In the early 1900’s, it was discovered that our brain emits pulses of electrical signals that form distinctive patterns called brainwaves. The four primary brainwaves are Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta arranged from fastest to slowest frequency. Each type of brainwave has unique benefits that are associated with specific states of consciousness. Our emotions, mood, and biological chemistry are all impacted by our brainwaves which change according to what we’re thinking and feeling.
Since most of us spend our days in the Beta state which reflects our normal waking consciousness, I will be focusing on the Alpha, Theta, and Delta frequencies and how we can incorporate the benefits of these brainwaves into our daily lives. Brainwave speed is measured in Hertz (cycles per second).
What is Brainwave Entrainment?
Brainwave entrainment is a process of stimulating the brain into a specific state of consciousness by using a pulsing sound, light, or electromagnetic field. The pulses elicit the brain’s ‘frequency following’ response, encouraging the brainwaves to align to the frequency of the given beat. This is called Brainwave Entrainment. This blog will be focusing on audio entrainment which uses sound, i.e. music.
When are these brainwaves present?
When the slower brainwaves are overly dominant, we may feel groggy, sluggish, dreamy or tired. When the faster brainwaves are overly dominant, we can feel hyper-alert, anxious, stressed out, or paranoid. Multiple brain waves can occur at the same time, but there is typically one brainwave that is dominant at any given time.
- Alpha (7-13 Hz) – during meditation or fully present in the moment with a quiet state of mind.
- Theta (4-7 Hz) – on the threshold of sleep, upon waking up from sleep, or deep meditation.
- Delta (0-4 Hz) – during deep sleep, the unconscious and subconscious realm.
Using Music To Entrain Your Brain
Audio brainwave entrainment works in two ways. The first method is delivering music incorporated with binaural beats. For this type, you need headphones because the left and right ears need to receive two separate frequencies for the brain to perceive the third frequency. Let’s say we feed 400 Hz into one ear and 404 Hz into the other. The brain perceives a third frequency at the mathematical difference between the two, which is 4 Hz. The brain follows along at this frequency and is entrained. The second method is isotones. Isochronic tones differ from binaural beats in that they use a single tone, not two. Because they use a single pulsating tone to penetrate the left and right hemispheres of the brain, they do not require headphones.
How To Apply The Music
There are two ways that you can listen to music embedded with specific brainwave frequencies in order to benefit from their qualities: with headphones or without headphones. Which is better?
- With Headphones – In order to obtain the maximum benefit from your sound tones, it is recommended to listen to binaural beats with headphones. The binaural audio layer of the technology needs stereo headphones in order to work correctly. For those of you who are serious about healing your addictions, I recommend using this method.
- Without Headphones – Listening to brainwave entrainment music without headphones still brings you the benefits of relaxation as the ambient background music has a calming effect on your entire nervous system. The isochronic audio layer of the technology does not require headphones and can work with regular open-air speakers.
Brainwaves Can Help These Patterns
ALPHA – Use Alpha brainwaves when you want to study for exams, focus at work, be more present, increase your creativity, sharpen your problem solving skills, release fears/phobias/addictions.
THETA – Use Theta brainwaves when you want to feel inspired, combat depression, strengthen your intuition, increase your creativity, sharpen your problem solving skills, release fears/phobias/addictions.
DELTA – Use Delta brainwaves to improve your sleep, rejuvenate your health, and restore your immune system.
Addictions Can Be Healed
A 2005 study published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse (Scott et al) looked at 121 patients going through an inpatient substance abuse program. Alpha & Theta brainwave entrainment technology was used to put the patients’ brainwave patterns into the Alpha & Theta states. After one year, 77% patients were completely drug free.
- Traits of People with Addiction
- Lack of GABA
- Beta waves dominate
- Dopamine levels rise & fall
- Traits of People with Brainwave Entrainment
- Optimal Levels of GABA
- Alpha & Theta waves dominate
- Dopamine levels rise & remain steady
GABA: The calm brain chemical.
Beta Waves: Normal waking consciousness.
Dopamine: The euphoria-producing brain chemical.
The author, Susan Kapatoes, MHA is the founder of Inspire Your Journey, a holistic wellness company. She is a Wellness Partner with Amare Global, and an Independent Distributor with BEMER Therapy and Healy World. She lives in Massachusetts.
EOC Institute (2021). How Brainwave Entrainment With EquiSync® Can Change Your Life. Retrieved from https://eocinstitute.org/meditation/7-reasons-meditation-can-naturally-beat-addiction/
H Choi, Y Bang, I Yoon (2020). 0505 Insomnia: Entrapment of Binaural Auditory Beats on Subjects with Insomnia Symptoms, Sleep, Volume 43, Issue Supplement_1, page A193, https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsaa056.502
Khajehpour H, Makkiabadi B, Ekhtiari H, Bakht S, Noroozi A, Mohagheghian F (2019). Disrupted resting-state brain functional network in methamphetamine abusers: A brain source space study by EEG. PLoS ONE 14(12): e0226249. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0226249
Scott WC, Kaiser D, Othmer S, Sideroff SI (2005). Effects of an EEG biofeedback protocol on a mixed substance abusing population. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. Volume 31(3):455-69. doi: 10.1081/ada-200056807. PMID: 16161729. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16161729