3. Alpha State: (9 — 13Hz) Brain waves start to slow down out of thinking mind. We feel more calm, peaceful and grounded. We often find ourselves in an “alpha state” after a yoga class, a walk in the woods, a pleasurable sexual encounter or during any activity that helps relax the body and mind. We are lucid, reflective, have a slightly diffused awareness. The hemispheres of the brain are more balanced (neural integration).
Theta waves have another interesting characteristic. The Earth has a measurable resonance of 7.83 hertz known as the Schumann resonance. Because the Schumann resonance is a constant background frequency surrounding all life, it may play a special role in biological activity. The Schumann resonance frequency falls within the range of theta brainwaves and may have something to do with why these brainwave frequencies are so powerful. 
Brain trait changes have also been observed in neuroimaging studies, most often employing fMRI. In a meta-analysis of 21 neuroimaging studies, eight brain regions were found to be consistently altered, including areas key to meta-awareness (frontopolar cortex/Brodmann area 10), exteroceptive and interoceptive body awareness (sensory cortex and insular cortex), memory consolidation and reconsolidation (hippocampus), self and emotion regulation (anterior cingulate cortex and orbitofrontal cortex), and intra- and interhemispheric communication (superior longitudinal fasciculus; corpus callosum)[13] These changes were distinguished by density increases in grey matter regions and white matter pathways in the brains of individuals who meditate in comparison to individuals who do not. Of all areas with reported findings, a greater number of structural changes were found in the left hemisphere.
That is generally where the science ends and the pseudoscience begins. A number of companies and individuals have then extrapolated from the phenomenon of entrainment to claim that altering the brain waves changes the actual functioning of the brain. There is no theoretical or empirical basis for this, however. Entrainment is a temporary effect on the synchronization of neuronal firing – it does not improve or increase brain functioning, it does not change the hardwiring, nor does it cure any neurological disorder. There is no compelling evidence for any effect beyond the period of entrainment itself.
The power and manifold benefits of meditation are well documented, its practice dating back to prehistory where it was used mainly for religious or spiritual purposes. With our growing knowledge and understanding of the functions of the brain it seems both logical and practical that we should develop ways of tapping into this power and using it to our advantage.
We’ve all wished at one time or another that we could simply manipulate the rates at which our brains function; “Slow down, it’s time for bed” or “Wake up! Pay attention!” And now we’ve got some good news: thanks to some relatively new technology, and a few relatively old traditions, there actually is a way to manipulate the frequencies of brain waves to help you relax, sleep, meditate, or solve problems.
Binaural beats are an auditory illusion where two oscillators, slightly detuned from each other, are played simultaneously with one perceived by each ear. The human brain mixes the audio from each ear, and the listener perceives a "beating" effect that isn't actually there. This is a well-studied phenomenon that has gained the interest of audiologists and neurologists, but it's most famous for being picked up by the alternative medicine community as a way to get high.
By the end of just a few short days (3 or 4 of use), my constant “on edge” feeling completely dissipated. I had changed my lifestyle drastically to a very low-stress environment. All feelings of anxiety disappeared rapidly, but I was still experiencing something “physical.” I had trouble explaining it to anyone. I lashed out immediately at the slightest frustration. I tried to explain to those around me that it was something physically happening in my brain, but they were skeptical. Within less than a week of using the EOC cd’s, I noticed my tolerance level for dealing with people and situations had increased tremendously.

As somewhat of a modern mystic, I have studied altered states of consciousness, but due to my monkey mind, I have only been able to experience them to a very minor degree. I have tried so many methods of meditation to little avail. But I became aware that I would not be able to progress in my spiritual life if I could not achieve at least a modicum of success in meditation.

Belief and faith, argue believers, are larger than the sum of their brain parts: "The brain is the hardware through which religion is experienced," said Daniel Batson, a University of Kansas psychologist who studies the effect of religion on people. "To say the brain produces religion is like saying a piano produces music." At the Fuller Theological Seminary's school of psychology, Warren Brown, a cognitive neuropsychologist, said, "Sitting where I'm sitting and dealing with experts in theology and Christian religious practice, I just look at what these people know about religiousness and think they are not very sophisticated. They are sophisticated neuroscientists, but they are not scholars in the area of what is involved in various forms of religiousness."
The huge problem will all such studies is that there is a clear placebo effect on any kind of mental performance whenever the subject is observed. Do any intervention, then measure performance, and the intervention and measurement are likely to cause an increase in effort and attention which will increase performance. This generic “placebo” effect needs to be factored out of any such study by proper blinding and controls in order for the results to have any meaning at all.
In physics, entrainment is the process of two oscillating systems coming to assume the same periodic rhythm, such as is observed when two clocks slowly synchronize their ticking and tick together in harmony after some time. Pendulums also achieve this same synchronicity when swinging in close proximity to one another, a phenomenon first observed and written about in 1665 by Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch scientist.

