Anyone who has sought out different methods for enhancing cognitive ability will probably have come across a therapy known as Brainwave Entrainment. However, it is a fairly niche area of brain training, meaning that this form of stimulation is often overlooked in favour of more mainstream therapies. The following outlines what Brainwave Entrainment actually is, how it is used, and some of the benefits attributed to it.
What does Brainwave Entrainment exactly involve?
By exposing an individual to repeatedly external stimulus which can be flashing lights and/or recurring sounds, the entrainment process consists in pushing the brain to adjust to match the frequency provided. Unlike other forms of neurotherapy which require the individual to actively respond to stimulus, entrainment creates an immediate neurophysical response which is instinctive and effortless for the person being provided with the light and/or sound combinations. The key outcome of the sensory stimulation is known as the ‘Frequency Following Response’.
The various mental states of the individual are thought to take place across a varied range of frequencies, or brainwaves. By encouraging the frequency following process, entrainment is able to create positive change in the brain, through matching carefully-selected frequencies of light and/or sound. The stimulus enables the individual to access a different state of consciousness, which can be useful for a number of benefits including relaxation, anxiety management, stress reduction and more.
How is Brainwave Entrainment used?
Brainwave Entrainment can deploy light and sound in combination:
* Techniques for the sound element of the training mainly consist of either binaural beats or isochronic tones:
– Binaural beats are used by playing two different tones, one in each ear at the same time. The brain responds to this dual stimulus by creating a third tone, which is at a frequency mid-way between the two provided.
– The most powerful element of the sound mix is the isochronic tones. As the newest pulse introduced to entrainment, it features a rapid series of sounds that the brain gets attuned to.
Binaural beats and isochronic tones are usually compiled on a recording which may also include classical or relaxing music, or even sounds of nature such as birdsong or babbling water, rain or wind.
* The light element of entrainment is usually provided through specially-adapted glasses which emit pulses or flashes of light in time with the sounds being played. This provides a further level of stimulation, eliciting increased brainwave response for frequency following.
How Brain Entrainment can be used to promote wellbeing:
Combined, the pulsed light and multiple sound waves create a sensory experience which stimulates the brain to adjust, eliciting a deep sense of relaxation which can increase cognitive awareness, stress management ability and improved sense of wellbeing.
Unlike many traditional therapies for dealing with stress, anxiety, depression or cognitive impairment, entrainment does not require a focused effort from the person having the therapy, as the brain instinctively follows the frequency. This makes it a much more effective therapy for managing some of these challenging conditions, by automatically inducing a sense of relaxation and a reduction in negative physical and emotional patterns.
Practitioners are discovering a number of different areas in which entrainment therapy may bring positive benefits. From managing mental health more effectively through to providing increased mental focus and concentration, it is thought the technique can be adapted according to the specific issues being treated. An improved immune system, enhanced levels of pain management, and a reduction in autoimmune disorders are also thought to be achieved through the therapy, leading many individuals with chronic ill health to consider brainwave entrainment as a non-invasive yet effective therapy.
Brainwave entrainment is growing increasingly popular as practitioners and recipients recognize the benefits of the ‘Frequency Following Response’. By inducing an immediate response in the brain, entrainment is a fast and effective way of bringing about positive change and reducing negative states in the individual.
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