What Are Binaural Beats?
You probably know, your brain has two hemispheres, or sides, and that each side controls different aspects of your mind, emotions, and body; for example, the right side of your brain controls the physical actions of the left side of your body, and visa versa. You may have also heard that “right brained” people are the creative types, artists and poets, and that “left brained” people are the logical types, like bankers and scientists. (You may also realize, that the “left brain” is the dominant force for most). Many feel that operating from a “whole brain” perspective, meaning having a balance between the feeling and the concrete forms of thinking, is the optimum balance; if, like most people, you are “left brained”, this may open up new avenues of creativity, and if you are in the “right brained” minority, it may help you to implement all those creative ideas with a concrete plan.
It can take years of deep, meditative practice to achieve this whole brain state, time that most of us don’t have; binaural beats are a short cut to achieving this balanced state of mind. By playing slightly different tones into each ear, through headphones, the brainwave patterns can be gently manipulated, creating a state of deep meditation, and whole brain balance. In less than 1/2 an hour, you may find yourself achieving the same level of meditation that otherwise might take weeks, months, or even years.
Our brains operate in five “states”; we generally have a mixture of various brainwaves going all the time, but one “state” will generally be dominant. (It may be when you feel “scrambled”, that your are experiencing a “scrambled” variety of brainwaves; another advantage of binaural beats could be, “straightening your head out”).
Gamma has the highest frequency 40 Hz and above. Advanced meditation and yoga practices associate the Gamma brainwave frequency with a state of pure compassion. Researchers have also discovered that the Gamma brainwave range is associated with a heightened sense of perception, mood and information processing.
Beta has the next highest frequency, between 13 and 40 Hz. This is associated with our normal, everyday waking state. Beta helps in logical thinking, analysis, and active attention. Stress can throw the frequency to the higher ranges of beta.
Alpha operates between 8 and 13 Hz. This occurs during daydreaming, fantasizing and creative visualization. This is often associated with a deeply relaxed state, and with a light trance or meditation.
Theta operates between 4 and 8 Hz. Theta is associated with intuition, and allows us to access our subconscious. It is activated during dream sleep and deep meditational states. Theta is also associated with creative thinking, and allows us to tap into our inner genius.
Delta has the lowest frequency between 0.5 and 4 Hz. Delta is produced during deep sleep.
What are Isochronic Tones?
Isochronic tones are regular, metered pulses of sound, which, like binaural beats, can work to “entrain” the brain into a desired level of meditation. The intensity of the tones can go from 0 to 100 and back in an evenly spaced, regular sequence, leaving a strong impression on the brain.
Unlike binaral beats, isochronic tones do not need headphones; we use isochronic tones primarily on our videos and DVDs. The tone can often be heard as a sort of “helicopter” noise. Isochronic tones differ from binaural beats in that they use a single sound tone, rather than two separate tones.
Research into neuro-feedback has shown specific brainwave patterns are characteristic of negative moods, and overly emotional mood swings. When isochronic tones are used as a stimulus for deeper meditation, research has shown beneficial evidence of reduced anxiety, and increased concentration, as well a calmer, more stable mood.