In today’s competitive world, it is a well known fact that most people suffer from problems related to mental and emotional stress. Stress is usually a natural response generated when we feel any sort of threat or pressure. As a result of the reaction caused by stress, we may feel nervous and tensed. The adrenaline hormone in the body is triggered by stress and that hormone is responsible to affect the nervous system temporarily. Stress affects the human body and mind in such a way that we are unable to learn new skill, think independently or perform any task properly. Stress can totally cripple the thinking capacity and performance level of any individual. It freezes and locks the person under layers of stress because of which the person will be unable to conceive new ideas and opinions. Under this kind of situation, the brain becomes active in Beta frequency and it blocks other type of frequencies. This will cause conditions like restlessness and insomnia so the body will not get necessary amount of relaxation. Most of the times, the stressed individual may not realize that he is a victim of a situation in which his normal life is affected by the mental blockade caused by stress. As a result of that, he is unable to relax or experience new things in life. There are only a few lucky individuals who realize the problems caused by stress and consequently decide to adopt different proven stress reduction methods like Yoga or meditation.
Brainwaves entrainment is one such reliable method with which a person can train the brain to achieve desired state of relaxation. Brainwave entrainment which is also referred to as neural entrainment and brainwave synchronization is such a process in which the brainwave frequencies of an individual is naturally synchronized with a periodic external stimulus which may either be visual, tactile or auditory. In a simplified way, the periodic stimulus created by sound, vibration or light has a frequency and it is corresponded with the desired state of brain to achieve dreams, sleep, trance or relaxation. Brainwaves Entrainment method is also known as the Flicker response because it is similar to how we can feel relaxed and calm while staring at a campfire or a candle light for a long time. Gerard Oster has published an article about this phenomenon in the Scientific American in the year 1973. This theory does sound like a new technology but it has been in practice since ages.
Different culture and traditions around the world have been using different techniques to alter the brain state, for example meditation, Yoga and Kirtan in ancient Hindu culture, davening in Hebrew tradition and rain chants or Drum circles in Native American culture. Similarly, (Gregorian, Menzuma and Sufi Chanting), Tibetan Prayer bowls and African trance dancing are other ways to alter the state of brain. When these traditional process are followed, it passes such a rhythm that makes the brain waves slow which otherwise is fast and busy because of stress. The different brain frequency can be measured in Hertz (HZ) by an electroencephalogram (EEG). The fluctuation in the frequency of oscillations can be categorized into different bands which are given below.
- Gamma (30 to 50 Hz )
- Beta (Normal condition- 13-30 cycles per second or Hz)
- Alpha (8-13Hz) — meditation
- Theta (4-8Hz) — deep relaxation and dreaming
- Delta (.5-4Hz) — slow wave or dreamless sleep
Apart from these natural traditional methods there are other methods or substances like mushrooms, peyote, ayahuasca and LSDs which has been used by different cultures to alter between brain states. Much recently, it has become possible to learn the method of controlling and relaxing the brain activity by use of modern neuro feedback technology including galvanic skin response (GSR), electroencephalograph (EEG), breath rate monitors, pulse and heart rate monitors. These devices are used to measure the parameter of stressed and relaxed condition after which the signals are played back to the user which can be used to lead the individual into a relaxed mode. Learning meditation requires a much disciplined and lengthy process but this method is much quicker and easier to adopt. Change in brain wave states in an easy and effortless manner has been made possible by development of brain wave entrainment technology. As already mentioned, different periodic stimulus like sound, vibration or light can be used for that purpose. The best possible way is use of blinking lights when the eyelids are closed. However, it is important to note for certain people if they have conditions of photo induced epilepsy because the blinking lights can cause seizure in those people.
In most programs of Brainwave entrainment, the activities begin from a usual beta frequency which is a normal stressed and busy state at (20 Hz) twenty light flashes per second. Then it is slowly reduced to the meditation or relaxation state or Alpha (8-12 Hz). Then it goes down to Theta at (4-8 Hz) which is the state of deep relaxation and dreaming. Finally the Delta stage (.5-4Hz) comes which is the stage of dreamless deep relaxation. Researchers have shown the harmonization of brain waves in the left, right, anterior, posterior and occipital regions of the brain and the brain waves was noticed slowing down from Beta to Theta state in two minutes.
Till date, Brainwave entrainent technology has been used so far only to help people relax, meditate or fight against stress but different researches are being carried out for its use in other areas such as treatment of Alzheimer.
How does Brainwave music work?
Brainwave music stimulates the brainwaves acoustically. The regular rhythm of the music is synchronized with the brainwaves as the brain tries to adjust to it. With regular training, the person is able to adapt to the rhythm and reach the desired frequency range. Relaxation and meditation music is used for therapeutic aid. Different beats of different frequencies are used to fight different condition for example Alpha frequency beats help deal with anxiety at a Dentist’s. Beats with theta frequency helps us to sleep and relax ultimately helpful in transferring vital information into the conscious from the subconscious state. Today’s competitive and busy life style leads to more use of one side of the brain but brainwave entrainment helps to synchronize both sides of the brain so that good mental state is achieved.
Binaural Beats is an auditory illusion achieved with different audible frequencies provided to the ears using the headphones. This results in the production of brainwaves in the brain covering the non audible frequency. Beat is the frequency achieved by this method. The audible frequencies in both the ears should not have a difference of more than 30 Hz otherwise the ears can discover a false tone. Stereo headphones are compulsory for Binaural Beats.
So here is an example of Binaural Beats Whole Body Regeneration:
This is a bit advanced form of Binaural beats in which stereo headphones may not be necessary. However use of headphones may be more effective for this technique. In this technique music sound of two different intensity and pulse pattern is provided to the ears. It is possible for the human brain to identify only one tone.
This is the most improvised and effective method of brainwave entrainment. In this method, audible sound of same intensity with high pulse repetition is provided. For example, if the desired brainwave frequency is 5 Hz Theta frequency then sound will be repeated 5 times in a second with five pauses. The ability of the human brain to synchronize helps to develop the frequency of the desired level.
Brainwave music is reliable medium for Brainwave entrainment but it is necessary to learn the appropriate way to relax using the brainwave music. It will be very helpful in dealing with stress. Visual effects and sound filters can be additionally used to intensify the affect of acoustic stimuli. Different videos area available on the internet and trained sessions by experts can be extremely helpful to attain the desired relaxation state through application of Brainwave entrainment.