Electroencephalography (EEG) is a study of changing electrical potential of the brain. The apparatus used to measure this electric potential of the brain is called electroencephalograph, and the tracing or the printout of the measured brainwave forms is electroencephalogram.
Frequency is the number of complete repetitive waves that occur in a given unit of time. Frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz) or cycles per second (cps). According to their frequency brainwaves are divided into 4 main groups, also referred to as "brain states"
EEG Brainwave Sample
State of Consciousness
|Fully Awake and Alert Generally associated with left-brain thinking activity - conscious mind|
8 - 13 cps
|Relaxed, Daydreaming Generally associated with right-brain thinking activity - subconscious mind - a key state for "relaxation"|
|Deeply Relaxed, Dreaming Generally associated with right-brain thinking activity - deeper subconscious to superconscious Access to insights, bursts of creative ideas - a key state for "reality creation" through vivid imagery|
|Dreamless Generally associated with no thinking - unconscious / superconscious Access to non-physical states of existence - a key state for "regeneration" and "rejuvenation"|
Some research has been done associated with the activities and benefits of other brainwave frequencies, such as Super Beta, Gamma, etc.
The lower your brainwave cps, the more is your awareness turned toward your subjective experience, toward your inner world and the more effectively are you able to use the power of your mind to create changes in your body. With each lower state you become more fully aligned with the source of power within you, with your unconscious, or if you prefer, with that part of you that is greater than you (your body).
Generally in Beta state, your attention is focused outward. In alpha it begins to turn inward, and in theta and delta it goes further and further inward. The deeper you go, the more effectively are you able to enter your subconscious.
You can imagine that at the borderline between Beta and Alpha States is a doorway to your subconscious mind, and the doorway consists of what is hypnosis referred to as your "critical faculty".
And you can imagine that at the borderline between Alpha and Theta states is a doorway to your superconscious mind, where you begin to gain access to your "supernatural abilities", which for most people manifest as bursts of insight. The more time you spend in this state, even if you're not intentionally attempting to create a change, the more of these "abilities" begin to become part of you - you may simply notice that the time-lag between what you think and it's manifestation in your outer world becomes shorter and shorter.
And you can imagine that at the borderline that at the borderline between Theta and Delta, you're beginning to say "good-bye" to your physical experience of the world, as you're getting altogether into experiencing yourself as non-physical being. Here your body is only a thought in your mind. If you are able to maintain your consciousness at this level, you can effect instant changes in the outer world. In this state, you can transcend the "laws of the physical world" because you're not bound by them any more.
Whenever you think, you expand energy. In deep, dreamless Delta state, where your mind is fully resting, your body has the best opportunity to regenerate.
With meditative practice and self-hypnosis, you develop ability to remain conscious while getting progressively into deeper and deeper states. For example, a person without any mind training will tend to fall asleep when getting into theta state, while a person who has undergone some form of meditative mind-training will be able to be very deeply relaxed, yet conscious. The more you are able to remain conscious while in deeper states of mind, the less sleep will your require.
Brainwave Entrainment and Synchronization
|Synchronized Brainwave Patterns Enhanced Ability||Incoherent Brainwave Patterns Limited Ability|
Brainwave synchronization technology provides a shortcut to experiencing deeper states of mind giving you an opportunity to access higher states of consciousness and extraordinary abilities in very short time through brainwave entrainment. This way you can experience almost immediately the effects that took someone years of meditation to achieve. And the process is effortless. All you need to do is use the headphones.
Here's how the principle of entrainment works. Entrainment is the process of synchronization, where vibrations of one object will cause the vibrations of another object to oscillate at the same rate. External rhythms have a direct effect on the psychology and physiology of the individual.