For example, if a 530 Hz pure tone is presented to a subject's right ear, while a 520 Hz pure tone is presented to the subject's left ear, the listener will perceive the auditory illusion of a third tone, in addition to the two pure-tones presented to each ear. The third sound is called a binaural beat, and in this example would have a perceived pitch correlating to a frequency of 10 Hz, that being the difference between the 530 Hz and 520 Hz pure tones presented to each ear.
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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). 


Brainwave Entrainment is the process of synchronizing the brain to specific frequencies and patterns embedded in audio tracks. These frequencies correlate to specific emotions, feelings, and even energy levels. Using nothing more than sound, Brainwave Entrainment can enhance creativity, change moods, and even alter behavior like sleep and energy levels.
Changes in neural oscillations, demonstrable through electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements, are precipitated by listening to music,[20][21][22][23][24][25] which can modulate autonomic arousal ergotropically and trophotropically, increasing and decreasing arousal respectively.[26] Musical auditory stimulation has also been demonstrated to improve immune function, facilitate relaxation, improve mood, and contribute to the alleviation of stress.[27][28][29][30][31][32][33] These findings have contributed to the development of neurologic music therapy, which uses music and song as an active and receptive intervention, to contribute to the treatment and management of disorders characterized by impairment to parts of the brain and central nervous system, including stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, cerebral palsy, Alzheimer's disease, and autism.[34][35][36]
... Several studies have looked at the possible effects of binaural beats within the alpha range on cognitive abilities. A significant improvement in cognitive processing, as measured by the Stroop Effect exercise, was found by a BB stimulation of 10.2 Hz frequency (Cruceanu & Rotarescu, 2013).Carter and Russell (1993)exposed 8 to 12 year old boys with learning disabilities to 8-week long 10 and 18 Hz BB stimulation sessions, and they found an improvement in Raven's progressive matrices and in a subtest of auditory sequential memory (Carter & Russell, 1993).McMurray (2006)assessed the effect of 7 and 11 Hz BB on alpha brainwave activity, working memory, and attention in healthy elderly people, who are known for experiencing gradual decrease in physiological alpha activity. The 2 minutes exposure to BB resulted in an altered electrical activity in the brain. ...
From a brainwave entrainment effectiveness perspective, it’s my understanding that the response from isochronic tones stimulation starts to diminish over 30Hz and that 40Hz is about the limit for using them. So from what I’ve read on the topic a 100Hz beat wouldn’t work, probably because it’s too fast for the brain to process and synchronise with it.
In the 1980s, a researcher in Japan, Tsuyoshi Inouye described how light stimulation creates synchronization of brain hemispheres. Since then, other researchers have detailed the positive effects of hemispheric synchronization including a 1984 study by researcher Dr. Gene W. Brockopp stating that hemispheric synchronization resulted in improved intellectual functioning as well as improvements in long-term memory, and these effects are cumulative over time.
Gamma brainwaves occur during creative thinking and processing of memory and language and in many learning activities. These brainwaves are not present at all when a person is under anesthesia, but return as soon as the person becomes conscious again. Multiple scientific studies have shown gamma brainwave entrainment to be helpful for reducing distractibility, improving short-term memory, improving motor coordination, and relieving migraine headaches.
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Brainwave entrainment is a colloquialism for such 'neural entrainment', which is a term used to denote the way in which the aggregate frequency of oscillations produced by the synchronous electrical activity in ensembles of cortical neurons can adjust to synchronize with the periodic vibration of an external stimuli, such as a sustained acoustic frequency perceived as pitch, a regularly repeating pattern of intermittent sounds, perceived as rhythm, or of a regularly rhythmically intermittent flashing light.
Cvetkovic D, Simpson D, Cosic I (2006). “Influence of sinusoidally modulated visual stimuli at extremely low frequency range on the human EEG activity“. Conference proceedings : … Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 1: 1311 – 4. doi:10.1109

