Brain wave entrainment. Sounds complicated, doesn't it?
The good news is: it's not that complicated. In fact, my aim on this website is to give you all the facts about BWE without breaking your brain.
So, this article will introduce you to the concept of brain wave entrainment and – in as simple terms as possible – help you to decide if this is something you want to try.
Let's start with a quote to put you in the mood:
Now, I realised that ordinary consciousness was not just a given, but the product of something called brain waves, and that these brain waves could be altered at will… If you don't like what's going on in your head, then (you can) change it. It was a revelation…
~ Michael Hutchison, author of Megabrain and all-round brain explorer
So… What is Brainwave Entrainment?
The basic premise of brainwave entrainment is that you use certain tools or technologies (like binaural beats, isochronic tones or meditation machines) to alter your brain waves, for the primary purpose of changing the way you feel.
For example, if you are stressed and uptight a lot, brain wave entrainment would allow you to slow your brain down and operate from a more chilled-out perspective – no marijuana required 😉
If you were stuck for ideas, you could use brainwave entrainment to enter the state of mind responsible for creative breakthroughs, and brainstorm there.
I regularly come up with ideas for my work when using brain wave entrainment tools, and I'm sure you would too.
Or, if you were a raging insomniac, BWE could help you by adjusting your brain waves to the level they operate from when you sleep. This, er, tends to make you sleep (which I imagine would be nice for an insomniac).
In short, there's loads of stuff you can use BWE for. There's lots of examples of times and places to whip out your binaural beats in this article here, if you want to get your imagination working now.
Why the Complicated Name?
I believe that brainwave entrainment has a complicated name because very clever people discovered it… and very clever people often like to confuse not-so-clever folks with terribly convoluted and posh names for stuff they invent :).
But you could always just refer to it as BWE – like I do.
Try not to get too worked up about the various names (i.e. brainwave entrainment, binaural beats, isochronic tones, monaural beats, hemispheric synchronisation etc etc) – you will still get all the benefits without having a clue of the difference between, for example, theta and alpha brain waves.
Here's Another Way of Looking at it:
The word entrain means “to adjust an internal rhythm so that it synchronises with an external cycle”. (You may have to read that a couple of times before it makes sense – I did!
In this case, our brain waves are adjusted internally and then synchronise with the external cycle of a sound wave (binaural beats or isochronic tones)
** In short, we play binaural beats into our ears. They send sound waves to our brain waves. Our brain waves “listen” to the sounds, and start to follow the pace and rhythm of them. **
This is frequency following response, or brain wave entrainment. You can learn all about this synchronisation in this post here.
And when you experience the effects of binaural beats and isochronic entrainment for yourself, you'll realise why it's *very* good for us to start doing this on at least a semi-regular basis.
Why Would I Want to do This?
Well, why not? 😉
For a start, it's massively relaxing and therapeutic. The very act of entraining brain waves increases production of “happy chemicals” in the body; anxiety levels go down and happiness goes up; sleep is improved; mood improves; muscles relax; and overall it just feels super nice.
I like to see it as meditating for people who can't meditate. A few times I've called brain wave entrainment “the lazy person's way to inner peace”, and I stand by it 😉
Additionally, brain wave entrainment is a fabulous tool for people who are interested in (a) how far they can grow and develop themselves, and (b) who want to access higher levels of consciousness and induce the state of flow.
If you're into this sort of stuff, you must get yourself some binaural beats or isochronic tones. When you've been using them a while (few weeks / months), you'll be accessing flow state – and feeling peaceful, calm and “at one” – near enough on demand.
This is when things start to get really interesting 😉
To recap, brainwave entrainment is simply a posh way of saying: Play special sounds into your ears which affect your brainwaves.
When this happens, you'll feel relaxed, happy, creative and connected, or whatever other state the recording you are listening to changes your brain to make you feel like.
It's a whole lot of fun!
See… that wasn't too complicated, was it?!?
A good place to start with BWE is using some gentle tones, such alpha beats from either BinauralBeatsMeditation.com or Ennora.com
If you want to research properly before making a decision, read my comprehensive guide to the Top 5 binaural beats tracks.
Hey Lawrence, I have a question regarding binaural beats creating a meditative brainwave pattern.
Suppose I want to entrain alpha, theta and eventually delta. Would having the Hz drop once every minute allow me to achieve this?
So you would enter alpha (10 Hz) for a minute, and then it goes down to 9 Hz after that, and a minute later 8 Hz comes where eventually a minute after that we enter twilight zone (theta).
I ask because I’m not sure if the brain is capable of being entrained if the binaural tone itself isn’t consistent, but maybe I’m wrong?
Thank you in advance!
Generally speaking, you want to have at least 15 minutes of entrainment in one frequency state. So you could, for example, start at Alpha 10 Hz, for 15 minutes, then drop down 1 Hz per minute to 7 Hz Theta and stay there for 15 minutes. But what is goal? If you are entraining multiple frequency states in one session then you are pulling the brain from one place to another. In my experience it is best to pick a frequency, or frequency range within a state (alpha, theta, delta, etc) and spend a session on that.
This was an excellent and SIMPLE breakdown of what brainwave entrainment means. Thank you for taking the time to break it down. This was very helpful!
Thank you Ali. I’m glad you found it helpful.