As you know from the rest of our website, we don't like getting too "sciencey". It isn't that we don't believe in science or feel there is any validity to it. It is just that we know from experience that people often have a hard time wrapping their heads around an idea when it becomes too technical, and if it is too complicated to understand many people get scared away. Science is certainly important for understanding the fundamentals of our world, but you don't need to know how electricity works to know that it keeps the computer, lights, and TV on. Brainwave Entrainment, however, does benefit from at least a little basic scienctific explanation.
What is Brainwave Entrainment?
The brain continuously operates on a spectrum of frequencies associated with a variety of different states (sleep, relaxation, concentration, etc.), with the dominant frequency determining our mental state. Because more than half of the useful frequencies fall below the audible range of the human ear, techniques are used to overcome the limitation. The idea with brainwave entrainment is to temporarily coax the brain into synchronizing with a particular frequency (such as into a similare state to meditation) introduced to boost that one frequency in the brain and make it the more dominant one. Some people are able to use neurofeedback to learn how to alter their brain's state on their own, but for those who can't, Brainwave Entrainment essentially helps guide the brain where you want it to go.
While some people claim it can increase IQ, promote weight loss, treat addictions, and other such promises we need to see more proof of, we use it for the following benefits:
*Reducing Stress and Anxiety
*Improving Sleep Quality
*Increasing Focus and Concentration
*Helping with Learning, Memory, Creativing, and Problem Solving
*Improving Motivation and Energy Levels
The different brainwave frequencies are:
*Gamma Waves (above 40 Hz) - At this level we have increased mental activity, including our "super-senses": perception, fear, problem-solving, and a heighened state of consciousness.
*Beta Waves (13-40 Hz) - This is our typical waking activity when we are fully awake and alert - thinking, feeling. It is the conscious part of the mind.
*Alpha Waves (7-13 Hz) - This is a waking state of relaxation, such as when dozing or watching a movie. Here we find calm, peace, and harmony. It is the entry-way into meditation and the subconscious mind. It is also a place of creativity, super-learning, and peak performance.
*Theta Waves (4-7 Hz) - This is the trance-like state achieved by hypnosis, as well as the brief state between waking and sleeping. It is the deeper subconscious to super-conscious part of the mind where we find forgotten memories, increased learning abiilty, inspired thought and motivation, insight and intuition, problem-solving, and vivid imagery. These are the waves that help you to selpp and deeply relax, and where thos who practice most forms of meditation find themselves.
*Delta Waves (below 4 Hz) - This level induces a very deep, dreamless sleep. It is crucial to reach delta waves when sleeping because it is here that the body repairs itself and the immune system is strengthened, a state of renewal, healing, and rejuvenation. This is the unconscious/super-conscious part of the mind where only the deepest and skilled meditators can reach in a waking state.
What is a Binaural Beat?
A binaural beat is soundwave therapy in which the right and left ears listen to two slightly different frequency tones yet perceive the difference between the tone as a single one. For example, if the frequency in the left ear was 500 Hz and the frequency in the right ear was 510 Hz, the binaural beat the brain would register is the difference between the two, or 10 Hz. Even though sounds below 20 Hz are not normally audible to the human ear, when the two distinct frequencies are introduced separately to the ears, the the brain produces low-frequency vibrations below the hearing threshold. You need to listen to binaural beats through headphones for them to be effective.
What is a Monaural Beat?
A monarual beat is when the same frequency is played in each ear (ex. 95 Hz in each ear) so the sound is combined into one sound before reaching the ear instead of in the brain. Monaural beats don't require the use of headphones.
What is an Isochronic Tone?
Isocohronic tones are combined before reaching the ear, like monaural beats. However, the ones have a pulse effect created the the tones being switched on and off in a predictable pattern. It is thought by some to be the most effective type of brainwave entrainment.
Is it Safe?
Most people have no probles using brainwave entrainment, and even with the noted conditions below, adverse events when using brainwave entrainment are extremely rare. However, to err on the side of caution, there are some contraindications where therapy will not be done, and some where you will need to have written authorization from a primary healthcare provider.
We recommend starting with a 15 minute session until you determine your sensitivity and see how you will respond. You can then work your way up to a longer session, though 15-30 minutes is usually a sufficient length for anybody with a 60 minute session being the longest we offer.
Most common side effects are mild and will disappear after a short while after stopping and/or after your body adjusts. If you experience any unwanted affects, discontinue use and consider a shorter session next time. If they occur again, brainwave entrainment may not be for you:
*Feeling a little "off" or unusual
Side effects that indicate brainwaive entrainment should be stopped immediately and not used again:
*Increase in anxiety
*Increase in heartbeat
*Any other abreaction
You cannot use brainwave entrainment at Healing Vibrations Wellness if:
*You are pregnant (it can cause labour)
*You have epilepsy or other seizure disorders (increases the probability of having a seizure)
*You have an irregular heartbeat, with or without a pacemaker (brainwaves are responsible for heart rhythms)
*You are under 26 (the brain is still developing until the age of 26).
*You have Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, or any other psychotic, dissociative, or personality disorders
*You exhibit any aggressive behaviour, anger/rage, exposive behaviour
*You are taking tranquilizers
You must have permission from a primary healthcare provider if you have any areas of brainwave hyper-arousal or symptoms of instability in brain rhythms, or any condition or ailment that may respond negatively to the sonic effects of binaural, monaural, or isochronic beats. These include but are not limited to:
*OCD or impulsive behaviour
*Sleep problems, such as sleep apnea, recurring nightmares, significant insomnia, or narcolepsy
*Moderate to severe depression or anxiety, or panic attacks
*Diabetes or hypoglycaemia
*Tics, bruxism, or tinnitus
*Anorexia or bulimia
*Chronic pain (including nerve pain and spasticity)