A study published in Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology by Paul Williams and Michael West in 1975 examined the brainwave states of people experienced in meditation while using photic stimulation, and another study by Leonard, Telch, and Harrington in 1999 examined the successful use of brainwave entrainment techniques for attaining meditative states in subjects.
So, there’s the deep stuff here, and then there’s the gamma stuff, too. There’s a little bit of 80 Hz, but it’s primarily a 40-Hz gamma track, gamma frequencies that are combined with a pulse, on and off, throughout the recording. I went to some lengths to make this as rich and potent as I could, whilst blending it into the sound of the music. There are these really rich, kind of cat-purr-like vibrations that come through at times, combined with the lulling, deeply relaxing theta brain waves.
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While originally brainwave entrainment was achieved by using pure tones of sound, it is now possible to take these tones and blend them with music, rhythms, and natural sounds, such as the sounds of flowing water, bird sounds, or waves lapping on a beach, creating extended tracts of varied and intriguing brainwave entrainment music for everyday use.
Studies have shown binaural beats may affect levels of dopamine, a hormone that plays a broad role in cognition and a particular role in creative thinking. This has scientists examining the possibility that binaural beats can be used to stimulate creativity. (If you’re looking to be more creative and innovative in your thinking, keep in mind that sleep itself is a powerful tool!)
Some studies have found that binaural beats can affect cognitive function positively or negatively, depending on the specific frequency that’s generated. For example, a study of long-term memory found that beta-frequency binaural beats improved memory, while theta-frequency binaural beats interfered with memory. This is something for scientists to continue to examine closely. For people who use binaural beats, it’s important to understand that different frequencies will produce different effects.
In order to understand brainwave entrainment you first have to understand something about brain waves and electroencephalograms (EEG). Neurons are cells that communicate with each other through electrical conduction. When a neuron fires it creates a small electrical and magnetic field. These fields are far too small to measure by placing electrodes on the scalp, or even on the surface of the brain. The only reason we can detect the electrical fields of the brain is because many neurons are firing together – in synchrony. All brain waves that are measured by an EEG, therefore, represent a large group of neurons firing together.
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Of course, meditation is actually quite a simple procedure, and one that can be practiced anywhere and at any time. There are no special requirements other than the need to have peace and quiet in a distraction-free environment for a few minutes. The trick is being able to switch off from whatever is going on around you and let your meditative state begin.
“One of the best ways to explain how brainwave entrainment works is by observing the effect of a tuning fork on a guitar string,” says Naik. “Hit a tuning fork tuned to a particular sound frequency, such as the note C, and hold it close to the strings of a guitar. You will notice that the C string on the guitar starts to vibrate because it has entrained on to the same frequency of the tuning fork.”
Monaural beats have similarities to binaural beats, but the two separate frequencies are delivered through a pulse pattern and mixed before they reach the listeners ears, resulting in the advantage of being audible without stereo headphones. However, using stereo headphones intensifies the effectiveness of monaural beats and is recommended for the best effect. 

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Binaural beats is a method where two sound waves of different frequencies are introduced into each ear. These frequencies when processed by the brain cancel each other out, creating a whole new frequency. So if we had a tone of 500 Hz in one ear and a 510 Hz tone in the other, the result would be a 10 Hz tone. So while a 10 Hz tone couldn’t be directly heard, using binaural beats we can create that tone inside our brain.

