Brain Entrainment is a principle of physics. It is defined as the synchronization of two or more rhythmic cycles. The principles of entrainment appear in chemistry, neurology, biology, pharmacology, medicine, astronomy and more.
Kaz is also a Brain Entrainment Consultant and the co-founder of the Institute of Mind and Life Advancement (IMALA).
Brain Entrainment refers to the human brain's electrical response to rhythmic sensory stimulation and programming, such as pulses of sound or light.
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Brain Entrainment refers to the human brain's electrical response to rhythmic sensory stimulation and programming, such as pulses of sound or light.
Brain Entrainment is a principle of physics. It is defined as the synchronization of two or more rhythmic cycles.
The principles of entrainment appear in chemistry, neurology, biology, pharmacology, medicine, astronomy and more.
CASE IN POINT: While working on the design of the pendulum clock in 1656, Dutch scientist Christian Huygens found that if he placed two un-synchronized clocks side by side on a wall, they would slowly synchronize to each other. In fact, the synchronization was so precise that not even mechanical intervention could calibrate them more accurately.
When the human brain is given a stimulus, through the ears, eyes or indeed other senses, it emits an electrical charge in response, called a "Cortical Evoked Response" (CER). As shown in the diagram below:
"Cortical Evoked Response" (CER).
These electrical responses travel throughout the brain to become what you will see and hear. This activity can be measured by using sensitive electrodes attached to the scalp.
When the brain is presented with a rhythmic stimulus, such as a drum beat, the rhythm is reproduced in the brain in the form of these electrical impulses.
If the rhythm becomes fast and consistent enough, it can then start to resemble the natural internal rhythms of the brain, called 'brainwaves'. When this happens, the brain responds by synchronizing its own electric cycles to the same rhythm. This is commonly called the "Frequency Following Response" (FFR).
"Frequency Following Response" (FFR).
FFR can be very useful, because brainwaves are very much related to ones mental state. For example, a 4Hz brainwave is associated with sleep, so a 4Hz sound pattern would help produce the same sleep state in the human brain.
The same concept can be applied in many other mental states, including concentration, relaxation and meditation.
Your brain is made up of billions of brain cells called neurons, which use electricity to communicate with each other.
The combination of millions of neurons sending signals at once produces an enormous amount of electrical activity in the brain, which can be detected using sensitive medical equipment (such as an EEG), measuring electricity levels over areas of the scalp.
The combination of electrical activity in the brain is commonly called a brainwave pattern, because of its cyclic, "wave-like" nature.
Below is one of the first recordings of brain activity:
One of the first recordings of brain activity
here is a more modern EEG recording:
With the discovery of brainwaves came the discovery that electrical activity in the brain will change depending on what the person is doing. For instance, the brainwaves of a sleeping person are vastly different than the brainwaves of someone wide awake.
Over the years, more sensitive equipment has brought us closer to figuring out exactly what brainwaves represent and with that, what they mean about a person's health and state of mind.
Here is a table showing the known brainwave types and their associated mental states:
Associated Mental State
|Gamma||27 Hz and up||
Gamma is associated with the formation of ideas, language and memory processing, and various types of learning. Gamma waves have been shown to disappear during deep sleep which has been induced by anesthesia, but to return with the transition back to a wakeful state.
|Beta||12 Hz - 27 Hz||
Wide awake. This is generally the mental state which most people are in during the day and during most of their waking lives. Usually, this state in itself is uneventful, but don't underestimate its importance. Many people lack sufficient beta activity, which can cause mental or emotional disorders such as depression and ADD and insomnia. And low SMR production (a sub-range of beta at 12-15 Hz) may be related to insomnia. Stimulating beta activity can improve emotional stability, energy levels, attentiveness and concentration.
|Alpha||8 Hz - 12 Hz||
Awake but relaxed and not processing much information. When you get up in the morning and just before you go to sleep, you are naturally in this Alpha state. When you close your eyes your brain automatically starts producing more alpha waves.
Many studies monitoring the EEG activity of experienced meditators have revealed strong increases in Alpha activity. Alpha activity has also been connected to the ability to recall memories, it lessens discomfort and pain, and can bring about reductions in stress and anxiety.
|Theta||3 Hz - 8 Hz||
Light sleep or extreme relaxation.