You can observe these principles anywhere in nature as ultimately everything is made out of energy that resonates at a specific frequency. If you put several pendulum clocks on the wall and set them to swing at different rates, in time they will get synchronized, all of them swinging in unison. It has been noted tad women sleeping in the same dormitory whose periods would occur at different times of the month, would in time tend to synchronize their periods. People who live together for many years, may even tend to look alike, as their energies are becoming synchronized. Another side effect would be increased telepathic ability between them - they'd just find that they would think the same thought at the same time, and perhaps surprise themselves by saying out loud the same word at the same time. In NLP, the entrainment with another person is often intentionally done through matching a breathing pattern.
The application of the principle of brainwave entrainment to alter states of mind is not new. Drumming and chanting have been used in different cultures to create rhythmic patterns which would stimulate altered states of consciousness .
With technology this process has gone digital through the use of binaural beats. This is accomplished by sending two different sounds (tones) to each ear through stereo headphones. The two hemispheres of the brain then work in unison to "hear" the third signal, which is not played, but rather produced as a result of difference in frequency between two beats that are heard. Sending specific frequencies to each ear entrains the brain to enter effortlessly a specific state of mind.
If the left ear is presented with a steady tone of 400Hz and the right ear a steady tone of 407Hz, these two tones combine in the brain. The difference, 7Hz, is perceived by the brain and is a very effective stimulus for brainwave entrainment. This 7Hz is formed entirely by the brain. When using stereo headphones, the left and right sounds do not mix together until in your brain. The frequency difference, when perceived by brain this way, is called a binaural beat. All Deep Trance Now Recordings are now enhanced with brainwave synchronization to help you entered the appropriate states of mind that would enable you to create desired changes effortlessly.
Excerpt from the Research on the Influence of Brain Wave Synchronization On Pain Relief
Originally Published: J Neurol Orthop Med Surg (1996) 17:32-34, The Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Medicine and Surgery, Vol. 17, No. 1, 1996 Authors: Richard H. Cox, Ph.D., MD, C. Norman Shealy, MD, Ph.D., Roger K. Cady, MD, Saul Liss, Ph.D. This research was supported in part by a grant from the Life Science Foundation.
Although it has been known since shortly after the development of the EEG that brain wave activity "follows" repetitive light and sound frequencies', and experiments using brain wave synchronization (BOOS) as a tool to assist in relaxation and induction of the focused state of hypnosis were done as early as 1948, the first brain wave synchronizer (BOOS) was introduced commercially in 1958 by Sidney A. Schneider. Schneider and coworkers specifically noted that over 90% of approximately 2,500 subjects treated by 1959 had had induced light to deep hypnotic trance with the use of the BOOS. His instrument consisted of a photic stimulator, controlled by the therapist or client, with variable frequencies ranging from low delta (0-1 Hz) to beta frequency (above 13 Hz). Schneider noted that each individual became entrained at a specific frequency which led to a "a rainbow effect, fingers tingling, eyelids heavy, complete relaxation," "a whirlpool effect, anesthesia, or dissociation" - "The point of least resistance" for that individual to enter a trance state, assisted by audiotapes or a live hypnotic induction.
The editor of HYPNOSIS QUARTERLY reported rapid induction of a deep trance in a previously unhypnotizable subject using BOOS, to the depth of cataplexy, analgesia and amnesia3.
The JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION in March, 1959, mentioned the "hypnosis machine" which could be used to speed up hypnotic induction and to "help make labor and delivery a more gratifying experience by reducing discomfort and the need for excessive analgesia and anesthesia."4
In June 1966, Bernard S. Margolis, D.D.S.5, reported the BWS was "a valuable tool for allaying fears and apprehensions," and noted that coupled with hypnosis -
1. Patients required less anesthesia. 2. Some patients could have dental procedures without external anesthetics. 3. No physiologic depression occurred. 4. Healing was more rapid. 5. Gagging could be controlled. 6. The frequency could be controlled by the patient.
Dr. William A. Phillips reported "the reduction and control of high blood pressure of inorganic origin," with reduction of 10 to 40 mm. of Mercury, using only BWS without verbal hypnotic suggestion6. And Sadove emphasized the use of BWS to assist relaxation7.