While visual entrainment is more powerful than audio alone for inducing desired brainwave states, more caution is needed when using visual methods. Between 0.3 and 3 percent of the population is susceptible to having seizures from flickering light stimulation, and for other people, flickering visual stimuli simply makes them uncomfortable. People with epilepsy have a greater chance of having a seizure from exposure to flickering light stimulation.
Transparent Corp's Research Area is arguably the most comprehensive resource for collated brainwave entrainment research.   Update: the main research area on Transparent Corp's website is currently being updated, so it is offline.  However, you can still access their peer-reviewed research paper as a PDF here: “A Comprehensive Review of the Psychological Effects of Brainwave Entrainment“.
Anapanasati (Buddhist breathing meditation) Buddhist meditation Christian meditation Taoist meditation Dancemeditation Dhyāna (Buddhist meditation) Dhyāna (Hindu meditation) Islamic meditation Jain meditation Jewish meditation Muraqabah (Sufi meditation) New Age meditation Naam Japo (Sikism meditation) Neigong Pranayama (yoga breathing practice) Qigong Shikantaza (Zen Buddhist seated meditation) Silva Method Tantra Transcendental meditation (TM) Vipassanā (Silent meditation) Yoga Zazen (Zen Buddhist seated meditation) Zhan zhuang (Qigong standing meditation) 5Rhythms
Monaural beats have similarities to binaural beats, but the two separate frequencies are delivered through a pulse pattern and mixed before they reach the listeners ears, resulting in the advantage of being audible without stereo headphones. However, using stereo headphones intensifies the effectiveness of monaural beats and is recommended for the best effect. 
According to the Wikipedia entry “(i)n acoustics a beat is an interference pattern between two sounds of slightly different frequencies, perceived as a periodic variation in volume whose rate is the difference of the two frequencies.” Further, a binaural beat is “… an auditory illusion perceived when two different pure-tone sine waves, both with frequencies lower than 1500 Hz, with less than a 40 Hz difference between them, are presented to a listener dichotically (one through each ear)”. If the two frequencies are, say, 5 Hz apart as in 500 and 505 Hz, then a third tone at 5 Hz will be heard in addition to the two pure tones. What this technique allows for is the creation of an apparent auditory signal that can be perceived and that is at a predictable frequency. In this way, relatively low frequencies can be generated that can be easily perceived and that can correspond to the common brainwave frequency bands. These are often categorized as delta (0.5 – 4 Hz), theta (4 – 7 Hz), alpha (8 – 12 Hz), and beta (13 – 16 Hz). You may find somewhat different ranges and bands other than these listed depending on the source you consult. It is also possible to produce flashes of light that can be administered within these frequency bands but there is some risk of inducing seizures in susceptible individuals. While the most common frequency range for inducing seizures is 15 – 25 Hz, unfortunately, the possible range is 1 – 65 Hz, which covers essentially the whole range of standard EEG frequency bands. This makes use of sound stimulation safer than visual or combined audio/visual stimulation. 
One larger and more recent randomized and controlled trial looked at the use of binaural beats in 291 patients admitted to the emergency department at a hospital. The researchers observed significant decreases in anxiety levels in patients exposed to audio with embedded binaural beats compared to those who listened to audio without binaural beats or no audio at all (headphones only).
Binaural beats were discovered in 1839 by a German experimenter, H. W. Dove. The human ability to "hear" binaural beats appears to be the result of evolutionary adaptation. Many evolved species can detect binaural beats because of their brain structure. The frequencies at which binaural beats can be detected change depending upon the size of the species' cranium. In the human, binaural beats can be detected when carrier waves are below approximately 1000 Hz (Oster, 1973). Below 1000 Hz the wave length of the signal is longer than the diameter of the human skull. Thus, signals below 1000 Hz curve around the skull by diffraction. The same effect can be observed with radio wave propagation. Lower-frequency (longer wave length) radio waves (such as AM radio) travel around the earth over and in between mountains and structures. Higher-frequency (shorter wave length) radio waves (such as FM radio, TV, and microwaves) travel in a straight line and can't curve around the earth. Mountains and structures block these high-frequency signals. Because frequencies below 1000 Hz curve around the skull, incoming signals below 1000 Hz are heard by both ears. But due to the distance between the ears, the brain "hears" the inputs from the ears as out of phase with each other. As the sound wave passes around the skull, each ear gets a different portion of the wave. It is this waveform phase difference that allows for accurate location of sounds below 1000 Hz(9). Audio direction finding at higher frequencies is less accurate than it is for frequencies below 1000 Hz. At 8000 Hz the pinna (external ear) becomes effective as an aid to localization. In summary it's the ability of the brain to detect a waveform phase difference is what enables it to perceive binaural beats.

You may have experienced Theta right before drifting off to sleep, during a lucid dream, or during a deep meditation. In Theta, you no longer sense the outside world, but you are aware and conscious of your internal world. All of your subconscious fears, hopes and judgments are hidden in the Theta state. Theta is a difficult state to achieve because you often drift out of it very quickly either becoming conscious in Alpha or moving on to the next deeper state. By staying in Theta, you can learn endless information about yourself and your consciousness.
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