Entrainment of Oscillating Systems
Binaural Beats Work on the Brain
"Frequency-Following Response" Effect
Uses Of Audio With Embedded Binaural Beats
Your Brains Sodium/Potassium Ratio In Theta
What Are Binaural Beats?
Binaural beats are auditory brainstem responses which originate
in the superior olivary nucleus of each hemisphere. They result
from the interaction of two different auditory impulses, originating
in opposite ears, below 1000 Hz and which differ in frequency
between one and 30 Hz (Oster, 1973).For example, if a pure tone
of 400 Hz is presented to the right ear and a pure tone of 410
Hz is presented simultaneously to the left ear, an amplitude modulated
standing wave of 10 Hz, the difference between the two tones,
is experienced as the two wave forms mesh in and out of phase
within the superior olivary nuclei. This binaural beat is not
heard in the ordinary sense of the word (the human range of hearing
is from 20-20,000 Hz). It is perceived as an auditory beat and
theoretically can be used to entrain specific neural rhythms through
the frequency-following response (FFR)--the tendency for cortical
potentials to entrain to or resonate at the frequency of an external
stimulus. Thus, it is theoretically possible to utilize a specific
binaural-beat frequency as a consciousness management technique
to entrain a specific cortical rhythm.
The binaural-beat appears to be associated with an electroencephalographic
(EEG) frequency-following response in the brain(3). Many studies
have demonstrated the presence of a frequency-following response
to auditory stimuli, recorded at the vertex of the human brain
(top of the head). This EEG activity was termed "frequency-following
response" because its period corresponds to the fundamental
frequency of the stimulus (Smith, Marsh, & Brown, 1975). Binaural-beat
stimulation appears to encourage access to altered states of consciousness.
Various Uses Of Audio With Embedded
Uses of audio with embedded binaural beats that are mixed with
music or various pink or background sound are diverse. They range
from relaxation, meditation, stress reduction, pain management,
improved sleep quality, decrease in sleep requirements, super
learning, enhanced creativity and intuition, remote viewing, telepathy,
and out-of-body experience and lucid dreaming. Audio embedded
with binaural beats is often combined with various meditation
techniques, as well as positive affirmations and visualization.
Resonant Entrainment of
Resonant entrainment of oscillating systems is a well-understood
principle within the physical sciences. If a tuning fork designed
to produce a frequency of 440 Hz is struck (causing it to oscillate)
and then brought into the vicinity of another 440 Hz tuning fork,
the second tuning fork will begin to oscillate. The first tuning
fork is said to have entrained the second or caused it to resonate.
The physics of entrainment apply to biosystems as well. Of interest
here are the electromagnetic brain waves. The electrochemical
activity of the brain results in the production of electromagnetic
wave forms which can be objectively measured with sensitive equipment.
Brain waves change frequencies based on neural activity within
the brain. Because neural activity is electrochemical, brain function
can be modified through the introduction of specific chemicals
(drugs), by altering the brains electromagnetic environment
through induction, or through resonant entrainment techniques.
The Discovery Of Binaural
Binaural beats were discovered in 1839 by a German experimenter,
H. W. Dove. The human ability to "hear" binaural beats
appears to be the result of evolutionary adaptation. Many evolved
species can detect binaural beats because of their brain structure.
The frequencies at which binaural beats can be detected change
depending upon the size of the species cranium. In the human,
binaural beats can be detected when carrier waves are below approximately
1000 Hz (Oster, 1973). Below 1000 Hz the wave length of the signal
is longer than the diameter of the human skull. Thus, signals
below 1000 Hz curve around the skull by diffraction. The same
effect can be observed with radio wave propagation. Lower-frequency
(longer wave length) radio waves (such as AM radio) travel around
the earth over and in between mountains and structures. Higher-frequency
(shorter wave length) radio waves (such as FM radio, TV, and microwaves)
travel in a straight line and cant curve around the earth.
Mountains and structures block these high-frequency signals. Because
frequencies below 1000 Hz curve around the skull, incoming signals
below 1000 Hz are heard by both ears. But due to the distance
between the ears, the brain "hears" the inputs from
the ears as out of phase with each other. As the sound wave passes
around the skull, each ear gets a different portion of the wave.
It is this waveform phase difference that allows for accurate
location of sounds below 1000 Hz(9). Audio direction finding at
higher frequencies is less accurate than it is for frequencies
below 1000 Hz. At 8000 Hz the pinna (external ear) becomes effective
as an aid to localization. In summary its the ability of
the brain to detect a waveform phase difference is what enables
it to perceive binaural beats.
