Brainwave entrainment is a simple concept. It’s simply causing your brainwave frequency to align with some intended frequency in order to produce some intended result. It’s a way of modulating your brainwaves to resonate at a certain frequency. Being that there are certain dominant frequencies associated with different states of consciousness, this is being researched as a quick and effective way to induce states such as sleep, alertness, concentration, and even meditative and deep sleep states.
Check out the Brain Evolution here if you’re interested.
People who meditate regularly enjoy many benefits such as increased sense of well being, happiness, contentment, and far less anxiety that many other people. Some believe that this is due to both hemispheres of the brain being in sync with each other, which meditative practice can provide. Therefore, a goal of using technology to entrain the brain and align the frequencies of the brain hemispheres has become a very interesting avenue of science and experimentation.
Ways to Achieve Brainwave Entrainment Using Technology
Binaural beats are pretty simple. Basically, you take two frequencies that are similar and play each one through it’s own stereo headphone. The two competing frequencies will work together in your mind to produce a pulsing. That pulse will be a certain frequency that corresponds to a number in hertz that is linked to what your brain produces when you are in certain states of consciousness.
For example, according to Wikipedia, if you take one frequency in one speaker in a pair of headphones, say, 300Hz, and the other speaker for your other ear has a frequency of 310Hz, the resulting difference of 10Hz would be the rate that the pulse, or beat, plays at. 10Hz (Alpha Waves) would correspond to what the brain puts out when you are generally relaxed. So, in effect, listening to a 10Hz binaural beat for a certain amount of time should take the edge off.
These tones are similar in that they pulse like binaural beats. The difference is that they don’t need to be listened to using headphones as the pulse, or beat, is not generated by two different frequencies. The sound is an on/off pulse. Although you don’t need headphones to seperate the frequencies listened to, they are recommended. I’ve had just as much response to isochronic tones as I’ve had to binaural beats. I’d try both though, especially if you don’t respond to one or the other.
I created a couple of Isochronic Tones here for you to try out. They are very basic and use white noise as filler.
Another Good Resource
Aside from Brain Evolution, this is another good resource for brainwave entrainment products that I recommend. They have binaural beats and isochronic tones for many different applications. The nice thing is that they are inexpensive, so you can experiment with different types and find ones that work for you. They also have a membership plan that makes experimenting even more affordable. It’s probably the best bang for the buck that I can find for brainwave entrainment.
A Replacement for Meditation?
Some people believe that using this stuff can be a replacement for meditation. While sitting passively and listening to something that can give you the same effect frequency-wise as meditation, there is still far more benefit to meditating than just entrainment. Meditation and mindfulness allow you to really understand yourself on a level far deeper than technology will bring you.
That said, I use binaural beats and isochronic tones to help me get over some hurdles, or as a pre-game to meditation. It’s far easier to go deep once my mind is operating on a certain frequency, or at least feels like it. It’s also way easier to get to that point than fighting my thoughts at times. Think of binaural beats and isochronic tones as heavy ammunition that you don’t always need, but is great to have in your arsenal when you really need it.
How to Know if You’re Meditating
That said, there’s one more point to bring up. Your mind PRODUCES these frequencies as a RESULT of being in different states. Once your turn off the audio on a sound file, it stops influencing your brain. Ergo, the effect diminishes. That’s why I like to learn to do this stuff on my own with my own mind.
The nice thing about isochronic tones and binaural beats is that it can produce the effect in your mind. They can teach you what it is like to FEEL a meditative state. Even if the effect is limited to the time that you are listening to the audio, or stimulated.
There is another piece of technology that can actually measure when you are in a meditative state. It can train you to get your own mind into meditation, and give you immediate feedback that tells you if your brainwaves are resonating the correct frequencies associated with different meditative states.
The newest one is called MUSE. It’s a headband that you wear on your forehead. The device connects to tablets or smartphones that have the MUSE app installed. It uses blue tooth to connect the devices, so you can use it anywhere you are.
The app and headband measure your brainwaves and let you know when you are in the frequency zone of meditation. It’s a portable eeg.
It will set you back about $300, but it’s something that you can carry around with you and use whenever you have spare time. It allows you to see feedback when you are meditating and lets you know if you’re doing it right.
This is gold. It’s actual science, not just some marketing gimmick. While I’m sure there’s some FDA disclaimer on their site somewhere, the device does what it says. It measures brainwave frequency. It trains you to get your mind into that state and stay there for a while, while giving you actual hard data on your own progress.