Home to one hundred billion nerve cells, our brain is often deemed the most complex entity in the whole universe. What was once thought to be beyond our command, our brains have proven us otherwise through past experiments that we can indeed, control our own brain waves.
This is where brain entrainment comes into picture. While it does sound menacing, entrainment is merely a process of two interacting oscillating systems harmonizing together but which have different periods when functioning alone. So ‘brain entrainment’ as such is any method causing the frequency of the response of brainwaves to match the frequency of a stimulus (usually auditory or visual) such as sound or light.
Now positively, this application is normally used to turn our brain into dreaming, relaxing or focusing states. It can even be utilized for meditation or sleep stimulation by slowing down our brain waves from a busier frequency to a calmer one. Other known benefits include improvements in anxiety, cognitive function as well as a pain relief when our own tolerance is low.
However, not all types of brain entrainments are favorable especially to those prone to epilepsy. For an example, brains can result in a seizure when exposed to flashing lights that are at their seizure frequency.
The five basic brain wave states you need to know are Beta, Alpha, Theta, Gamma and Delta frequencies. Each of these states represents a different level of brain activity and bodily experience.
- Alpha – Light relaxation
- Theta – Natural and spiritual healing
- Delta – Healing Sleep
- Beta – Working and consciousness
- Gamma – High energy and super focused
Speaking of which, we can be glad to know that there are many ways brain entrainment are accessible and these are some to begin with.
1. Binaural Beats
Auditory entrainment is most common. Needing a pair of headphones, sound of a certain frequency is played in one ear and a slightly different one in the other. The brain entrains to synchronize with the difference in these two frequencies.
For example, 380Hz in one ear and 400Hz in another would be an entrainment of 20Hz which is an alpha wave frequency most hyped about. Keep in mind, the brain is only able to entrain to a difference in frequency of less than 30Hz before it becomes unperceivable.
2. Monoaural Beats
Monoaural beats is another auditory entrainment slightly similar to binaural beats yet is said to be more effective.
Unlike with a separate pair of headphones in binaural beats, here two sounds will collide within the same side of the speaker or ear rather than from both sides. Hence, the perceived difference in frequency is a result of that merge.
3. Music Modulation
Audio brainwave entrainment can be embedded into musical soundtracks to add value to the listening experience. A soundtrack of full range is applicable such as nature or even a simple white noise.
With this, nearly any type of sound can be used for the embedding of the tones. There would have to be adjustments in rhythm and sometimes even in volume to ensure the music won’t overpower the stimuli.
4. Isochronic Beats
A mixture of both monoaural and binaural beats, isochronic tones have a singular tone embedded into a slim audio bandwidth of the music in subject. It produces a rhythm that entrains your brain to the specific frequency of the tone. Isochronic beats are likely the most effective of them all within audio entrainment.
5. Photic Stimulation
Visual entrainment is not as popular as auditory entrainment but still highly impactful. One tool related are LED glasses which can spark fast light pulses that enter your brain, through your eyelids as they are closed, while using a pair.
Flashing screens or lights are also a method within photic stimulation where software and programs give our delicate visual entrainment effects through a “flashing screen.”
6. Electromagnetic Entrainment
Here, electromagnetic stimulation is harnessed through devices using pulsations from electromagnetic fields to tweak with the electrical balance in our brains. Electrodes are stuck on our scalp, like a psycho brain experiment (kidding!), and it generates certain frequencies in particular regions.
Of course, do not do this yourself! Electromagnetic fluxes in the wrong regions with the wrong frequency is harmful to our mental state. It is argued that this method is better but auditory and visual are much safer so stick to those!
Brainwave entrainment is not a hundred percent effective as there are still risks and case by case situations involved. It is not uncommon though to see it being used by therapists and practitioners. In fact, Charyton and Huang in 2008 reported that while further is constantly needed to deepen our knowledge in brain entrainment, it should be considered by health experts as a therapeutic tool but with caution.