How Binaural Beats Work On The
When signals of two different frequencies are presented, one
to each ear, the brain detects phase differences between these
signals. "Under natural circumstances a detected phase difference
would provide directional information. The brain processes this
anomalous information differently when these phase differences
are heard with stereo headphones or speakers. A perceptual integration
of the two signals takes place, producing the sensation of a third
"beat" frequency. The difference between the signals
waxes and wanes as the two different input frequencies mesh in
and out of phase. As a result of these constantly increasing and
decreasing differences, an amplitude-modulated standing wave -the
binaural beat- is heard. The binaural beat is perceived as a fluctuating
rhythm at the frequency of the difference between the two auditory
inputs. Evidence suggests that the binaural beats are generated
in the brainstems superior olivary nucleus, the first site
of contralateral integration in the auditory system (Oster, 1973).
Studies also suggest that the frequency-following response originates
from the inferior colliculus (Smith, Marsh, & Brown, 1975)"
(Owens & Atwater, 1995). This activity is conducted to the
cortex where it can be recorded by scalp electrodes.
Binaural beats can easily be heard at the low frequencies (<
30 Hz) that are characteristic of the EEG spectrum (Oster, 1973).
This perceptual phenomenon of binaural beating and the objective
measurement of the frequency-following response (Hink, Kodera,
Yamada, Kaga, & Suzuki, 1980) suggest conditions which facilitate
entrainment of brain waves and altered states of consciousness.
There have been numerous anecdotal reports and a growing number
of research efforts reporting changes in consciousness associated
with binaural-beats. "The subjective effect of listening
to binaural beats may be relaxing or stimulating, depending on
the frequency of the binaural-beat stimulation" (Owens &
Atwater, 1995). Binaural beats in the delta (1 to 4 Hz) and theta
(4 to 8 Hz) ranges have been associated with reports of relaxed,
meditative, and creative states (Hiew, 1995), and used as an aid
to falling asleep. Binaural beats in the alpha frequencies (8
to 12 Hz) have increased alpha brain waves (Foster, 1990) and
binaural beats in the beta frequencies (typically 16 to 24 Hz)
have been associated with reports of increased concentration or
alertness (Monroe, 1985) and improved memory (Kennerly, 1994).
Passively listening to binaural beats may not spontaneously propel
you into an altered state of consciousness. Ones subjective
experience in response to binaural-beat stimulation may also be
influenced by a number of mediating factors. For example, the
willingness and ability of the listener to relax and focus attention
may contribute to binaural-beat effectiveness in inducing state
changes. "Ultradian rhythms in the nervous system are characterized
by periodic changes in arousal and states of consciousness (Rossi,
Shannahoff-Khalsa, 1991; Webb & Dube, 1981). These naturally
occurring shifts may underlie the anecdotal reports of fluctuations
in the effectiveness of binaural beats. External factors are also
thought to play roles in mediating the effects of binaural beats"
(Owens & Atwater, 1995). The perception of a binaural beat
is, for example, said to be heightened by the addition of white
noise to the carrier signal (Oster, 1973), so white noise is often
used as background. "Music, relaxation exercises, guided
imagery, and verbal suggestion have all been used to enhance the
state-changing effects of the binaural beat" (Owens &
Atwater, 1995). Other practices such as humming, toning, breathing
exercises, autogenic training, and/or biofeedback can also be
used to interrupt the homeostasis of resistant subjects (Tart,
Brain Waves and Consciousness
Controversies concerning the brain, mind, and consciousness have
existed since the early Greek philosophers argued about the nature
of the mind-body relationship, and none of these disputes has
been resolved. Modern neurologists have located the mind in the
brain and have said that consciousness is the result of electrochemical
neurological activity. There are, however, growing observations
to the contrary. There is no neurophysiological research which
conclusively shows that the higher levels of mind (intuition,
insight, creativity, imagination, understanding, thought, reasoning,
intent, decision, knowing, will, spirit, or soul) are located
in brain tissue (Hunt, 1995). A resolution to the controversies
surrounding the higher mind and consciousness and the mind-body
problem in general may need to involve an epistemological shift
to include extra-rational ways of knowing (de Quincey, 1994) and
cannot be comprehended by neurochemical brain studies alone. We
are in the midst of a revolution focusing on the study of consciousness
(Owens, 1995). Penfield, an eminent contemporary neurophysiologist,
found that the human mind continued to work in spite of the brains
reduced activity under anesthesia. Brain waves were nearly absent
while the mind was just as active as in the waking state. The
only difference was in the content of the conscious experience.
