Amidst the stress of everyday life, we're all seeking for new ways to de-clutter the mind: Meditation, yoga, a walk in nature; all these things provide a release and bring better clarity of mind.
The good news is that technology is now able to provide similar benefits, with the difference being a passive listening approach. Enter brainwave entrainment, which is what this blog is all about.
Wearable devices that entrain the brain to specific states of wellbeing are becoming increasingly popular. And one market-leading device is BrainTap.
This headset helps you achieve better brainwave synchrony, which in turn reduces stress, anxiety, and negativity, and improves sleep, focus, and motivation.
What is BrainTap?
BrainTap was developed by Patrick K. Porter, Ph.D. Patrick started his brain-soothing journey at the tender age of 12. Using a cassette recorder and visualization techniques, he transformed himself from a struggling student into an athletic captain and honor student.
Along with his team of researchers and mindfulness specialists, Dr. Porter's aim is to assist personal development through better brainwave synchrony.
Through guided meditation, the BrainTap technology guides your mind from an awake, reactionary mind into an intuitive, creative state, then to a place where super-learning and healing can occur. The outcome is a heightened state of consciousness with crystal clear focus.
Who Can Benefit from BrainTap?
Everyone from fitness enthusiasts and wellness practitioners to office workers can benefit from ‘braintapping'. The technology can even be used for children who are able to sit still for 10-20 minutes or more.
No matter who you are and what you do, as long as you’re not extremely sensitive to flashing lights, you can enjoy the benefits of this technology. It's worth noting here that there is an option to turn off the visor lights with the adaptable light sensitivity feature.
How Does a BrainTap Session Work?
To start a session, simply put the visor over your eyes and the headphones over your ears. Close your eyes and immerse yourself in the audio and visuals.
BrainTap works through the process of brainwave entrainment. Entraining the brain means stimulating it to enter into a specific state where deeper relaxation levels and enhanced consciousness are possible.
In addition to the sonic effects of the audio-sessions, the BrainTap headset delivers gentle light pulses that travel through the ear meridians and the retina, sending direct signals to the brain and guiding you into extraordinary brain states.
Frequency Following Response
BrainTap’s synchronized light and sound technology produces an effect known as the Frequency Following Response (FFR).
The FFR is simply the syncing response of your brain to the frequency of the sound and light. This results in reduced inner self-talk, thus enhancing concentration and promoting relaxation.
20 minutes a day is all that's required to benefit.
What’s the Technology Behind BrainTap?
BrainTap assists you in reaching balanced brainwave states that are conducive to a healthy mind.
These states promote the production of the neurotransmitters necessary for optimum mind and body performance.
BrainTap uses a harmony of light, music, and sound technology.
Here's a little about each of the elements used.
1. Brainwave Entrainment
At the heart of BrainTap is brainwave entrainment. This is a proven way of manipulating the brainwave response.
Using external stimuli, brainwave entrainment stimulates the frequency-following response. This means that the brain synchronizes with the frequency it is hearing and then begins to produce brainwaves at that frequency.
As you might know, having read around my blog, the most popular way to achieve this is through the use of binaural beats.
Binaural beats are commonly used to induce relaxation, sleep, and focus.
This technology works by sending a different sound frequency to each ear. The brain then perceives a third frequency based on the mathematical difference between these two frequencies. It is this resulting frequency (sometimes referred to as a phantom frequency) at which the brain produces brainwaves.
Let’s say you play a 210 Hz tone into your right ear and a 203 Hz into your left. Your brain recognizes the difference between the two tones—a frequency of 7 Hz, which is a Theta frequency associated with relaxation.
Listening along will encourage your brain to produce brainwaves at the same frequency and you will begin to feel relaxed.
Visualization has been studied for decades and is proven to affect mental states, improve physical and athletic performance, and even heal the body.
BrainTap helps you develop mental imagery for your desired goals through the use of guided audio programs.
The visualization is performed during the spoken-word sessions to help you envision a consistent literal or symbolic vision.
To get the most out of your session, set aside a period for relaxation, when you are unlikely to be disturbed. This will help you focus on and contemplate your mental imagery around your desired goals.
3. Holographic Music
To assist with you visualizations, the headset delivers 10-cycle holographic music, which is a sonic technology that produces a 360-degree sound environment.
The result is a total immersion in sound, a feeling that different elements of the soundscape are placed at different locations in your listening space.
This makes your visualizations appear more realistic and attainable, helping your take full advantage of the power of the session by creating a more receptive learning state.
Other Key Functions
Aside from the elements mentioned above, BrainTap has some other unique features that make it unique to other wearable meditation devices out there.
– Pulsing Light
BrainTap produces pulsing light of specific patterns and intensity.
Like audio entrainment, this helps induce deep relaxation and improve serotonin and endorphin levels. The goal is not solely to calm and relax the mind, but also to help maintain a positive outlook and optimistic thinking.
