When people ask me why I do qi gong, tai chi, or meditate I always start by explaining the benefits you receive after practicing for a while. After listening, there is normally a hesitation on their part because of the upfront commitment of time and learning that is needed before you really start to reap the rewards.
I always wish that I could jump them ahead so that they can immediately feel the difference that internal work causes. Better health, sleep, calmness… I know they would be sold. Meditation now has the potential of doing this. By using binaural tones we do jump ahead to obtain deeper states of meditation more rapidly.
Why am I advocating the use of technology to enhance internal development?
- practitioners I respect have achieved great results using binaural beats
- the science behind it is longstanding and pretty solid (see below).
The argument for brain entrainment
The benefits of meditation are amazing. Yet, the number of people who attempt meditation and quit is high, usually due to initial difficulty focusing, lack of results, and limited access to quality teachers.
Binaural beats have the ability to reduce the learning curve and allow novice practitioners to immediately access the power of meditation.
What are the Benefits of Brain Entrainment?
A person’s dominant frequency determines one’s current state. Stress and lack of sleep contribute to higher frequency ranges. These higher frequency ranges are necessary in life but if we don’t get a break then sickness and injury result.
|Frequency range||Name||Usually associated with:|
|> 40 Hz||Gamma waves||Higher mental activity, including perception, problem solving, fear, and consciousness|
|13–39 Hz||Beta waves||Active, busy or anxious thinking and active concentration, arousal, cognition, and or paranoia|
|7–13 Hz||Alpha waves||Relaxation (while awake), pre-sleep and pre-wake drowsiness, REM sleep, Dreams|
|8–12 Hz||Mu waves||Mu rhythm, Sensorimotor rhythm|
|4–7 Hz||Theta waves||Deep meditation/relaxation, NREM sleep|
|< 4 Hz||Delta waves||Deep dreamless sleep, loss of body awareness|
Table adapted from Wikipedia: Electroencephalography
The science behind it
For sound localization, the human auditory system analyses time differences between both ears. Typically, when different frequencies are presented to each ear, the brain provides directional information. When the sounds are low in frequency and continual, an integration of the two signals takes place, producing the sensation of a third “beat.”
Evidence suggests that the binaural beats are generated in the brainstem’s superior olivary nucleus (Oster, 1973) or the inferior colliculus (Smith, Marsh, & Brown, 1975). The goal of binaural technology is to have the new beat match a desired brain wave state.
What does Brain Entrainment Sound Like?
Quick Neat History
Binaural technology is the result of three principle researchers building on each other’s findings. Heinrich Wilhelm Dove was a Prussian researcher primarily interested in the relationship between energy such as sound and magnetism and the earth. He discovered binaural beats in 1839 and “produced a unique perception of interfering beats.”
In 1973, Gerald Oster published the collected studies to date on binaural beats, studied animals ability to locate to sound, and discovered that Parkinson’s patients could not create an independent tone when hearing binaural beats. This set the stage for binaural beats to become the subject of cognitive and neurological research.
Robert Monroe, et. al., of the now famous Monroe Institute in Virginia began using binaural soundtracks to facilitate exploration and replication of specific altered states of consciousness. Their research has included an estimated 20,000 participants and has advanced the specificity between binaural tones and cognitive response.
Enter stage left the Internet and digital media and now we don’t have to travel to Virginia to get the same benefits.
What are the benefits of Brain Entrainment?
Google that question I dare you. Wow, and I wonder why people think that meditative practices are followed by nutters. Many, many, many claims have been made about the benefits of binaural beats. Three have been substantiated.
Enhanced meditation practice from use of brain entrainment:
- Specifically: Further movement along the spectrum from a negative state and erratic thinking to focus and a state of bliss
- Why: Meditation states are quantifiable through brain imagery. Deeper meditation reaches Alpha and Theta states which is akin to happier and healthier awareness
Increased mental abilities from use of brain entrainment:
- Specifically: Problem-solving and creativity
- Why: They create a synchronicity between two hemispheres enabling you to think more holistically
Reduction in stress from use of binaural beats:
- Specifically: Cutting down on mental chatter and aligning with positive thought
- Why: Alignment with cognitive frequencies that promote a calm nervous system
How do you use brain entrainment?
Here is the beauty of binaural beats. You can really “stink” at meditation and begin to benefit from the process. I still meditate in quiet but have found the binaural beats can make my meditation deeper. Additionally, I think I am more productive creatively at work when I use the beats regularly. I can’t prove this scientifically but there is a definite correlation between writing output and binaural beat use. The how is easy. Here is what you do:
- Find a comfortable place free of distraction.
- Research shows that you only need 7 minutes (!) to reach entrainment but people benefit the most from crossing the 15 minute mark.
- Eyes closed or if your eyes are open focus on something like a candle or point
What is the best brain entrainment product?
I have been researching different options for binaural beats. There are tons of companies out there offering many products at different price points.
The best to date is Trypnaural Meditation. Not only can you choose different meditations based on your own goals, but there are:
1. Different, affordable price points
2. Downloadable documents to help improve your meditation
3. Assistance both with the products as well as support to get the most out of your meditation.
4. A 60 day money-back guarantee. 30 days like the other companies offer is too short for you to truly benefit from the meditation and make sure it is right for you.
Now is the time to try meditation
Not many of the other companies can say all of this. Meditation is one investment of time that serves ALL of your life’s goals. If you have considered trying to meditate and have been putting it off. If you have tried unsuccessfully. If you meditate and want to raise the bar. Price, accessibility, and technology prove that now is the time.
Blauert, J.: Spatial hearing – the psychophysics of human sound localization; MIT Press; Cambridge, Massachusetts (1983), ch. 2.4
Griffin AL, Asaka Y, Darling RD, Berry SD (2004). “Theta-contingent trial presentation accelerates learning rate and enhances hippocampal plasticity during trace eyeblink conditioning”. Behav. Neurosci. 118 (2): 403–11.
Gu X, Wright BA, Green DM (1995). “Failure to hear binaural beats below threshold”.The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 97 (1): 701–703.
Saxby E, Peniston EG (1995). “Alpha-theta brainwave neurofeedback training: an effective treatment for male and female alcoholics with depressive symptoms”. Journal of clinical psychology 51 (5): 685–93.
Wahbeh H, Calabrese C, Zwickey H, Zajdel J (2007). “Binaural Beat Technology in Humans: A Pilot Study to Assess Neuropsychologic, Physiologic, And Electroencephalographic Effects”. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine 13(2): 199–206.
The – the brain produces a response (binaural beat) which is hearing and responding to the difference between the tones, not the actual tones themselves.