Theta is also a very receptive mental state that has proven useful for hypnotherapy, as well as self-hypnosis by using recorded affirmations and using auto-suggestions.
|Delta||0.2 Hz - 3 Hz||
Deep, dreamless sleep. Delta is the slowest band of brainwaves. When your dominant brainwave is Delta, your body is healing itself and "resetting" its internal clocks. You do not dream in this state and so you are completely unconscious.
Brainwaves in relation to the different states of consciousness:
(State Specific Science)
Brainwave Frequencies Diagram
You can tell a lot about a person simply by observing their brainwave patterns. For example, anxious people tend to produce an over abundance of high beta waves whilst people with ADD/ADHD tend to produce an over abundance of slower alpha/theta brainwaves.
Researchers have found that not only are brainwaves representative of mental state, but they can be stimulated to change a person's mental state, and this in turn, can help with a variety of mental issues.
Many people were introduced to brainwave entrainment through binaural beats. It is important to note, that they are not the only way in which the brain can be entrained. In fact, the brain is affected by any kind of rhythmic stimuli. Clicks, drum beats, light flickers, and even physical vibrations or electric pulses have all been proven to effectively entrain the brain. However, to have a significant effect on one's mental state, the stimuli must configured correctly and be precisely timed.
There are ways of embedding the precise and rapid modulations needed for entrainment into sound files or white noise, without distorting the music. This is important because people tend to find audible beats difficult to listen to at first.
Some entrainment methods used in NP3 do not rely on speaker assignments, and therefore can be used without headphones or any special speaker assignments. For veteran users of brainwave entrainment, this may seem strange since headphones have always been a traditional part of the brain training experience. The reality of the matter is that headphones have never been required for use with anything except binaural beats.
Brainwave entrainment was first identified in 1934, although its effects had been noted as early as Ptolemy.
Not long after the discovery of the Alpha brainwave by Hans Berger in 1929, researchers found that the strength of the wave could be "driven" beyond its natural frequency using flickering lights.
This is called "Photic Driving", which is another word for brainwave entrainment using Photic (light) stimulation.
In 1942 Dempsey and Morrison discovered that repetitive tactile stimulation could also produce entrainment and in 1959, Dr. Chatrian observed auditory entrainment in response to clicks, at a frequency of 15 per second.
By the 1960's entrainment started to become a tool rather than a phenomenon of the brain. Anesthesiologist M.S.Sadie, MD, used Photic stimulation to reduce the amount of anesthesia needed for surgery.
Bernard Margolis published an article on brainwave entrainment used during dental procedures, noting that less anesthesia was required, less gagging, less bleeding and a general reduction in anxiety.
In a 1973 issue of the "Scientific American", Dr. Gerald Oster examined how combining 2 pure tones resulted in a rhythmic beat which he called Binaural and Monaural beats. In comparing Binaural beats against Monaural beats, Oster noted that Monaural beats were shown to elicit extremely strong cortical responses, which is the electrical activity responsible for entrainment.
Oster concluded that while Binaural beats produced very little neural response (because the depth of a Binaural Beat is only 3 db or 1/10 the volume of a whisper), they could be useful in diagnosing certain neurological disorders.
In the 1980's studies continued with Dr. Glen Solomon and others researching entrainment for headache relief as well as general relaxation.
In 1981, Arturo Manns published a study showing the effectiveness of Isochronic Tones as a means of audio-based brainwave entrainment. This was later confirmed by others such as David Siever.
Michael Hutchison wrote his landmark book Mega Brain in 1981, outlining the many possible uses of entrainment from meditation to enhancing creativity.
In 1980, Tsuyoshi Inouye and associates at the Department of Neuro psychiatry at Osaka University Medical School in Japan found that Photic stimulation produced "cerebral synchronization". The effect was confirmed in 1984 when Dr. Brockopp analyzed audio-visual brain stimulation and hemispheric synchronization during EEG monitoring.
Studies continued into the 90's with researchers such as Dr. Russell and Dr. Carter who explored the potential of using entrainment with ADD and learning disorders.
Research has also been conducted into Chronic Fatigue, Chronic Pain, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Hypertension and a number of other disorders.