As previously mentioned, the light feature can be adapted to suit sensitivity and can be switched off.
– Dual Voice Processing
BrainTap features two voices on its audio sessions, a technique known as dual voice processing.
During a session, you may hear a second voice that comes from one side of the headset, and then the other. This voice is deliberately recorded this way to deliver a complete holographic experience.
The aim of dual voice processing is to activate the right and left hemispheres of the brain through balancing, using the voice to trigger the left and right audio channels.
It’s normal to find it a little confusing at first, but your brain will soon adapt. All you have to do is relax and go with the flow.
I should note that you can turn this feature off and use a single voice whenever you want. The single voice setting is marked as SV, while dual voice is marked DV.
The BrainTap program covers mainly 4 of the 5 key brainwave states, with Alpha and Theta being of primary importance to the program.
I cover this area extensively elsewhere on the blog, so I won't get too deep here, but here's a quick overview for you.
- Delta (1-4 Hz): Associated with dreamless sleep, the unconscious mind, pain relief and healing.
- Theta (4-8 Hz) : Associated with meditation, creativity, inner peace, REM sleep.
- Alpha (8-13 Hz): Associated with focus and the flow state. A relaxed yet focussed state of being effortlessly engaged. This is where inward awareness and exceptional learning happen.
- Beta (13-30 Hz) : Associated with high energy and high-level information processing, peak awareness and transcendental states.
Generally speaking, BrainTap entrains your brain to produce more Theta and alpha waves, so you benefit from lower stress and anxiety levels, better focus and productivity, and overall better clarity of mind.
Key BrainTap Benefits
BrainTap is an all-in-one brain entrainment solution that offers the following benefits:
- Stress and anxiety release
- Positive thinking
- Better focus and productivity
- Increased motivation and mental performance
- Changing of negative behaviors and habits
- Healthier sleep
- Endorphin and serotonin release
In a nutshell, it's a holistic well-being device that delivers the benefits of brainwave entrainment in a one stop solution.
It's fun and brings a new experience to this area of technology, going beyond the simple listening of audios through your computer, phone or tablet.
Some might argue it's a little gimmicky, but the light pulsing and holographic music is engaging and well worth it in my opinion. It takes you to new places in your mind, in a kind of virtual reality way.
What’s Included in the Box?
The BrainTap headset package includes the following:
- Earphones equipped with LED lights and LED-equipped visor connected to earphones
- Standard USB charger
- Audio cord
- Carrying pouch
- User manual
Founder’s Choice program you can access on the BrainTap Pro App.
To use the BrainTap headset, you’ll need an iPod, iPad, iPhone, or Android device to listen via the BrainTap Pro app.
The headset comes with ten guided visualization sessions that include more than 700 audio sessions across 43 categories.
Each category helps you with a specific problem, such as stress relief, pain management, and insomnia.
BrainTap offers a number of specialized sessions they call ‘bundles'. These are add-ons that you have to pay for, and can do so on a monthly basis. Each bundle contains at least 20 sessions and costs $9.99 per month.
Choose from the following bundles:
- Sleep RX: for insomnia management and sleep restoration
- Weight Wellness : for weight management and maintenance
- Optimal Health: for development of healthy habits and life practices to achieve optimum health and fitness
- Stress-free Me: for stress relief and relaxation
- Worry-free Me: for soothing worries, leading to mindfulness
- Children and Learning: for helping your child develop positive life skills, healthy habits, and self-reliance
You can also opt to for the Wellness Collection, which contains all six bundles for a discounted price of $29.99 a month.
BrainTap is priced at US$647.
It’s not the most affordable wearable brainwave device on the market, but it is the most unique in its offering.
If you're a beginner it might be worth starting out on your brainwave audio journey with some standard binaural beats audios, which typically cost $7-10 per program. If you enjoy the experience then you can consider going for a holistic solution like BrainTap.
That said, if money isn't a barrier and you want a rewarding light/sound solution straight off the bat then it’s a worthy investment.
My experience with BrainTap has been a positive one. I am a bit of a tech-geek and I love the feeling of putting on the headset and escaping to another dimension – almost. It's feels like I'm in an episode of Star-Trek or something.
It's very relaxing and the light experience brings a new dimension to my sessions.
The only criticism I have is that it's solely focussed around Theta and alpha wave entrainment, and I'd like to see a few beta and gamma programs introduced; because these have their use cases too.
Because of this I am mainly using BrainTap for relaxation and promoting creativity and better focus, and also just for a trippy experience to be honest.
I'd like to see more of the bundles included as standard too.
I actually appreciate the bundles idea, not because you pay more but because it stops you just jumping from program to program instead of focussing on a routine of a handful of programs that are conducive to your self-improvement goals. But I'd still like to see better value for the price.