The composer Alvin Lucier has written many pieces that feature interference beats as their main focus. Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi, whose style is grounded on microtonal oscillations of unisons, extensively explored the textural effects of interference beats, particularly in his late works such as the violin solos Xnoybis (1964) and L'âme ailée / L'âme ouverte (1973), which feature them prominently (note that Scelsi treated and notated each string of the instrument as a separate part, so that his violin solos are effectively quartets of one-strings, where different strings of the violin may be simultaneously playing the same note with microtonal shifts, so that the interference patterns are generated). Composer Phill Niblock's music is entirely based on beating caused by microtonal differences.
If anybody would like to look over the scientific evidence concerning brainwave entrainment and isochronic tones, I’ve done a lot of research over the years which I’ve collected at the PubMed website of NCBI – a branch of the National Institute of Health – that provides access to a large library of medical journal articles. I’ve made my list public so you can look through the journal articles that were published concerning this topic. Here’s the link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/myncbi/1tmDFOl0XtyA4/collections/51531796/public/. Most of the collection only gives access to abstracts or summaries unless you’re at some kind of educational institution that has a subscription to the particular journal that article is in, but I actually find abstracts really helpful. So have at it, read away. And if your psychiatrist/therapist thinks you’re nuts for feeling better after listening to isochronic tones, just whip out your 82-page collection of scientific journal abstracts written by her peers and give it to her to read. 🙂
Despite the lack of solid evidence of the effectiveness of binaural beats in producing brainwave changes, and that those changes can be effective in altering our conscious states, there do exist hours of recorded binaural beat videos available on YouTube. Some of these are just straight beats designed to ease the listener into various states by gradually varying the frequencies of the beats. A nice example of this can be found in a 90-minute video by Jody Hatton. Others embed the beats into a musical score, which some people find easier to listen to. Spotify has a whole playlist devoted to binaural beats. You can try these and many others to see if this is something that may be helpful to you. The soothing nature of the sounds may be what really helps, but that’s fine if you just want to relax and drift off to sleep. You can also find quite a few apps that generate binaural beats at your phone’s app store. If you want to relax and sleep just be sure to set the frequency in the theta range (4 – 7 Hz). Patients have reported to me that they felt energized or even anxious after listening to a few minutes of the beats, but this was usually because they were set to a high frequency like beta (13 – 16 Hz). Be sure to try listening to the beats for a short time and if they have a negative effect, just stop listening. If you find them helpful, that’s great, and you have a new technique that can be used to promote relaxation, something most of us can use.
Binaural beats are a type of brain entrainment technology. Entrainment, by the way, is a fancy way of saying "matching". The beats influence your brainwaves, which in turn alter the states of your consciousness. They were first discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, but were considered a scientific oddity until 1973, when Gerald Oster published an article called, "Auditory Beats in the Brain". Oster's work offered new insights, as well as some laboratory findings, to Dove's research; hence, a revolution was started in the field of neurophysiology. Binaural beats are of interest to neurophysiologists investigating the sense of hearing.
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.
Meditation and its effect on brain activity and the central nervous system became a focus of collaborative research in neuroscience, psychology and neurobiology during the latter half of the 20th century. Research on meditation sought to define and characterize various practices. Meditation’s effect on the brain can be broken up into two categories: state changes and trait changes, respectively alterations in brain activities during the act of meditating and changes that are the outcome of long-term practice.
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.
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.
This incredible app which you not only has over 3 hours of meditations valued at $200, the technology utilized is unlike anything else on the marketplace. The heartbeat synchronization augmentation gives you a completely immersive experiencing, tuning in to your body’s natural rhythms. It gives you the best binaural music on the market. Fully customizable, you can base your meditation on your mood, goals and timeframe. This is the perfect app for a deep, introspective experience.
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).
Study after study has shown that brainwave entrainment technology is an effective way to relieve anxiety, and that meditation alters brainwave patterns more effectively than regular relaxation . Dr. Jeffrey D. Thompson refers to the “far-reaching possibilities” to be enjoyed by using “this type of vibrational technology” to encourage healing, emotional release, stress reduction, relaxation and, of course, deeper meditation .
Newberg won't go so far, but other proponents of the new brain science do. Michael Persinger, a professor of neuroscience at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, has been conducting experiments that fit a set of magnets to a helmet-like device. Persinger runs what amounts to a weak electromagnetic signal around the skulls of volunteers. Four in five people, he said, report a "mystical experience, the feeling that there is a sentient being or entity standing behind or near" them. Some weep, some feel God has touched them, others become frightened and talk of demons and evil spirits. "That's in the laboratory," said Persinger. "They know they are in the laboratory. Can you imagine what would happen if that happened late at night in a pew or mosque or synagogue?" His research, said Persinger, showed that "religion is a property of the brain, only the brain and has little to do with what's out there." Those who believe the new science disproves the existence of God say they are holding up a mirror to society about the destructive power of religion. They say that religious wars, fanaticism and intolerance spring from dogmatic beliefs that particular gods and faiths are unique, rather than facets of universal brain chemistry.
