What is Brainwave Entrainment?
What’s old is new again – Brainwave Entrainment history
Modern study of what’s become known as brainwave entrainment began in the 1920’s with Hans Berger who discovered electroencephalography (EEG), and also the Alpha brainwave. We say “modern” study because there is ample evidence that ancient cultures also practiced forms of brainwave manipulation, albeit in a much more low-tech fashion than what we have available to us today. Spoken incantations, drumbeats, and repeated mantras were all used by shamans and other initiates (depending on the society, this was often guarded and secret knowledge) the world over, to induce higher levels of consciousness, personal development, and gnosis. If you have meditated with mantras like the sacred word Aum (Om), or if you have practiced galdr singing, or another type of ritual chanting, then you understand that there is something powerful about the vibratory experience those sounds create. Some may even call the outcome transformative.
Fast-forward to the 20th century and we see the introduction of EEG equipment and strobe lights used by scientists to reproduce positive brainwave effects with the hopes of curing a host of mental and physical disorders. Literally hundreds of studies have been completed since the 1960’s involving the use of audio and visual stimulation on brainwaves for both very practical purposes, as well as the less-tangible psychological and even psychical effects they might influence. Experiments have been conducted to test how brainwave entrainment can impact things like:
- ADHD and behavioral issues in children
- Lessen the need for anesthesia during dental work
- Stress and anxiety reduction
- Memory improvement
- Body chemistry regulation (DHEA, serotonin levels, etc.)
- Achievement of higher states of consciousness
…and numerous other areas of importance.
With the widespread use of psychedelics in the 1960’s and the West’s newfound affinity for ancient meditation-based cultures, the interest in mind expansion techniques fueled the increased use of Binuaral Beats, and later, Isochronic Tones to become the basis for most modern entrainment methods.
Isochronic Tones and Binaural Beats
For scientific purposes, Binaural Beats were first tested by using tuning forks or similar-type instruments. Two different instruments when struck would each yield a slightly different tone, and by holding one to the right ear of a subject and the other to the left, the difference between the two frequencies is created by the brain, actually making a third tone. Later, frequencies were more easily created by machines and their impact on the brain could be much more accurately recorded with EEG.
Even some of the earliest experiments found positive correlations between use of Binaural Beats at calibrated frequencies, and physical and mental benefits like reduced stress, reduced cortisol levels, and increases in certain “good” hormones.
If Binaural Beats technology sounds revolutionary, it is only surpassed by the introduction of Isochronic tones for use in brainwave entrainment. The 1980’s really saw an increased look into Isochronic technology and books like Megabrain by Michael Hutchinson really launched interest in increased experimentation for this medium. Indeed the majority of studies that showed positive outcomes on areas like enhanced creativity, pain relief, and behavioral disorders in the last 30 years used Isochronic tones in their tests. The availability of vast volumes of data and amazing discoveries is the prime reason we have used Isochronic tone technology in the creation of our meditation programs.
MP3 Meditation Club Programs
There are more than 75 different brainwave entrainment subjects offered by MP3 Meditation Club, and each one helps with a different problem. Some of the most common uses include reducing stress, exploring altered states of consciousness, enhancing creativity for art or one’s career, optimizing physical performance, getting more out of yoga, getting better quality sleep, and improving mood. Many people have written us stating that after years of failing with meditation on their own, they finally achieved their goals with the help of our brainwave MP3 Isochronic programs.
So how do we take the science and make it usable? We create beautiful-sounding natural music recordings that include rainfall, waves, bells, and other sounds and lay that over top of the Isochronic tones selected for each track. Note that we do not use dominant pianos, or guitars, or other such instruments as we believe they are distracting to many and inhibit the benefits of the frequencies chosen for each piece based on related scientific research. Our “Affirmations” programs employ the addition of soothing, repetitive verbal affirmations that fade into subliminal background sounds as the tracks play on. Entrainment happens with the inaudible frequency tones, or pulses, embedded in the recordings. The musical sounds mask the actual carrier Isochronic tones. They are really two functions working together – the pleasant relaxing audible sounds, and the magic underneath. When they interact the whole brain gets thoroughly stimulated to provide an optimum experience.
Based on the findings in the available research, 60 minutes a day is recommended for enjoying the benefits of Isochronics. It’s also said that as the brain becomes more “entrained”, that shorter sessions, like 20 minutes become just as effective. Further, our findings at MP3 Meditation Club and feedback from our customers says that certain programs we offer such as “Power Nap” and “Increase Energy” work immediately with only 20-30 minute sessions. (However, 60 minutes does appear to do even better for these cases).
We recommend one session a day; two would be the maximum and we urge people using 2 sessions to put several hours between each one. It is a form of exercise after all! Headphones are not required for Isochronic tones (unlike Binaural Beats, which do require headphones), but our team personally prefers headphones, of the over-the-ear variety (not earbuds).
We don’t pretend that brainwave entrainment is a replacement for modern medicine, and our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. While there have been terrible drawbacks to some drug treatments and other medical therapies over the decades, there have also been wonderful advancements. We have never found a documented case of Isochronic tones causing any adverse reaction in people, but in an abundance of caution, if you have a pre-existing condition like epilepsy or cardio-vascular issues we recommend that you speak with your physician before using any brainwave mp3 just to get his or her approval first.
People who meditate with our programs generally feel something the first time, and based on the program and the goals of the listener, results come at different rates. Example: “Lucid Dreaming” may not yield a truly lucid dream on the very first listen, but you will have a pretty fantastic meditation nonetheless. Over time and with practice, amazing benefits can be realized such as being less anxious, feeling a greater connectedness to other people and the Cosmos, more focus, astral travel, more creativity and some very profound spiritual gnosis.