Kaz - Brain Entrainment

 

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Brain Entrainment refers to the human brain's electrical response to rhythmic sensory stimulation and programming, such as pulses of sound or light.

 

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Kaz Psychic - Brain Entrainment


Brain Entrainment is a principle of physics. It is defined as the synchronization of two or more rhythmic cycles. The principles of entrainment appear in chemistry, neurology, biology, pharmacology, medicine, astronomy and more.

 

Brain Entrainment

Brain Entrainment

 

Brain Entrainment

Brain Entrainment refers to the human brain's electrical response to rhythmic sensory stimulation and programming, such as pulses of sound or light.

 

Defined as the synchronization of two or more rhythmic cycles

Brain Entrainment is a principle of physics. It is defined as the synchronization of two or more rhythmic cycles.

 

The principles of entrainment appear in chemistry, neurology, biology, pharmacology, medicine, astronomy and more.

 

Christian Huygens

CASE IN POINT: While working on the design of the pendulum clock in 1656, Dutch scientist Christian Huygens found that if he placed two unsynchronized clocks side by side on a wall, they would slowly synchronize to each other. In fact, the synchronization was so precise not even mechanical intervention could calibrate them more accurately.

 

"Cortical Evoked Response" (CER)

When the human brain is given a stimulus, through the ears or the eyes, or indeed other senses, it emits an electrical charge in response, called a "Cortical Evoked Response" (CER). As shown in the diagram below:

 

Brain Entrainment Cortival Evoked Response diagram

"Cortical Evoked Response" (CER).

 

These electrical responses travel throughout the brain to become what you see and hear. This activity can be measured by using sensitive electrodes attached to the scalp.

 

"Frequency Following Response" (FFR)

When the brain is presented with a rhythmic stimulus, such as a drum beat, the rhythm is reproduced in the brain in the form of these electrical impulses.

 

If the rhythm becomes fast and consistent enough, it can then 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" (FFR).

 

 

Brain Entrainment Frequency Following Response Diagram

"Frequency Following Response" (FFR).

 

FFR can be very useful, because brainwaves are very much related to mental state. For example, a 4Hz brainwave is associated with sleep, so a 4Hz sound pattern would help produce the same sleep state in the human brain.

 

The same concept can be applied in many other mental states, including concentration, relaxation and meditation.

 

What are brainwaves?

Your brain is made up of billions of brain cells called neurons, which use electricity to communicate with each other.

 

EEG

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 medical equipment (such as an EEG), measuring electricity levels over areas of the scalp.

 

Brainwave pattern

The combination of electrical activity of the brain is commonly called a brainwave pattern, because of its cyclic, "wave-like" nature.

 

Below is one of the first recordings of brain activity:

 

EEG Recording

 

One of the first recordings of brain activity

 

 

Here is a more modern EEG recording:

 

Brain Entrainment EEG

EEG recording

 

Brainwave frequencies

With the discovery of brainwaves came the discovery that electrical activity in the brain will change depending on what the person is doing. For instance, the brainwaves of a sleeping person are vastly different than the brainwaves of someone wide awake.

 

Over the years, more sensitive equipment has brought us closer to figuring out exactly what brainwaves represent and with that, what they mean about a person's health and state of mind.

 

Brainwave types and their associated mental states

Here is a table showing the known brainwave types and their associated mental states:

 

Wave
Frequency
Associated Mental State
Gamma 27 Hz and up

Gamma is associated with the formation of ideas, language and memory processing, and various types of learning. Gamma waves have been shown to disappear during deep sleep induced by anesthesia, but return with the transition back to a wakeful state.

Beta 12hz - 27hz

Wide awake. This is generally the mental state most people are in during the day and most of their waking lives. Usually, this state in itself is uneventful, but don't underestimate its importance. Many people lack sufficient beta activity, which can cause mental or emotional disorders such as depression and ADD and insomnia. And low SMR production (a sub-range of beta at 12-15hz) may be related to insomnia. Stimulating beta activity can improve emotional stability, energy levels, attentiveness and concentration.

Alpha 8hz - 12hz

Awake but relaxed and not processing much information. When you get up in the morning and just before sleep, you are naturally in this state. When you close your eyes your brain automatically starts producing more alpha waves.

Many studies monitoring the EEG activity of experienced meditators have revealed strong increases in alpha activity. Alpha activity has also been connected to the ability to recall memories, lessened discomfort and pain, and reductions in stress and anxiety.

