An Introduction to Brainwave Entrainment

In the early 1990s, a team of trained psychologists made an amazing discovery; they found that sound waves, all by themselves, could improve your brain’s ability to think, learn, create, and solve problems.

In their study, men and women who listened to a Mozart Sonata before taking an IQ test scored 8 to 9 points higher than men and women who hadn’t listened to the music. Now Mozart didn’t write his music to deliberately help people think better and more clearly, what the researchers had accidentally stumbled upon was Brainwave Entrainment.

What is Brainwave Entrainment?

The human brain has a tendency to change its dominant EEG frequency towards the frequency of the dominant external stimulus, this is known as the ‘frequency following response’. The stimulus that creates this response can be visual, tactile or aural. The image below shows the EEG for the brains frequencies before and after being a played a tones at a frequencies of 10Hz.

Brainwave Entrainment 10Hz

Any process that aims to cause a person’s brainwave frequency to match with an external stimulus is known as brainwave entrainment.

What is it useful for?

Brainwave entrainment can be useful because brainwaves are very much related to mental state, by using the frequency following response to produce brainwaves of a particular frequency will also reliably get the person into a particular mental state. For example; a 4Hz brainwave is associated with sleep, so a 4 Hz sound pattern would help reproduce the sleep state in your brain. You can apply the same to almost all mental states, including concentration, creativity, relaxation and many more. It can also be used as an aid to get into some more unusual mental states , such as those associated with hypnosis, deep meditation and lucid dreaming.

How effective is it?

One of the observed effects of this type of brainwave entrainment is increased learning ability. A Bulgarian psychiatrist, Georgi Lozanov, used deep relaxation combined with synchronized rhythms to bring his students brains into the alpha frequency. His results showed that when in this state students learned over five times as much information compared to before, with less study time per day, and with greater long-term retention. In some cases, as much as thirty times as much was learned.


In short, any mental state that exists will have an EEG frequency associated with it, and so it is possible to entrain the brain to get into any state imaginable simply by listening to the right frequency sound. The next page takes a more detailed look at different frequencies of brainwaves and their corresponding mental states.

 

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