Brainwave entrainment research continues today with the work of Dr. Thomas Budzynski, David Siever, psychologist Michael Joyce, Dr. Tina Huang and many others.
Below is a diagram showing an EEG Recording. Spectrogram View (4-30), ~1.2 minute time lapse, middle of an Alpha session from the Neuro-Programmer
Alpha EEG session diagram
The most well known form of brainwave entrainment is binaural beats, where a slightly different tone is presented into each ear. When pure tones are mixed together, their waveforms add and subtract from one another, resulting in a pulse.
In the case of binaural beats, the two tones are mixed by the brain itself (one in each ear).
The pulses, called "beats," formed by mixing these tones is what causes entrainment to occur. Like those pictured below:
Monaural beats are based on the same concept as binaural beats - combining two tones to form a beat. The difference is that monaural beats are formed when two tones combine digitally or naturally before the sound reaches the ears, as opposed to combining in the brain as with binaural beats.
Isochronic tones are evenly spaced tone pulses.
Unlike binaural and monaural beats, Isochronic tones do not rely on the combination of two tones - the "beat" is created manually by turning a tone on and off. Isochronic tones are widely regarded as thee most effective, tone-based method.
Isochronic tones produce very strong cortical responses in the brain.
Many people who do not respond well to binaural beats often respond very well to Isochronic tones.
Here is an example of what an Isochronic tone pattern looks like:
Binaural beats have become very popular over the years, and for many people the idea of "brainwave entrainment" is inseparable from them. But there are numerous other ways to stimulate the brain, many of which are more effective.
We use methods beyond just binaural beats for many reasons:
1. Binaural beats require headphones or special speaker assignments.
This can be difficult for people who find headphones uncomfortable, and also can prevent brainwave entrainment from being easily used for purposes such as sleep induction.
2. Binaural beats are not capable of entraining the brain hemispheres individually (because they require BOTH ears).
This can be a major disadvantage because many of the modern entrainment protocols used in clinical work today involve separate stimulation to each ear - which is useful for deeper meditation and especially for cognitive enhancement.
3. Binaural beats are not as effective as more modern entrainment methods, though they do remain the most interesting.
Dr. Gerald Oster, in the 1973 issue of the "Scientific American", introduced binaural beats to the mainstream.
According to Oster, because of the way the brain processes binaural beats, the depth or intensity of the resulting "beat" is only around 3 db, or 1/10th the volume of a whisper (which is why the "beats" are usually so hard to detect). He concluded that binaural beats produced very small evoked potentials within the auditory cortex of the brain, while monaural beats and other methods produced far greater potentials.
In the brain, a binaural beat would look something like this:
Notice how shallow the wave is.
The above pulse would be barely detectable.
On the other hand, a monaural beat, or sine wave pulse, looks like this:
Which do you think will leave more of an electrical imprint on the brain, based on what we know about cortical potentials?
It is because of these differences that it has been concluded by many researchers, such as David Siever, that binaural beats are not likely to produce much actual brainwave entrainment at all.
It remains true that some studies have shown that binaural beats do produce a limited amount of brainwave entrainment.
A study done by Dale Foster (Memphis State University, 1990) showed that binaural beats DO entrain the brain.
Unfortunately, the beats did not produce any more of the target brainwave (alpha) than an artificially generated surf sound, which was acting as a control.
This study shows that while binaural beats can be useful, additional techniques are needed to entrain the brain to the levels which most people need.
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The following birth data is required to calculate the Synastry (astrological love compatibility):
(1) Full name (forename and surname)(ie. George Clooney).
(2) Date of birth (ie. 6th June 1976)
(3) Time of birth and please state Am or Pm) (if known) (ie. 11.30 pm, 2.15 am etc)
(4) Place of birth (to the nearest major town or city and also the country of birth) (ie. London, England, York England etc.
The time and place of birth are what determines what your ascendant or rising sign is, this is very important in all astrological calculations as you will read further down this page.
If you don't know your true time of birth you can find this out by doing what is known as a birth time rectification and you can do this for free, on line by going to:
Just a few hours out with the time of birth for Synastry (astrological love compatibility charts) can mean the difference between good compatibility and no compatibility, astrology is a specific science and the accuracy of birth data really is, mission critical!
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