Theta 3hz - 8hz

Light sleep or extreme relaxation.

Theta is also a very receptive mental state that has proven useful for hypnotherapy, as well as self-hypnosis using recorded affirmations and suggestions.

Delta 0.2hz - 3hz Deep, dreamless sleep. Delta is the slowest band of brainwaves. When your dominant brainwave is delta, your body is healing itself and "resetting" its internal clocks. You do not dream in this state and are completely unconscious.

 

Brainwaves in relation to the different states of consciousness:

(State Specific Science)

Brainwaves and consciousness

Brainwave Frequencies diagram

Brainwave Frequencies Diagram

 

 

The significance of brainwaves

You can tell a lot about a person simply by observing their brainwave patterns. For example, anxious people tend to produce an overabundance of high beta waves while people with ADD/ADHD tend to produce an overabundance of slower alpha/theta brainwaves.

 

Change a person's mental state

Researchers have found that not only are brainwaves representative of of mental state, but they can be stimulated to change a person's mental state, and this in turn can help with a variety of mental issues.

 

Any stimulus can be used

Many people were introduced to brainwave entrainment through binaural beats, so it is important to note that they are not the only way the brain can be entrained. In fact, the brain is affected by any kind of rhythmic stimuli. Clicks, drum beats, light flickers, and even physical vibrations or electric pulses have all been proven to effectively entrain the brain. However, to have a significant effect on one's mental state, the stimuli must configured correctly and be precisely timed.

 

Embedded Entrainment

There are ways of embedding the precise and rapid modulations needed for entrainment into sound files or white noise, without distorting the music. This is important because people tend to find audible beats difficult to listen to at first.

 

Without headphones

Some entrainment methods used in NP3 do not rely on speaker assignments, and therefore can be used without headphones or any special speaker assignments. For veteran users of brainwave entrainment, this may seem strange since headphones have always been a traditional part of the brain training experience. The reality of the matter is that headphones have never been required for use with anything except binaural beats.

 

Brief history of Brainwave Entrainment

Brainwave entrainment was first identified in 1934, although its effects had been noted as early as Ptolemy.

 

Hans Berger - Alpha brainwave

Not long after the discovery of the Alpha brainwave by Hans Berger in 1929, researchers found that the strength of the wave could be "driven" beyond its natural frequency using flickering lights. This is called "Photic Driving", which is another word for brainwave entrainment using photic (light) stimulation. In 1942 Dempsey and Morrison discovered that repetitive tactile stimulation could also produce entrainment and in 1959, Dr. Chatrian observed auditory entrainment in response to clicks at a frequency of 15 per second.

 

Photic stimulation

By the 1960s entrainment started to become a tool rather than a phenomenon of the brain. Anesthesiologist M.S. Sadove, MD, used photic stimulation to reduce the amount of anesthesia needed for surgery.

 

Bernard Margolis

Bernard Margolis published an article on brainwave entrainment used during dental procedures, noting less anesthesia required, less gagging, less bleeding and a general reduction in anxiety.

 

Dr Gerald Oster - Binaural and Monaural beats

In a 1973 issue of Scientific American, Dr. Gerald Oster examined how combining 2 pure tones resulted in a rhythmic beat which he called Binaural and Monaural beats. In comparing Binaural beats against Monaural beats, Oster noted that Monaural beats were shown to elicit extremely strong cortical responses, which is the electrical activity responsible for entrainment.

 

Neurological disorders

Oster concluded that while Binaural beats produced very little neural response (because the depth of a Binaural Beat is only 3db or 1/10 the volume of a whisper), they could be useful in diagnosing certain neurological disorders.

 

Dr. Glen Solomon

In the 1980's studies continued with Dr. Glen Solomon and others researching entrainment for headache relief as well as general relaxation.

 

Arturo Manns - Isochronic Tones

In 1981, Arturo Manns published a study showing the effectiveness of Isochronic Tones as a means of audio-based brainwave entrainment. This was later confirmed by others such as David Siever.

 

Michael Hutchison - "Mega Brain" 

Michael Hutchison also wrote his landmark book Mega Brain in 1981, outlining the many possible uses of entrainment from meditation to enhancing creativity. In 1980, Tsuyoshi Inouye and associates at the Department of Neuropsychiatry at Osaka University Medical School in Japan found that photic stimulation produced "cerebral synchronization". The effect was confirmed in 1984 when Dr. Brockopp analyzed audio-visual brain stimulation and hemispheric synchronization during EEG monitoring.

