What are binaural beats?
Binaural beats are not audio sounds in the normal sense that we understand sound. They are basically a reaction of the brain when two sounds of slightly different frequencies (within 30 hertz) are fed to ears – one frequency to each ear. The brain senses them as amplitude modulated standing wave with a frequency equal to the frequency difference of the input waves. For example, if one ear is fed with a frequency of 360 Hz and the other ear with 370 Hz, the brain will perceive it as a 10 Hz, which is created in the brain. So what is fed to ears and what is perceived in the brain are different.
Binaural beat is not heard as normal sound, which falls in the range 20 – 20,000 Hz for humans. However, the brain resonates in tune with the frequency of the beat – known as its frequency following response to the stimulus. This mechanism has been exploited to generate altered states of consciousness. By adjusting the frequencies of the input waves it is possible to induce specific mental states.
For more in-depth information, read on Understanding Binaural Beats.
Brainwave Frequencies And Various States Of Mind
Brain produces different types of waves based on the conscious state of our mind.
- Brain waves below 4Hz, called delta waves, are associated with deep dreamless sleep or loss of body awareness.
- 4 – 7 Hz Waves, called theta waves, arise in dreams, deep meditation, or in REM sleep.
- Alpha waves, 7 – 13 Hz, are typically associated with visualization, problem solving, deeper levels of creativities, and relaxed awake state of mind.
- Beta waves, 13 – 40 Hz, are associated with heightened alertness, active concentration, and arousal, busy and anxious thinking, etc.
- Gamma waves have frequencies higher than 40 Hz. They are normally observed still high mental activities such as problem solving, fear, etc.
At any time, several wave frequencies are present but some particular wave dominates reflecting the prominent state of the conscious mind. For example, when alpha waves dominate, the person is likely to be in a relaxed waking state and other frequency waves will have lower amplitudes.
It is normally suggested to start the audio input with a frequency close to the person’s current dominant brainwave frequency, that is likely to be about 20 Hz for a normal waking state. With binaural beats operating in this region, the brainwaves will adjust to match it. This matching of the brainwaves with the beat frequency is called entrainment. Now the beats can be slowly changed and the brainwaves will follow it. This provides the handle to place a person in any desired level of consciousness.
At lower brainwave frequencies, there is an increased synchronization or balance between the two hemispheres of the brain. This creates conditions of deep relaxation, tranquility, flashes of insights, enhanced learning abilities, and highly focused concentration.
Various Uses Of Audio Music Embedded With Binaural Beats
Music incorporated with binaural beats can be used for a diverse range of applications. For example, to reduce stress and anxiety, for meditation, relaxation, pain management, improving quality of sleep, enhancing intuition and creativity, telepathy, lucid dreaming, out of body experience, etc.
The recordings become further effective when used along with positive affirmations and visualization techniques. The response to binaural beat stimulation may differ in people depending upon their ability to relax and pay attention. However, these can be improved by yoga, meditation on breathing, humming, biofeedback techniques, etc.
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