We know that our brain consists of billions of nerve cells called neurons. Every little thing we do or think, results in neurons communicating with each other.
How do neurons communicate?
transmitting electrical signals between them. This constant flutter of
electrical activity in our brain generates a wavelike pattern - hence
referred to as brainwaves.
Every wave pattern has a
frequency, which is the number of cycles of the wave per second, and
brainwaves are no different. And different brainwave frequencies
represent different states of our mental activity.
Studies have corroborated that different brainwave frequencies correspond to different states of our mind.
The significance of knowing about each of these different brainwaves and the states of mind they result in, comes into play with the possibility that those states of mind can actually be induced in us, simply by altering our frequency.
In other words, if we want to achieve a deep and relaxed state of mind, we can possibly get there by altering our brainwave frequency from beta to alpha or theta.
Such an alteration of our brainwave frequency, to match the frequency corresponding to our intended state of mind, is called Brainwave Entrainment or Brainwave Synchronization.
There are several devices available today, which aim to help us reach our desired state of consciousness. Most of these are audio, while some are visual, and a few use both technologies.
Audio devices use beats and tones to "train" our brain to attain the frequency of our desired state of mind. These work on the principle that vibrations of one object can cause another object to pick up similar vibrations.
if there is a dominating external vibration, our brain may follow suit
and change its current frequency, and pick up the external one.
Some of the ways used to achieve this effect include:
If two audible beats at slightly different frequencies are played in our two different ears, the difference between frequencies of these beats, although inaudible to our ears, can be picked up by our brain.
As binaural beats require two different audible frequencies to be played in two different ears, use of headphones is a must to achieve desired effect.
While binaural beats produce the "difference" effect in our brain, monaural does that in our ears. In other words, since both our ears need to "hear" both the beats to perceive the difference, monaural beats require a regular stereo player and not headphones.
These are regular beats with a single tone, as opposed to dual
beats in binaural and monaural beats. For this reason, Isochronic
tones do not require headphones, but they can still be used if
Visual and audio-visual brainwave synchronization devices use flashes of light, along with or instead of beats and tones, to achieve similar effects.
Brainwave entrainment is not widely accepted as a medical solution for disorders, mainly because of the limited scientific research in that area.
But it is used by many people to achieve self improvement goals.
Some of these
include increasing self esteem and confidence, enhancing creativity, improving learning ability, reducing anxiety and feeling relaxed in general.