OK – so some of this is pretty common marketing hype. Consumers have become almost numb to such hyperbole. But still we see some of the common – almost ubiquitous – elements of pseudoscientific scams. The company claims that the device is “effort-free”, that the results are “rapid and long-lasting,” that it is the “most effective” method of its kind, and that it is useful for a broad range of applications (hey, why limit the market). I am used to such hype about dishwashing detergent, but find it intolerable when applied to a pseudoscientific device with medical applications.
Pure tones played together interfere with each other when they are close in pitch but not identical. When each tone is sent to a different ear, there will not be any physical interaction between the waves, yet your brain still creates an interference inside your head: the so-called binaural beat. In order to create a binaural beat, each ear must receive its dedicated signal. Therefore, binaural beats only work through headphones.
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 phenomena of brainwave entrainment was first described in the scientific literature in 1973 by Gerald Oster in results published in an article in Scientific American entitled, “Auditory Beats in the Brain”. He showed that a specific brainwave could be induced when a person heard two separate, but closely related, sound frequencies, one in each ear. He discovered that when the frequencies heard by each ear differed by about 10 hertz, the brainwave pattern of the person hearing the sound would synchronize to the difference between the two frequencies. For example, if the person heard a 410 hertz sound in one ear and a 400 hertz sound in the other ear, their brainwaves would stabilize at the difference between the two, or 10 hertz. This technique is called binaural beats, and it is a fundamental principle of brainwave entrainment methods.
"Given the popularity and effectiveness of meditation as a means of alleviating stress and maintaining good health, there is a pressing need for a rigorous investigation of how it affects brain function," says Professor Jim Lagopoulos of Sydney University, Australia. Lagopoulos is the principal investigator of a joint study between his university and researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) on changes in electrical brain activity during nondirective meditation.
People with a past history of epilepsy or seizures should NOT use brainwave entrainment. Those with heart disorders or taking mood-altering pharmaceutical drugs should consult a doctor before trying. Also, some of the frequencies within the videos may make you feel sleepy. As a good practice, please do not listen whilst you are operating machinery or vehicles or carrying out any responsible duties.
Go behind the scenes of brainwave entrainment technology creation with Joseph Kao, developer of the extraordinary meditation tool Journey to the Center of the Self. Here, in an interview with John Dupuy, CEO of iAwake Technologies, Joe describes the amazing complexity of the brainwave entraining soundscape he created to both accompany his deeply inductive, 30-minute, guided meditation on the first track of Journey, and also stand alone as a music-only track that holds you in a profoundly relaxed, still, yet clear place on the theta/delta border. To find out all that went into the making of the inductive guided meditation on the first track of Journey, see A Guide to Transpersonal Meditation: Journey to the Center of the Self, part I of this interview.
With digital upgrades, Berger’s machine is still in use today, known as an electroencephalography machine, or EEG. Berger used his machine to study the brains of psychologically normal and abnormal people and discovered the first brainwave, called the alpha wave and also known as the Berger wave, along with the faster beta wave, which he observed suppressing the alpha wave when subjects opened their closed eyes.
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.
I like it. I like the fact that I can just sit there and observe my thoughts and feelings and then go back to watching my breathing. It really does teach me to be centered and balanced. I look forward to the next several weeks. By the way, what I am doing now is meditating for 23 minutes in the early morning and again 23 minutes in the early evening. I’ll check back with you.
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.
Our relaxing music is perfect for Deepak Chopra Meditations, Buddhist meditation, Zen meditation, Mindfulness meditation, Kundalini meditation, Qi Gong Meditation, Zazen Meditation and more. Our music is influenced by Japanese meditation music, Indian meditation music, Tibetan music and Shamanic music. Our instrumental music has been designed to encourage and enhance relaxation, meditation, brain function and concentration, spa and massage therapy, and healing music therapy. In addition, we use binaural beats (Delta, Alpha and Theta Waves) to naturally reach a state of relaxation perfect for concentration, meditation or deep sleep. Our music playlists are perfect for your daily meditation and relaxation. Our music videos use soundscapes such as nature sounds, animals, oceans, rain sounds, thunder sounds and many more).
Hi Sahil, it’s hard for me to speak about other people’s tracks and videos, as I don’t know how they created them either. If you’re interested in a particular track/video and unsure about it, try asking the creator a question or two about the track, what frequencies were used and for how long, what software they used etc. Then make your own judgement based on how they reply to you. Jason
For example if you play a tone of 200hz in the left ear, and a tone of 190hz in the right ear (with the difference being 10hz) a beating tone will be perceived at 10 hz which is the binaural beat. What ever the difference is between the tones coming into the ears (in this example the difference is 200hz-190hz=10hz) the binaural beat will be that difference.
Tracks that move from alpha to theta can be a perfect vehicle for transitioning from a hectic day into a relaxing and rejuvenating sleep. Beginning with alpha waves takes you into a light but still alert meditative mind state where the difficulties of the day can be resolved and put to rest. Later, theta waves go deeper into the unconscious, preparing you for sleep and dreams.
