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Theory Behind BrainWave Generator

EEG and the brain's state

EEG (Electroencephalography) technology is used to measure brain's electrical vibrations from the surface of the scalp. The resulting EEG pattern will contain frequency elements mainly below 30Hz. The frequencies are categorized into four states as follows:

State Frequency range    State of mind
Delta   0.5Hz - 4Hz Deep sleep
Theta   4Hz - 8Hz Drowsiness (also first stage of sleep)
Alpha   8Hz - 14Hz Relaxed but alert
Beta   14Hz - 30Hz Highly alert and focused

The dominant frequency in the EEG pattern determines what shall be called the current state of the brain. If the amplitude of the alpha range frequencies is highest, then the brain is said to be in the alpha stage. Note, that other frequencies still exist and it is impossible to give any "exact frequency your brain is operating on". However, later references to the brain states use the simplification of assuming that such a single frequency exists.

Entraining the brain to a desired state

If external stimulus is applied to the brain, it becomes possible to entrain the brain frequency from one stage to another. For example, if a person is in beta stage (highly alert) and a stimulus of 10Hz is applied to his/her brain for some time, the brain frequency is likely to change towards the applied stimulus. The effect will be relaxing to the person. This phenomenon is also called frequency following response.

When the brain's state is close to the applied stimulus, entrainment works more efficiently. Thus, when doing a sweep from one frequency to another, the starting frequency should be as close to your current brain state as possible. The sweep speed should be such that your brain's state changes steadily with it, so that the difference never gets very large. In practice, it is difficult to determine your brain state without extra equipment (like EEG devices). However, you can quite safely assume that during the day your brain is in the beta stage (about 20Hz) and you can start the sweep from there. If you are already somewhat relaxed, you can use a start frequency of 15Hz or a few Hz lower.

Stimulating the brain with binaural beat frequencies

The easiest way of applying stimulus to the brain is via ears. Other senses could be used as well, and vision is actually used quite often (often in addition to hearing). However, humans cannot hear sounds low enough to be useful for brain stimulation, so special techniques must be used. One such special technique used is called binaural beats.

If the left ear is presented with a steady tone of 500Hz and the right ear a steady tone of 510Hz, these two tones combine in the brain. The difference, 10Hz, is perceived by the brain and is a very effective stimulus for brainwave entrainment. This 10Hz is formed entirely by the brain. When using stereo headphones, the left and right sounds do not mix together until in your brain. The frequency difference, when perceived by brain this way, is called a binaural beat.

The effect of the audible frequencies used

To get a stimulus of 10Hz, you may use tones of 500Hz and 510Hz, or 400Hz and 410Hz, or 800Hz and 810Hz, or so on. The only requirements are that the tone is heard well enough and that it is below about 1000Hz. Below 1000Hz, the wavelength of the skull is sufficiently small so that the sound waves curve around it.

You may try out different audible tones with BrainWave Generator and see which ones work best for you.

Altered brain states

As mentioned above, applying a stimulus to the brain will eventually bring the brain's state closer to the stimulus frequency. The following paragraphs describe some possible effects of this.

Note, however, that just passively listening to binaural beats does not necessarily alter your state of consciousness. For example, willingness and ability to relax and focus attention affects how effective the binaural beat stimulus is for inducing state changes.

Helping in meditation

Meditation is essentially about willingly being able to alter one's brain frequency to a desired state. While meditators have traditionally used several years to learn the techniques of meditation, you can now attain the same effect with brainwave entrainment. No special training or great discipline is required. Good meditation frequencies are in the alpha range, from 8Hz to 13Hz.

When a certain brainwave state is experienced and practiced over a period of time, the brain will "learn" the state change and it will become easier to self-produce the desired brainwave state at will. Thus, using brainwave entrainment, you can expect to get some of its effects later even without any entrainment.

Reducing learning time

The theta stage (4hz - 7Hz) has been found to increase learning capabilities. In fact, children spend more time in theta stage than adults, which probably explains the accelerated learning capabilities of children.

Alpha frequencies are also useful for learning purposes. You can play language cassettes, subliminal tapes, etc. during an entrainment session for a maximum effect.

Reducing sleep needs

Some people have found that half an hour a day of the Theta stage can replace up to 4 hours of sleep.

Treatment of certain mental diseases

Brainwave entrainment is used in treatment of depression, low self-esteem, attention deficit disorder, drug and alcohol addiction and autism, to name a few.

Brainwave entrainment has also been found helpful in alleviating headaches and migraines.

Miscellaneous

Some users have also reported increases in their sex drive as a result of brainwave entrainment.

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Updated: October 3rd 2004
Noromaa Solutions
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