Following Penfields work, other researchers have reported
awareness in comatose patients (Hunt, 1995) and there is a growing
body of evidence which suggests that reduced cortical arousal
while maintaining conscious awareness is possible (Fischer, 1971;West
1980; Delmonte, 1984; Goleman 1988; Jevning, Wallace, & Beidenbach,
1992; Wallace, 1986; Mavromatis, 1991). These states are variously
referred to as meditative, trance, altered, hypnogogic, hypnotic,
and twilight-learning states (Budzynski, 1986). Broadly defined,
the various forms of altered states rest on the maintenance of
conscious awareness in a physiologically reduced state of arousal
marked by parasympathetic dominance (Mavromatis, 1991). Recent
physiological studies of highly hypnotizable subjects and adept
meditators indicate that maintaining awareness with reduced cortical
arousal is indeed possible in selected individuals as a natural
ability or as an acquired skill (Sabourin, Cutcomb, Crawford,
& Pribram, 1993). More and more scientists are expressing
doubts about the neurologists brain-mind model because it
fails to answer so many questions about our ordinary experiences,
as well as evading our mystical and spiritual ones. The scientific
evidence supporting the phenomenon of remote viewing alone is
sufficient to show that mind-consciousness is not a local phenomenon
If mind-consciousness is not the brain, why then does science
relate states of consciousness and mental functioning to brain-wave
frequencies? And how is it that audio with embedded binaural beats
alters brain waves? The first question can be answered in terms
of instrumentation. There is no objective way to measure mind
or consciousness with an instrument. Mind-consciousness appears
to be a field phenomenon which interfaces with the body and the
neurological structures of the brain (Hunt, 1995). One cannot
measure this field directly with current instrumentation. On the
other hand, the electrical potentials of brain waves can be measured
and easily quantified. Contemporary science likes things that
can be measured and quantified. The problem here lies in oversimplification
of the observations. EEG patterns measured on the cortex are the
result of electroneurological activity of the brain. But the brains
electroneurological activity is not mind-consciousness. EEG measurements
then are only an indirect means of assessing the mind-consciousness
interface with the neurological structures of the brain. As crude
as this may seem, the EEG has been a reliable way for researchers
to estimate states of consciousness based on the relative proportions
of EEG frequencies. Stated another way, certain EEG patterns have
been historically associated with specific states of consciousness.
It is reasonable to assume, given the current EEG literature,
that if a specific EEG pattern emerges it is probably accompanied
by a particular state of consciousness.
As to the second question raised in the above paragraph, audio
with embedded binaural beats alters the electrochemical environment
of the brain. This allows mind-consciousness to have different
experiences. When the brain is entrained to lower frequencies
and awareness is maintained, a unique state of consciousness emerges.
This state is often referred to as hypnogogia "mind awake/body
asleep." Slightly higher-frequency entrainment can lead to
hyper suggestive states of consciousness. Still higher-frequency
EEG states are associated with alert and focused mental activity
needed for the optimal performance of many tasks. Perceived reality
changes depending on the state of consciousness of the perceiver
(Tart, 1975). Some states of consciousness provide limited views
of reality, while others provide an expanded awareness of reality.
For the most part, states of consciousness change in response
to the ever-changing internal environment and surrounding stimulation.
For example, states of consciousness are subject to influences
like drugs and circadian and ultradian rhythms (Rossi, 1986; Shannahoff-Khalsa,
1991; Webb & Dube, 1981). Specific states of consciousness
can also be learned as adaptive behaviors to demanding circumstances
(Green and Green, 1986).
Synchronized brain waves
Synchronized brain waves have long been associated with meditative
and hypnogogic states, and audio with embedded binaural beats
has the ability to induce and improve such states of consciousness.
The reason for this is physiological. Each ear is "hardwired"
(so to speak) to both hemispheres of the brain (Rosenzweig, 1961).
Each hemisphere has its own olivary nucleus (sound-processing
center) which receives signals from each ear. In keeping with
this physiological structure, when a binaural beat is perceived
there are actually two standing waves of equal amplitude and frequency
present, one in each hemisphere. So, there are two separate standing
waves entraining portions of each hemisphere to the same frequency.
The binaural beats appear to contribute to the hemispheric synchronization
evidenced in meditative and hypnogogic states of consciousness.
Brain function is also enhanced through the increase of cross-collosal
communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
Resetting Your Brains
Sodium/Potassium Ratio In Theta
Your brain cells reset their sodium & potassium ratios when
the brain is in Theta state. The sodium & potassium levels
are involved in osmosis which is the chemical process that transports
chemicals into and out of your brain cells. After an extended
period in the Beta state the ratio between potassium and sodium
is out of balance. This the main cause of what is known as "mental
fatigue". A brief period in Theta (about 5 - 15min) can restore
the ratio to normal resulting in mental refreshment.
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