Binaural Beats | Binaural Beats & BioFeedbackaudio Saturday, June 18, 2011
Binaural Beats | Binaural Beats & BioFeedback
Extracted Page: http://www.evergreenbiofeedback.com/category/binaural-beats/Binaural Beats | Binaural Beats & BioFeedback
If you have been rummaging online for information related to deep meditation, relaxation audios and enhancing concentration and focus; chances are that you may have already come across the terms binaural beats and brainwave entrainment. For those of you who are wondering how these tones work and if they are truly as efficacious as the claims would have you believe, here is in depth information on what binaural beats are all about and how they can help you.
Binaural beats are auditory stimuli created in the brain by using tones of varying frequencies in the two ears. The beats are not regular audio tones; rather they are brainstem responses which arise in the olivary nucleus of the hemispheres, generated when a person is exposed to different auditory impulses. To put it simply, if your right ear is exposed to a pure tone of 500 Hz while another pure tone of 510 Hz is played in the left ear; your brain will perceive a binaural beat of 10 Hz.
However, if these pure tones are played out loud simultaneously; you will not be able to decipher the difference in them. Since the human auditory range starts at 20 Hz and goes up to 20,000 Hz; the difference in the frequency is unnoticeable if the tones are heard normally.
The Discovery of Binaural Beats
While the discovery of binaural beats can be credited to H.W. Dove, a German experimenter; it took almost a100 years for the discovery to garner attention from mainstream medical community. Although, Dove did find that binaural beats are capable of evoking a specific neural response in human beings because of the large size of the cranium; it was not till Gerard Oster added fresh insight on the perceived beats in the brain that the topic peeked the interest of the scientific community.
Oster also discovered that humans are only capable of the auditory perception as long as the carrier waves have a frequency of less than 1000 Hz. He went on to discover the immense applications of binaural beats in the field of neurological and cognitive research. As a matter of fact, he was the first member of the medical fraternity to use the beats as a diagnostics tool; he found that many of his subjects who suffered from Parkinson’s disease could not perceive binaural beats. However, these very patients would begin to hear the beats after being treated for the ailment.
Brainwave entrainment: what is it and how can binaural beats be used for it?
Oster’s work pointed to the fact that binaural beats could be used for brainwave entrainment. The principle of brainwave entrainment is ensconced in the theory that when two oscillating objects are kept next to each other both will move at the same frequency, so the first object essentially entrains the second object. The theory has been proven through experiments involving tuning forks and pendulums.
If you are wondering how your brain figures in this equation; the answer is very simple. The human brain goes through a phenomenon known as frequency following response. In simple words, the electromagnetic waves in the brain will mimic the frequency of the auditory or visual stimuli; at least the predominant brain wave frequency will lean towards the frequency of the stimuli that it is being exposed to.
A classic example of this phenomenon is a baby falling asleep in a moving vehicle at night. It’s surprising for most parents to see that while the trick works very often, sometimes it proves quite futile. This discrepancy in response can be squarely attributed to the frequency with which the street lights move past the vehicle; this is the visual stimulus that causes the baby to doze off.
While, you may not be able to control the exact frequency of the moving street lights; binaural beats can be designed to create an auditory perception of a certain frequency to achieve a specific brain state. Studies have also proven that these healing beats can activate various sections of the brain including neural centers responsible for spatial perception and auditory recognition.
This raises the all important question about the practical applications of binaural beats. Because the brain waves mimic the frequency of these perceived auditory impulses, these beats can be used to induce various states of mind, emotions etc. The brainwave frequencies have been categorized into delta, beta, theta, alpha and gamma; each frequency range is responsible for a distinctive set of emotions and state of being. For example, the brain waves are in the alpha mode when you are relaxing. So, if you could induce the alpha frequency, the result would be a physical and mental sense of relaxation and this is where binaural beats come into the picture.
An experiment conducted to understand the efficacy of these healing beats proved that when participants were exposed to two audio impulses that created binaural beats in the Beta range, it led to an extremely awake and alert state conducive to vigilant performance and better concentration. Similarly binaural stimulation offered in the Theta/Delta range put them in a state of extreme relaxation.
The different frequencies of binaural beats and the effects they elicit.
The synchronization in the brainwave activity of the two hemispheres created through exposure to binaural beats can be used to positively impact a wide variety of emotional and mental states. Binaural beats have found favor with millions of users who listen to the varied audio impulses in order to induce relaxation, enhance focus and concentration and reach varying states of consciousness. As a matter of fact, studies have also shown that repeated exposure to certain frequencies can lead to a plastic reorganization for the trained auditory stimulus which in turn causes asymmetric hemisphere balancing.
The various frequency ranges of binaural beats; their names and impact are:
- Gamma waves: > 40 Hz: This frequency can be used to improve mental activity accentuate problem solving ability and reach a higher state of consciousness.
- Beta waves: 13–40 Hz: The beta range corresponds with the brain wave frequency observed in active, alert and focused states. This frequency range can be used to enhance cognitive memory, arousal and deep thinking.
- Alpha waves: 7–13 Hz: This frequency range is commonly used to induce a deep state of relaxation while still being awake. It is a state of being that is akin to the level of consciousness at the pre-sleep and pre-awake stage.
- Theta waves: 4-7 Hz: This is the state experienced during REM sleep and astral projections; it is close to the mental condition achieved during deep meditation
- Delta waves: < 4Hz: This is the lowest frequency used for binaural beats and it corresponds to the physical and mental state experienced during deep dreamless state with loss of body awareness.
Since binaural beats are potent tools to induce specific emotional and mental states; they can be used at will to alter your experiences and feelings. As a matter of fact, these auditory signals are so powerful that they can also be used to replicate natural human cycles such as concentration or sleep.
It has been found that while there will only be one predominant brainwave frequency that will have a bearing on your mental and emotional state; other frequencies are also present; however; they have smaller amplitudes. Brain wave entrainment through the use of binaural beats is very effective if the frequency range of the brainwaves is close to the entraining frequency range.
The Benefits of Using Binaural Beats
- Binaural beats can be used to induce deep meditative states
- They can help with anxiety, depression and other mood related disorders
- Binaural beats aid you in connecting with your spiritual side
- The auditory tones can help to greatly enhance your ability to focus and concentrate
- If the daily monotony of life is adding to your fatigue levels; binaural beats can be used to revitalize you physically and mentally.
- They can be used without any trouble; all you need is a set of headphones and you will be able to enjoy some quite rejuvenating time.
- Binaural beats are extremely potent in helping you reduce your dependence on prescription drugs especially preparations taken for pain and some psychological concerns.
- Brain wave entrainment is immensely effective in alleviating stress
- They are particularly useful for people who suffer from insomnia and other sleep related disorders.
- Using binaural beats helps you to achieve over all physical and mental well being.
- These audio impulses have a proven track record for being extremely useful in long term pain management.
- If negative emotional or mental blockages are holding you from achieving your goals, binaural beats will assist you in reaching a higher state of consciousness.
- They can also be used to change your thought process and give your subconscious mind positive inputs.
Binaural beats are best heard at a low volume that is comfortable yet audible; if you find pure sine waves annoying, it is also possible to get audio clips where the beats are masked in the back ground with pink noise, usually with natural sounds such as a babbling brook or river. The best part of using binaural beats is that although they can yield remarkable results, unlike conventional forms of medication, they are not addictive and there are no known side effects associated with the prolonged use of these audio impulses.