Have you ever heard about brainwave entrainment? This trend is relatively new and popular in individuals trying to stimulate the brain to enter a specific state of sleep, relaxation, alertness, etc.
In order for stimulation to be effective, this organ has to be exposed to certain sounds, light, or electromagnetic fields. Brains are under the influence of outside stimuli, so the waves they use to operate normally imitate the rates of the sounds from the surrounding. Therefore, by using tracks whose frequencies correspond to those of alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and theta waves, the mind is tricked into reaching a particular state.
Nowadays, there are brainwave stores offering different levels of manifestation meditation audios, providing various mental benefits.
Here is everything you need to know about such entrainment.
What is it?
Brainwave entrainment is considered a new trend, even though the idea behind it dates many centuries back. The goal of such entrainment is to stimulate the brain to gain access to a certain state by using various modes of stimulation, such as sounds, lights, and electromagnetic fields. When exposed to these forms of stimulation, the activity of the brain is prompted to synchronize with the external stimuli.
Moreover, this stimulation either indirectly influences brain activity or uses higher energy levels for direct activation of the brain cells. People experience brainwave entrainment in different ways, such as through meditation, relaxation, sleepiness, or an improvement in concentration. There are, in fact, a couple of approaches used in this field, like audio, magnetic, electric, and haptic stimulation. Audio stimulation is unquestionably the most popular approach.
As far as audio stimulation is concerned, it comes in multiple forms whose role is to influence brain waves via the vestibulocochlear nerve, referring to the nerve that connects the ears to the brain. This kind of brainwave entrainment is the most prevalent, as it requires nothing but sound. There is a wide range of such audios available for purchase online.
Additionally, audio stimulation relies on three sound types, isochronic, binaural, and monaural beats. Let’s start with isochronic tones. These tones appear and disappear at regular intervals, which are so brief the beat sounds like a rhythmic pulse. The ultimate goal is for brain waves to synchronize with the frequency of the tones. Such synchronization is believed to trigger different mental states. Click here for a definition of isochronic tones.
In order to better understand the synchronization of frequencies, you need to get familiar with the different types of brain waves, each of them linked to a specific frequency range. For instance, gamma waves induce a state of problem-solving and high levels of concentration, whereas betta waves are produced when the mind is active, usually in a waking state.
Moreover, when the brain emits alpha waves, the mind is calm and restful. In contrast, theta waves are emitted whenever a person is tired, daydreams, or has recently fallen asleep. During deep sleep, delta waves are produced instead.
Isochronic tones differ from binaural and monaural beats. The former is produced when each ear is exposed to a tone of a different frequency. Consequently, the beat that you hear is actually the difference between the tones. When using binaural beats as a form of brainwave entrainment, you will be required to use headphones.
In contrast, monaural beats are produced when two tones with similar frequencies are used in combination, while the difference in frequency is actually the beat you listen to. You can expose one ear or both ears to the tones, so you won’t be required to use headphones.
When it comes to the other forms of brainwave entrainment, individuals are required to use special devices, such as headsets or anklets. For instance, magnetic stimulation relies on technology that emanates magnetic fields whose frequencies correspond to various brainwave frequencies. Conversely, electric stimulation utilizes electric impulses for this purpose, which are claimed to minimize stress and improve sleep quality.
In the case of haptic stimulation, the devices aren’t worn on the head but on the ankle or wrist. These devices use vibrations in order to send signals from the ankle or wrist to the brain via the vagus nerve. Follow this link https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318128#:~:text=The%20vagus%20nerve%20is%20the,organs%20elsewhere%20in%20the%20body., to gain insight into the functions and stimulation of the vagus nerve.
Benefits of brainwave entrainment
The benefits of brainwave entrainment are directly associated with the states induced by different brain waves. These waves are believed to be the basis of all emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Consequently, they are capable of increasing one’s attention span, promoting healthy sleep, reducing stress and anxiety, improving memory, and boosting one’s mood.
For instance, by stimulating the brain waves to move into the beta state, brainwave entrainment increases creativity. Beta waves not only induce creativity but also bring the mind into a state of alertness, especially after waking up or when feeling sleepy.
Another benefit of brainwave entrainment is stress relief, which is possible by inducing the brain to emit alpha waves. These waves promote a state of relaxation and help individuals calm their minds after a stressful day. Also, brainwave entrainment can tune the mind into a state of producing theta waves, which significantly improve memory and learning. Theta is undoubtedly the best frequency for enhancing the process of learning.
If used properly, this form of entrainment helps individuals get rejuvenating rest. By synchronizing with the frequency of delta waves, brainwave sounds assist people in falling asleep or getting quality sleep, thus waking up rested in the morning.
In general, isochronic tones, binaural, and monaural beats have the capacity to promote certain mental states. For example, low-frequency waves like theta and delta are linked to the state of sleep. Hence, listening to such low-frequency tones promotes better sleep. Conversely, high-frequency waves, such as gamma and betta, have a correlation with an engaged and active mind. Therefore, listening to such tones is believed to improve concentration and attentiveness.
Intermediate waves, like the alpha waves, promote a state of relaxation. Consequently, listening to tones within the alpha frequency range can make individuals feel more relaxed and even help meditation.
Is it the same as neurofeedback?
Many individuals interested in brainwave entrainment compare it to neurofeedback. Nevertheless, there are certain differences between them, even though the ultimate goal of both concepts is the same.
The key difference lies in the fact that brainwave entrainment forces the brain to reach a specific state, which isn’t the case with neurofeedback. Neurofeedback is actually a form of training, teaching individuals how to reach the desired state by themselves. It only provides trainees with the required skills and leaves the stimulation process to them.
Does it work?
The largest part of individuals is curious about the effectiveness of brainwave entrainment before they try this method for the first time. A myriad of studies has been conducted to prove how effective this method is. Most studies show that this method is effective in reducing stress and anxiety, preventing migraines, improving problem-solving skills, prolonging sleep, improving memory, etc.
Nevertheless, being aware of the effects and benefits of such entrainment isn’t enough. There are some rare side effects that you should get familiar with, such as nausea, anxiety, dizziness, headaches, convulsions, subconscious images, increased heart rate, etc.
There are certain guidelines to be followed when using brainwave entrainment methods in order to prevent potential adverse effects. It’s essential not to overdo it, as side effects usually occur after overusing the method. For instance, you should start listening to audio no longer than five minutes to test your sensitivity. Bear in mind that the reactions of each person are different.
In addition, you are supposed to keep the volume level reasonable, as loud noises are believed to be harmful. Any noise louder than seventy decibels has the capacity to cause hearing damage, given normal conversation is no louder than sixty decibels.
If you happen to experience symptoms of anxiety, nausea, headaches, dizziness, or increased heartbeat, it’s vital to stop listening to the audios immediately. Also, people suffering from epilepsy, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, sleep apnea, vertigo, tinnitus, aggressive behavior, and other instabilities aren’t even supposed to consider using this form of entrainment.
Furthermore, individuals must be aware of their surroundings when listening to frequencies of different intensities. For example, low-frequency sounds should be avoided while performing some tasks requiring alertness, such as driving or operating equipment.
Some people are discouraged from using this method altogether, like pregnant women or individuals susceptible to seizures. The same goes for individuals under the age of twenty-six, given the brain is still sensitive and developing till that age.
All in all, the largest part of people who gave tried brainwave entrainment experiences no adverse effects apart from having an unusual feeling. In the event of experiencing more serious side effects, make sure to discontinue use, and you’ll go back to normal in several days.
A final note
By listening to tones of different frequencies, you can encourage your brain to enter any state you want!