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brainwave Synchronization and Brainwave entrainmenT

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?

By 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.

brainwave frequencies

Studies have corroborated that different brainwave frequencies correspond to different states of our mind.

  • When we are at our most mentally alert state, our brain generates Beta waves, whose frequency ranges from approximately 13 to 30 cycles per second. Dominance of beta waves implies our mind is actively engaged, and we are alert, conscious and concentrating.
  • When we are in a relaxed state, our brain activity slows down (no wonder, right?), and that generates Alpha waves. The frequency range of alpha waves is 8 to 13 cycles per second, and their predominance in our brain suggests that we are at rest, relaxed, reflecting, meditating or daydreaming.
  • Even slower states are possible, and these occur when we are - as you may have guessed it - not fully conscious. If the frequency of our brainwaves drops to about 4 to 8 cycles per second, we call those Theta waves. Predominance of theta brainwaves suggest that we are in a deeply relaxed state and possibly dreaming.
  • If brainwaves slowdown even further, we hit the Delta state. The frequency of delta waves is less than 4 cycles per second, and when these dominate our brain, we are in a dreamless, deep sleep state, and fully unconscious.

brainwave synchronization

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.

how does brainwave synchronization occur

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.

So, 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:

binaural beats:

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.

monaural beats:

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.

isochronic tones:

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 available.

Visual and audio-visual brainwave synchronization devices use flashes of light, along with or instead of beats and tones, to achieve similar effects.

Brainwave Synchronization for Self Improvement

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.

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