 

ADD and learning disorders, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Hypertension

Studies continued into the 90's with researchers such as Dr. Russell and Dr. Carter who explored the potential of using entrainment with ADD and learning disorders. Research has also been conducted into Chronic Fatigue, Chronic Pain, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Hypertension and a number of other disorders.

 

Brainwave entrainment research

Brainwave entrainment research continues today with the work of Dr. Thomas Budzynski, David Siever, psychologist Michael Joyce, Dr. Tina Huang and many others.

 

Neuroprogrammer

Below is a diagram showing an EEG Recording. Spectrogram View (4-30), ~1.2 minute time lapse, middle of an Alpha session from the Neuro-Programmer

 

Alpha EEG Diagram

Alpha EEG session diagram

 

Binaural Beats

The most well known form of brainwave entrainment is binaural beats, where a slightly different tone is presented into each ear. When pure tones are mixed together, their waveforms add and subtract from one another, resulting in a pulse.

In the case of binaural beats, the two tones are mixed by the brain itself (one in each ear).

 

The pulses, called "beats," formed by mixing these tones is what causes entrainment to occur. Like those pictured below:

 

 

Binaural Beats and waves

"Beats"

 

Monaural Beats

Monaural beats are based on the same concept as binaural beats - combining two tones to form a beat. The difference is that monaural beats are formed when two tones combine digitally or naturally before the sound reaches the ears, as opposed to combining in the brain like binaural beats.

 

Isochronic Tones

Isochronic tones are evenly spaced tone pulses. Unlike binaural and monaural beats, isochronic tones do not rely on the combination of two tones - the "beat" is created manually by turning a tone on and off. Widely regarded as the most effective tone-based method,

 

isochronic tones produce very strong cortical responses in the brain. Many people who do not respond well to binaural beats often respond very well to isochronic tones.

 

Here is an example of what an isochronic tone pattern looks like:  

 

Isochronic waves

Isochronic waves

 

 

Why not use just Binaural Beats?

Binaural beats have become very popular over the years, and for many people the idea of "brainwave entrainment" is inseparable from them. But there are numerous other ways to stimulate the brain, many of which are more effective.

 

We use methods beyond just binaural beats for many reasons:

 

1) Binaural beats require headphones or special speaker assignments. This can be difficult for people who find headphones uncomfortable, and also can prevent brainwave entrainment from being easily used for purposes such as sleep induction.

 

2) Binaural beats are not capable of entraining the brain hemispheres individually (because they require BOTH ears). This can be a major disadvantage because many of the modern entrainment protocols used in clinical work today involve separate stimulation to each ear- which is useful for deeper meditation and especially for cognitive enhancement.

 

3) Binaural beats are not as effective as more modern entrainment methods, though they do remain the most interesting. Dr. Gerald Oster, in the 1973 issue of the "Scientific American", introduced binaural beats to the mainstream.

 

"Beat" is only around 3db, or 1/10th the volume of a whisper

According to Oster, because of the way the brain processes binaural beats, the depth or intensity of the resulting "beat" is only around 3db, or 1/10th the volume of a whisper (which is why the "beats" are usually so hard to detect). He concluded that binaural beats produced very small evoked potentials within the auditory cortex of the brain, while monaural beats and other methods produced far greater potentials.

 

In the brain, a binaural beat would look something like this:

 

Binaural beats wave pattern

Binaural beat

 

Notice how shallow the wave is.

The above pulse would be barely detectable.

 

Monaural beat

On the other hand, a monaural beat, or sine wave pulse, looks like this:

 

Monaural beats

Monaural beat

 

Which do you think will leave more of an electrical imprint on the brain, based on what we know about cortical potentials?

 

David Siever

It is because of these differences that it has been concluded by many researchers, such as David Siever, that binaural beats are not likely to produce much actual brainwave entrainment at all.

 

Dale Foster (Memphis State University, 1990)

It remains true that some studies have shown that binaural beats do produce a limited amount of brainwave entrainment. A study done by Dale Foster (Memphis State University, 1990) showed that binaural beats DO entrain the brain. Unfortunately, the beats did not produce any more of the target brainwave (alpha) than an artificially generated surf sound, which was acting as a control. This study shows that while binaural beats can be useful, additional techniques are needed to entrain the brain to the levels most people need. 

 

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I hope you have found this an interesting and 'mind blowing' read?!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Bright positive blessings,

Kaz xx

 

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