Comparisons were made between cranial electrical stimulation (The Pain SuppressorO), several different models of light frequency BOOS, the Hemi-Sync tapes, and self-hypnosis audiotapes.
Patients were asked to grade their depth of relaxation and intensity of pain before and after 30 minutes of synchronization. Blood pressure and pulse measurements were also done before and after BOOS.
More recently we have also measured blood neurochemicals (NE, MEL, BE, ST, and CHE) before and after brain Shealy RelaxMate indicate: wave synchronization coupled with the self-hypnosis audiotape in eight individuals.
With Hemi-Sync tapes alone or self-hypnotic tapes alone, depths of relaxation were similar. Relaxation music and cranial electrical stimulation were slightly less effective than BWS (50% to 60% relaxation usually).
When brainwave stimulation was combined with self-hypnotic tapes, consistent relaxation depths of 70% to 100% were reported. In 72 patients in whom blood pressure, pulse, and pain intensity were measured, blood pressure and pulse were reduced 4% to 10% in 58 patients, and pain was decreased 30% to 100% in 60 patients (average over 50%). Almost invariably the combination of brainwave synchronization plus self-hypnosis was more effective than either alone. The blood pressure and pulse effects are compatible with the relaxation response. The degree of pain relief, however, is greater than that reported with the relaxation response alone.
In eight individuals, blood neurochemicals have been measured before and after 30 minutes of alpha rhythm (10 Hz) BOOS. Melatonin has been reduced 5% to 20% (average 6% decrease) and beta endorphin has been increased 10% to 50% (average 14% increase). Interestingly, these same individuals have an average increase in serotonin of 23% and an increase of norepinephrine by 18%.
Our experience with BWS coupled with guided mental relaxation exercises (BWS/SH) confirm Schneider's reports that at least 90% of individuals achieve deepened levels of focused relaxation with those techniques. Our results are also compatible with those of Benson and others who indicated that the relaxation response is a major stress reducer and assists the process of homeostasis'°.
The increase in beta endorphins after BWS/SH is associated with a sense of well-being and decreased pain. Even though blood pressure and pulse usually decrease with BWS/SH, the increases in norepinephrine and serotonin and the decrease in melatonin suggest an increased level of alertness. This may well be consistent with Schultz's description of poised alertness reported with autogenic training". Decreases in melatonin, as found, are to be expected with exposure to light and suggest that BSW may be useful for seasonal affective disorders.
It is interesting to speculate that various BWS rates might affect neurochemicals differently. Since most individuals choose the lowest theta rates, those rates might increase beta endorphins more without the increases in norepinephrine and/or serotonin. Further study needs to be done to elucidate potential differences. It has been noted that BWS for greater than 40 minutes often leaves individuals feeling groggy instead of alert immediately after a session. Thus, we recommend 15 minute sessions most of the time. Benson reported that two daily 20 minute deep relaxation sessions led to decreased insulin requirements and catecholamine production for up to 24 hours.
Finally, we have noted that BWS even without self-hypnosis leads to enhanced sleep induction, especially at the self- selected low theta rate. And return to sleep is more rapid with BWS if one awakens during the night and uses BWS to return to sleep.
Binaural beats are auditory brainstem responses which originate in the superior olivary nucleus of each hemisphere. They result from the interaction of two different auditory impulses, originating in opposite ears, below 1000 Hz and which differ in frequency between one and 30 Hz (Oster, 1973). For example, if a pure tone of 400 Hz is presented to the right ear and a pure tone of 410 Hz is presented simultaneously to the left ear, an amplitude modulated standing wave of 10 Hz, the difference between the two tones, is experienced as the two wave forms mesh in and out of phase within the superior olivary nuclei. This binaural beat is not heard in the ordinary sense of the word (the human range of hearing is from 20-20,000 Hz). It is perceived as an auditory beat and theoretically can be used to entrain specific neural rhythms through the frequency-following response (FFR)--the tendency for cortical potentials to entrain to or resonate at the frequency of an external stimulus. Thus, it is theoretically possible to utilize a specific binaural-beat frequency as a consciousness management technique to entrain a specific cortical rhythm.
