In my research about meditation, I keep bumping into something called “brainwave entrainment”. Proponents say it has phenomenal benefits, and it greatly aids in meditation. But what is it, exactly?
Brainwave entrainment or “brainwave synchronization,” is any practice that aims to cause brainwave frequency to fall into step with a periodic stimulus having a frequency corresponding to the intended brain-state (for example, to induce sleep), usually performed with the use of specialized medical software. It depends upon a “frequency following” response, a naturally occurring phenomenon where the human brain has a tendency to change its dominant EEG frequency towards the frequency of a dominant external stimulus. Such a stimulus may be aural, as in the case of binaural or monaural beats and isochronic tones, or else visual, as with a dreamachine, a combination of the two with a mind machine, or even electromagnetic radiation.
And what does that mean in English?
Essentially, most brainwave entrainment programs help you to move into a different state of consciousness by using the brain’s natural tendency to align with another brainwave pattern, allowing you to gain the benefits of that particular state.
So what are the different states of consciousness? There are four categories, ranging from alert to asleep and they vary by how fast the electrical waves of your brain are. The faster the waves, the higher the frequency, and the more alert you are. (Remember the sine wave from high school?)
- Beta is when you are awake and actively engaging your mind. This would be when you are having a conversation with someone, writing, reading or creating.
- Alpha is when you are awake, but relaxed. This is generally when you have taken a break from something you’ve been focusing on, or when you start to meditate.
- Theta is when you are dreaming, deeply meditating or starting to fall asleep.
- Delta is when you are asleep.
Brainwave entrainment programs generelly help move your brain frequency into the theta state. What does this do for you?
The reported benefits of lowering your brainwave include:
- Increased relaxation and reduced stress
- Improved memory and creativity
- Greater ability to focus and concentrate
- Stronger intuition
- Higher energy level
- Fewer illnesses
- Better sleep
A quick Google search finds lots of products out there at various price points. There are even some you can download for free. Here’s the one I use currently.
PS. A quick way to lower your brainwave to Alpha state is to close your eyes and “look” up about 30º. Focusing on a spot above and between your eyes helps to activate your third eye chakra, while lowering your brainwave frequency. Cool, huh?