What Is Brain Wave Entrainment?
Would you like to listen to a CD, and have it transport you
easily and quickly to a meditative state? Do you like the idea
of getting all the proven benefits of meditation, without the
self discipline and work normally required? I do, and I've tried
the new brain wave entrainment products. Guess what? They work!
What is brainwave entrainment? To answer that question we
have to look at what brainwaves are and what the various frequencies
indicate. Then we can better understand how brainwave entrainment
recordings work. So let's get started with a basic explanation
of various states of consciousness which we are all familiar
with, even if we did not previously have the names for them.
Based on the dominant electrical frequencies in your brain
at any given moment, you are in one of four different states
of consciousness. These are (from wide awake to sound asleep)
the Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta states. The frequencies associated
with these are measured in hertz, which represents how many cycles-per-second
there are in the electrical activity. Here is a brief explanation
of each state in terms of what we normally experience.
When you are wide awake the beta rhythm is usually dominant.
This state of consciousness is associated with brainwave frequencies
ranging between 14 and 30 hertz. In a beta state you are normally
alert and your eyes are open. Anxiety caused by thinking too
much has been associated with frequencies at the upper end of
The alpha state is one of relaxed alertness, and occurs when
frequencies are between 8 and 14 hertz. You can sometimes enter
this state in less than a minute by simply letting the tension
out of your body and closing your eyes. Some research shows that
you are more creative when in an alpha state, and these frequencies
are associated with daydreaming as well.
This is perhaps the state of consciousness which is most relevant
for our purposes here, because meditation begins in the alpha
range of frequencies. With a few minutes of instruction almost
anyone can meditate well enough to reach this level. Deeper levels
of meditation, which can continue into the theta and even the
delta brainwave frequencies, take a bit of practice or a good
entrainment product to help you along.
When your dominant brainwave frequencies are between 4 and
8 hertz you usually feel very drowsy, because this is the first
stage of sleep (some would consider alpha states as first, but
they do not necessarily come with drowsiness). In fact, most
of the time adults who are in this state are asleep. On the other
hand, for reasons which are not entirely clear the theta state
of consciousness is common in children when they are daydreaming.
This state is defined by brainwave frequencies below around
5 hertz (it overlaps with theta patterns). Some who have a lot
of practice meditating can stay awake even with frequencies in
this range, but normally a person is in deep sleep when in a
Now, it was noticed over the centuries that music could relax
people, but once it was discovered that some pieces of music
were actually inducing an alpha state in people, the effect was
looked at more scientifically. Then, once it was clear how brainwave
frequencies are associated with states of consciousness, the
next step was the development of products that could alter our
brainwaves more effectively and consistently than music does.
Soon we no longer had to look for just certain pieces of classical
music. We could slap on headphones and listen to almost any type
of music, and as long as the right beats and pulses were embedded
in the background we would be effortlessly transported into a
more relaxing state.
What brainwave entrainment does is guide your brain activity,
slowing down or speeding up the electrical frequencies according
how the beats are embedded in the recording and what you want
to accomplish. Most of the time the goal is to slow that brain
down for purposes of meditation. Normally all you have to do
is relax and listen to the recording using stereo headphones.
With a good brainwave entrainment product you can achieve a theta
state, for example, while sitting up so you do not fall asleep.
These became very practical and useful when portable CD players
with came to market, and even more so now that MP3 players are
so common. You can literally be in a meditative state in a matter
of minutes and almost anywhere.
If you decide to try brainwave entrainment, there is a link
to our current recommendation somewhere below.
States of Consciousness:
Here is a quick guide to the basic states of consciousness
according to the brainwave frequencies most often associated
Beta (14 - 30 hertz) - Dominant rhythm when awake,
alert or anxious, with eyes open.
Alpha (8 - 14 hertz) - Relaxed alertness; normally
is induced by closing the eyes and relaxing.
Theta (4 - 8 hertz) - Drowsiness, first stage of sleep;
not common in awake adults, but common in daydreaming children.
Delta (below 5 hertz) - Deep sleep.
They sure seem to work easily for me. Two products in particular
put me in a peaceful state unlike any other music or meditative
practice. Studies will prove the effects (some have already),
and disprove the wilder claims of some of these products. Given
the results I experienced, however, I won't wait for the research,
any more than I would have waited a hundred years ago for proof
of the existence of vitamin C before I'd continue eating limes
to cure scurvy.
Our current recommendation: The