Uses of audio with embedded binaural beats that are mixed with music or various pink or background sound are diverse. They range from relaxation, meditation, stress reduction, pain management, improved sleep quality, decrease in sleep requirements, super learning, enhanced creativity and intuition, remote viewing, telepathy, and out-of-body experience and lucid dreaming. Audio embedded with binaural beats is often combined with various meditation techniques, as well as positive affirmations and visualization.
When signals of two different frequencies are presented, one to each ear, the brain detects phase differences between these signals. "Under natural circumstances a detected phase difference would provide directional information. The brain processes this anomalous information differently when these phase differences are heard with stereo headphones or speakers. A perceptual integration of the two signals takes place, producing the sensation of a third "beat" frequency. The difference between the signals waxes and wanes as the two different input frequencies mesh in and out of phase. As a result of these constantly increasing and decreasing differences, an amplitude-modulated standing wave -the binaural beat- is heard. The binaural beat is perceived as a fluctuating rhythm at the frequency of the difference between the two auditory inputs. Evidence suggests that the binaural beats are generated in the brainstem’s superior olivary nucleus, the first site of contralateral integration in the auditory system (Oster, 1973). Studies also suggest that the frequency-following response originates from the inferior colliculus (Smith, Marsh, & Brown, 1975)" (Owens & Atwater, 1995). This activity is conducted to the cortex where it can be recorded by scalp electrodes.
Binaural beats can easily be heard at the low frequencies (< 30 Hz) that are characteristic of the EEG spectrum (Oster, 1973). This perceptual phenomenon of binaural beating and the objective measurement of the frequency-following response (Hink, Kodera, Yamada, Kaga, & Suzuki, 1980) suggest conditions which facilitate entrainment of brain waves and altered states of consciousness.
There have been numerous anecdotal reports and a growing number of research efforts reporting changes in consciousness associated with binaural-beats. "The subjective effect of listening to binaural beats may be relaxing or stimulating, depending on the frequency of the binaural-beat stimulation" (Owens & Atwater, 1995).
Binaural beats in the delta (1 to 4 Hz) and theta (4 to 8 Hz) ranges have been associated with reports of relaxed, meditative, and creative states (Hiew, 1995), and used as an aid to falling asleep. Binaural beats in the alpha frequencies (8 to 12 Hz) have increased alpha brain waves (Foster, 1990) and binaural beats in the beta frequencies (typically 16 to 24 Hz) have been associated with reports of increased concentration or alertness (Monroe, 1985) and improved memory (Kennerly, 1994).
Passively listening to binaural beats may not spontaneously propel you into an altered state of consciousness. One’s subjective experience in response to binaural-beat stimulation may also be influenced by a number of mediating factors. For example, the willingness and ability of the listener to relax and focus attention may contribute to binaural-beat effectiveness in inducing state changes. "Ultradian rhythms in the nervous system are characterized by periodic changes in arousal and states of consciousness (Rossi, 1986; Shannahoff-Khalsa, 1991; Webb & Dube, 1981). These naturally occurring shifts may underlie the anecdotal reports of fluctuations in the effectiveness of binaural beats. External factors are also thought to play roles in mediating the effects of binaural beats" (Owens & Atwater, 1995). The perception of a binaural beat is, for example, said to be heightened by the addition of white noise to the carrier signal (Oster, 1973), so white noise is often used as background. "Music, relaxation exercises, guided imagery, and verbal suggestion have all been used to enhance the state-changing effects of the binaural beat" (Owens & Atwater, 1995). Other practices such as humming, toning, breathing exercises, autogenic training, and/or biofeedback can also be used to interrupt the homeostasis of resistant subjects (Tart, 1975).
