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Brainwave Entrainment 

Understanding Brainwave Entrainment

You've probably read how brain wave frequencies vary according to mental state. Daydreaming and light meditation take place in the "Alpha" range of frequencies for example. So if you listen to music containing beats at a frequency of 10 Hz it will feel very relaxing, because your brain will begin to follow this frequency and reproduce the rhythm in the music. You will automatically generate more brain waves at a 10 Hz frequency and enter a relaxed Alpha mental state.

It is well established that our brain wave frequencies change with our mental states and vice-versa. It has also been clearly demonstrated that mediators can go into an alpha state at will, and that this has beneficial effects (lowering of stress, blood pressure, etc.).

What is Brainwave Entrainment?

Our brains are made up of billions of brain cells called neurons, which use electricity to communicate with each other. The combination of millions of neurons sending signals at once produces an enormous amount of electrical activity in the brain, which can be detected using sensitive equipment such as EEG, measuring electricity levels over areas of the scalp.

The culmination of electrical activity of the brain is commonly called a brainwave pattern, because of its cyclic, wave-like nature. The electrical activity in the brain will change depending on what the person is doing. Our brains pulse to waveforms with frequency bandwidths that correspond to particular moods, stress levels, and physiological status. As we focus on the complexities of daily life, our brains reflect and emit shorter-frequency alpha or beta brainwaves. A relaxing mood tends to accompany the deeper delta or even the more meditative theta waves.

The greater the stress, the higher frequencies tend to get. Just as higher-pitched sounds tend to indicate intensity or urgency, higher frequency waves reflect a mind hustling to keep up with life’s demands. Brainwave Entrainment refers to the brain’s electrical response to rhythmic sensory stimulation, such as pulses of sound. When the brain is given a stimulus, through the ears, eyes or other senses, it emits an electrical charge in response, called a cortical evoked response. The electrical responses travel through the brain to become what you “see and hear”.  When the brain is presented with a rhythmic stimulus, such as a drum beat for example, the rhythm is reproduced in the brain in the form of these electrical impulses. If the rhythm becomes fast and consistent enough, it can start to resemble the natural internal rhythms of the brain, called brainwaves.

When this happens, the brain responds by synchronizing its own electric cycles to the same rhythm. This is commonly called the Frequency Following Response. Frequency Following Response can be useful because brainwaves are very much related to a mental state. For example, a 4 Hz brainwave is associated with sleep, so a 4 Hz sound patter would help produce the sleep state in your brain.

The same concept can be applied to nearly all mental states, including concentration, creativity, and many others.

It can even act as a gateway to exotic or extraordinary experiences, such as deep meditation or lucid dreaming type states. 

What is Entrainment?

Entrainment is a principle of physics. It is defined as the synchronization of two or more rhythmic cycles. The principles of entrainment are universal, appearing in chemistry, neurology, biology, pharmacology, medicine, astronomy and more. The internal rhythms of the brain are called brainwaves and the brainwave pattern varies depending on what a person is doing, sleeping, relaxing, analyzing, etc.

Brainwave entrainment is the response of the brain to stimulation with rhythmical sound, such as pulses or beats. After being stimulated with a certain frequency for a period of time, the brain reproduces the same frequency with its internal rhythm, thus achieving a targeted state.