claims that they are, put them to the test, and bust the myth.