Critics, like Owen Flanagan, PhD, believe that Hanson, and those like him, are overextending the results of current scientific studies.[citation needed] In his book Bodhisattva’s Brain: Buddhism Naturalized, Flanagan presents a more conservative viewpoint of current scientific research and cautions readers against the seemingly exciting results of recent studies.[20] Flanagan does not believe current science supports the idea that positive emotion can be strengthened in the same way that stroke victims can recover use of limbs with use.[20] Flanagan does acknowledge that meditation may be beneficial in some way, but the mechanism of how meditation affects the brain is still clouded.[20] Similarly, Awasthi argues that Meditation is non-specific to the research studies showing clinical efficacy in some cases, though mechanisms remain unclear.[21] Flanagan and Hanson use many of the same scientific studies to attempt to support their differing viewpoint, but both authors identify the need and importance of future studies investigating meditation.
Another uncontrolled study asked eight adults to listen to a binaural beat CD with delta (1 to 4 Hz) beat frequencies for 60 days straight. The participants filled out surveys before and after the 60-day period that asked questions about their mood and quality of life. The results of the study found that listening to binaural beats for 60 days significantly reduced anxiety and increased the overall quality of life of these participants. Since the study was small, uncontrolled, and relied on patient surveys to collect data, larger studies will be needed to confirm these effects.
Binaural beats change the frequency of your brainwaves, giving you control over which category you experience at any given moment. And because you’re in the driver’s seat — and producing specific frequencies to induce a specific state of mind — you can use binaural beats to boost performance, increase focus, get better sleep… the possibilities are endless. “There’s an infinite number of variations on how you could use this kind of technology,” says Bill Harris, Director of Centerpointe Research Institute and creator of auditory brainwave training program Holosync.
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Recent research at the University of Lisbon finally uncovered the reason for the 350 year-old mystery, finding that the resonance of sound is the mechanism for entrainment of swinging pendulums and ticking clocks, and it seems likely that the energy transferred by sound is also responsible for other observations of entrainment, including brainwave entrainment.
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.