Brain Waves and Consciousness
Controversies concerning the brain, mind, and consciousness have existed since the early Greek philosophers argued about the nature of the mind-body relationship, and none of these disputes has been resolved.
Modern neurologists have located the mind in the brain and have said that consciousness is the result of electrochemical neurological activity. There are, however, growing observations to the contrary. There is no neurophysiological research which conclusively shows that the higher levels of mind (intuition, insight, creativity, imagination, understanding, thought, reasoning, intent, decision, knowing, will, spirit, or soul) are located in brain tissue (Hunt, 1995).
A resolution to the controversies surrounding the higher mind and consciousness and the mind-body problem in general may need to involve an epistemological shift to include extra-rational ways of knowing (de Quincey, 1994) and cannot be comprehended by neurochemical brain studies alone. We are in the midst of a revolution focusing on the study of consciousness (Owens, 1995). Penfield, an eminent contemporary neurophysiologist, found that the human mind continued to work in spite of the brain’s reduced activity under anesthesia. Brain waves were nearly absent while the mind was just as active as in the waking state. The only difference was in the content of the conscious experience. Following Penfield’s work, other researchers have reported awareness in comatose patients (Hunt, 1995) and there is a growing body of evidence which suggests that reduced cortical arousal while maintaining conscious awareness is possible (Fischer, 1971;West 1980; Delmonte, 1984; Goleman 1988; Jevning, Wallace, & Beidenbach, 1992; Wallace, 1986; Mavromatis, 1991). These states are variously referred to as meditative, trance, altered, hypnogogic, hypnotic, and twilight-learning states (Budzynski, 1986). Broadly defined, the various forms of altered states rest on the maintenance of conscious awareness in a physiologically reduced state of arousal marked by parasympathetic dominance (Mavromatis, 1991). Recent physiological studies of highly hypnotizable subjects and adept meditators indicate that maintaining awareness with reduced cortical arousal is indeed possible in selected individuals as a natural ability or as an acquired skill (Sabourin, Cutcomb, Crawford, & Pribram, 1993). More and more scientists are expressing doubts about the neurologists’ brain-mind model because it fails to answer so many questions about our ordinary experiences, as well as evading our mystical and spiritual ones. The scientific evidence supporting the phenomenon of remote viewing alone is sufficient to show that mind-consciousness is not a local phenomenon (McMoneagle, 1993).
If mind-consciousness is not the brain, why then does science relate states of consciousness and mental functioning to brain-wave frequencies? And how is it that audio with embedded binaural beats alters brain waves? The first question can be answered in terms of instrumentation. There is no objective way to measure mind or consciousness with an instrument. Mind-consciousness appears to be a field phenomenon which interfaces with the body and the neurological structures of the brain (Hunt, 1995). One cannot measure this field directly with current instrumentation. On the other hand, the electrical potentials of brain waves can be measured and easily quantified. Contemporary science likes things that can be measured and quantified. The problem here lies in oversimplification of the observations. EEG patterns measured on the cortex are the result of electroneurological activity of the brain. But the brain’s electroneurological activity is not mind-consciousness. EEG measurements then are only an indirect means of assessing the mind-consciousness interface with the neurological structures of the brain. As crude as this may seem, the EEG has been a reliable way for researchers to estimate states of consciousness based on the relative proportions of EEG frequencies. Stated another way, certain EEG patterns have been historically associated with specific states of consciousness. It is reasonable to assume, given the current EEG literature, that if a specific EEG pattern emerges it is probably accompanied by a particular state of consciousness.