Was wondering if you could give me a little more background on the suggested 2hr usage limit. I’m in LOVE with these CDs. Spent two months 2-3 times per day with ‘Equisync II’, and earlier this week shifted over to ‘Equisync III’. Since moving into Equisync III, I’m naturally drawn in my morning sitting to about 1 1/2 hrs with the tracks looping through my iPod. Then I sit again at night. I feel great. So is the 2hrs suggested for people with little prior meditative experience, is it a precaution for those whose psyche may be more fragile and prone to getting uber spacey and not managing their lives?
"Wow! I have been doing this Awakening Kundalini guided meditation every morning for about two weeks now. I am a yoga teacher and I have never experienced energy like this before! Every morning, I feel a surge and abundance of endless vital energy nourish my mind, body, and soul. The sounds, theta waves and guidance are perfectly combined to gently awaken the sleeping serpent confirmed by the exquisite sensations experienced. " --Katarine
The binaural-beat appears to be associated with an electroencephalographic (EEG) frequency-following response in the brain (3). Many studies have demonstrated the presence of a frequency-following response to auditory stimuli, recorded at the vertex of the human brain (top of the head). This EEG activity was termed "frequency-following response" because its period corresponds to the fundamental frequency of the stimulus (Smith, Marsh, & Brown, 1975). Binaural-beat stimulation appears to encourage access to altered states of consciousness.
Theta: This brainwave pattern is associated with deep relaxation and with some stages of sleep, including the lighter stages of non-REM (NREM) sleep. REM sleep itself is mostly composed of beta wave and other activity that’s similar to an alert, waking brain. Deep meditation produces theta waves, which are slower and lower frequency (between 5-8 hertz) than Alpha waves. That murky barrier between sleep and wakefulness, when you’re drifting in and out of sleep, and your thoughts feel dreamlike and difficult to remember? That’s a theta-dominant state of consciousness.
Entrainment is a term originally derived from complex systems theory, and denotes the way that two or more independent, autonomous oscillators with differing rhythms or frequencies, when situated in a context and at a proximity where they can interact for long enough, influence each other mutually, to a degree dependent on coupling force, such that they adjust until both oscillate with the same frequency. Examples include the mechanical entrainment or cyclic synchronization of two electric clothes dryers placed in close proximity, and the biological entrainment evident in the synchronized illumination of fireflies.
Hi. This article contains a lot of information about brainwave entertainment. Thanks. I have a question. I downloaded an Android app that plays isochronic tones. I like to use an Isochronic tone at 2.5Hz that is in Delta range and is supposed to help me get a deep and dreamless sleep. I use it without headphones and just keep the smartphone next to my pillow. But I do not know if I should keep the tone playing all the time while I sleep or put it on timer to shut off after some specified time. A custom timer is possible with the app. Can you please guide me.
In addition to potentially boosting sleep-promoting hormones, binaural beats may also reduce our perceptions of pain. A 2017 study found binaural beats used in combination with visual stimulation led to reductions in patients’ perception of acute pain. Other recent research showed binaural beats helped improve pain perception in patients with chronic pain.
EquiSync’s design is based on the 100’s of studies performed on the effectiveness of brainwave entrainment technology, and 1000’s of studies on the powerful benefits of meditation. If you are interested in better understanding the power of this technology and rapidly expanding field of research, then here is a very abbreviated bibliography, a very small sample of the studies out there:
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Beta – Throughout the day our brains are in the beta range with a frequency of about 13hz and up. At this level we are active, busy, and all our emotional responses are at this level. People who are over active, or often depressed, irritable, angry etc., often lose out on the recuperation and recharging that takes place when we are relaxed in the alpha, theta, and delta levels.
Because the mind and body are a single system, changing our brainwaves and spending more time in harmonious, relaxed, and restorative mind-states also affects our physical health. Physical health then reinforces our mental-state, and a feedback loop of either positive or negative processes becomes established. Research studies have shown beneficial effects of using brainwave entrainment for treating migraine headaches, premenstrual syndrome, and for managing physical pain.
Hi Marko, that isn’t one of my videos you referred to, so I can’t really answer you properly as I don’t know how their track was created. For the best answer, you should really contact the video creator. There isn’t any research that I’ve seen to suggest that you could harm your health by looping a delta track. During a typical sleep cycle, your brainwave activity will usually go up and down between the delta and theta range. It may be that you won’t experience the same quality of sleep if you spend most of your time producing mainly delta activity. With my 8-hour sleep track, I fluctuate the frequency range to try and emulate a typical sleep cycle http://www.mindamend.com/shop/sleeping-and-dreaming/deep-sleep-8-hour-sleep-cycle/.
A person driving on a freeway, who discovers that they can't recall the last five miles, is often in a theta state - induced by the process of freeway driving. This can also occur in the shower or tub or even while shaving or brushing your hair. It is a state where tasks become so automatic that you can mentally disengage from them. The ideation that can take place during the theta state is often free flow and occurs without censorship or guilt. It is typically a very positive mental state.
Today we're going to put on our headphones, kick back in the beanbag, and get mellow to the soothing sounds of the latest digital drug: binaural beats. These computer generated sound files are said to massage your brain and produce all sorts of effects, everything from psychedelic experiences to behavior modification. Let's point our skeptical eye at the science of binaural beats, and especially at some of the claims made for them.