As to the second question raised in the above paragraph, audio with embedded binaural beats alters the electrochemical environment of the brain. This allows mind-consciousness to have different experiences. When the brain is entrained to lower frequencies and awareness is maintained, a unique state of consciousness emerges. This state is often referred to as hypnogogia "mind awake/body asleep." Slightly higher-frequency entrainment can lead to hyper suggestive states of consciousness. Still higher-frequency EEG states are associated with alert and focused mental activity needed for the optimal performance of many tasks. Perceived reality changes depending on the state of consciousness of the perceiver (Tart, 1975). Some states of consciousness provide limited views of reality, while others provide an expanded awareness of reality. For the most part, states of consciousness change in response to the ever-changing internal environment and surrounding stimulation. For example, states of consciousness are subject to influences like drugs and circadian and ultradian rhythms (Rossi, 1986; Shannahoff-Khalsa, 1991; Webb & Dube, 1981). Specific states of consciousness can also be learned as adaptive behaviors to demanding circumstances (Green and Green, 1986).
Synchronized brain waves
Synchronized brain waves have long been associated with meditative and hypnogogic states, and audio with embedded binaural beats has the ability to induce and improve such states of consciousness. The reason for this is physiological. Each ear is "hardwired" (so to speak) to both hemispheres of the brain (Rosenzweig, 1961). Each hemisphere has its own olivary nucleus (sound-processing center) which receives signals from each ear. In keeping with this physiological structure, when a binaural beat is perceived there are actually two standing waves of equal amplitude and frequency present, one in each hemisphere. So, there are two separate standing waves entraining portions of each hemisphere to the same frequency. The binaural beats appear to contribute to the hemispheric synchronization evidenced in meditative and hypnogogic states of consciousness. Brain function is also enhanced through the increase of cross-collosal communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
Rhythmic Sound and the Brain
Studies have shown that vibrations from rhythmic sounds have a profound effect on brain activity. In shamanic traditions, drums were used in periodic rhythm to transport the shaman into other realms of reality. The vibrations from this constant rhythm affected the brain in a very specific manner, allowing the shaman to achieve an altered state of mind and journey out of his or her body .
Brain pattern studies conducted by researcher Melinda Maxfield into the (SSC) Shamanic State of Consciousness found that the steady rhythmic beat of the drum struck four and one half times per second was the key to transporting a shaman into the deepest part of his shamanic state of consciousness. It is no coincidence that 4.5 beats, or cycles per second corresponds to the trance like state of theta brain wave activity. In direct correlation, we see similar effects brought on by the constant and rhythmic drone of Tibetan Buddhist chants, which transport the monks and even other listeners into realms of blissful meditation.
Interesting Tidbits - A Look at the Brain of Somnambulist
|Somnambulist is a person who is sleep-walking. Scientists have studied this interesting phenomenon for generations. Recent studies have shown a burst of delta waves (shown in yellow in the graphic to the right) in the brain of someone who is sleep-walking. They theorize that the somnambulist triggers a portion of the brain that deals with emotion, and then the body, which is normally at rest, becomes involved. A somnambulist is asleep the entire time he or she is moving about.|
Books on Brainwave Synchronization
by Michael Mutchison
Scientists have learned more about the brain in the last decade than in all of previous history, and the implications of the latest research are clear: The human brain is far more powerful, and has the potential for immensely greater growth and transformation, than was ever before imagined. These discoveries may constitute the most significant development in learning since the invention of writing.
Each moment of our lives, from birth to death, our brains are engaged in an endless symphony of patterns. In Awakening the Mind, Anna Wise reveals how a careful understanding of the four types of brain waves, and the practice of carefully designed meditation exercises that lead to a mastery of each type, can vastly improve everyday focus, memory, concentration, and overall mental awareness.
Wise discusses and illustrates the four types of brain waves--beta, alpha, theta, and delta--with emphasis on what they do, how they work together, and whether we can use their power. Harnessing human brain waves for heightened creativity, inspiration, and self-healing is the major goal. Several pages of meditation exercises are included with tips on how to relax, all designed to trigger specific brain-wave patterns and achieve a high-performance mind.
Other Research on Brainwave Synchronization
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