research article

Binaural beats, a technology for unlocking human potential.

How Binaural Beats Work

The science of brainwaves
by meditationroom.org

When two tones of slightly different frequency are simultaneously played into the left and right ear, with each ear hearing a different tone, the brain creates a third tone - a pulse exactly equal to the difference between the two tones used. For example, using tones of 210 Hz and 200 Hz creates a pulse of 10 Hz.

Using this method very precise virtual sounds (called binaural beats) can be created in the brain, including frequencies below the normal threshold of human hearing (on average from 20 to 20.000 Hz)6.

This is important as low brain wave frequencies are correlated with more settled states of awareness, such as relaxation, meditation, clear/creative thinking and sleep; brain wave states that can be actively stimulated using binaural beats.

Feeding a different auditory stimulus to each hemisphere of the brain (through the ears) has the potential to create an additional and highly desirable benefit - whole-brain synchronization.

Greater neuronal connectivity within and between both sides (hemispheres) of the brain improves performance (your mind power) and is indicated in long-term meditators7 and highly successful and creative individuals.

The healthy brain operates across a broad spectrum of frequencies, but usually with one dominant frequency. This dominant frequency indicates your experience - such as sleep, creative expression, clarity etc.

Some combinations of brain wave frequency have also been categorized, in particular the Awakened Mind brain wave pattern, first observed by the British psychobiologist and biophysicist C. Maxwell Cade in the early 1970s.

Cade measured the brain wave patterns of healers, spiritual teachers and advanced meditators and found a pattern he classified as "lucid awareness coexistent with thought processes."8

The experiental qualities associated with different brain wave frequencies fall into 5 groups, called gamma, beta, alpha, theta, and delta respectively.


FrequencyNameAssociated with
>40HzGamma WavesHigher mental activity including perception, problem solving, compassion.
13-40HzBeta WavesBusy or anxious thinking, concentration, arousal, feelings of separation, cognition.
7-13HzAlpha WavesRelaxation, superlearning, serotonin production, pre-sleep and pre-wake drowsiness.
4-7HzTheta WavesDreams, deep meditation, increased creativity, emotional experiences, REM sleep.
<4HzDelta WavesDeep dreamless sleep, release of HGH, loss of body awareness.

Further reading on Wikipedia.


Choose your state of awareness

Use our free binaural beats to enhance your experience of life - deepen your meditation practice, improve your work or study performance, catch up on sleep or just peacefully relax after a stressful day.

Binaural beats are easy to use and can be combined with your favorite background music, nature sounds or white noise and stored on a mobile device.

It takes typically 7-8 minutes of listening for the brain to tune in to the binaural beat, shorter periods of listening are unlikely to produce any effect. Stereo headphones are required.

There are many potential uses and sound-combinations possible with binaural beats - if there is a particular binaural beat you want to see on MR, let us know and we will consider including your suggestion in the MR ibrary.


References

  • Oster, G. (1973) Auditory beats in the brain. Scientific American, 229, pp. 94-102.
  • Wikipedia: Heinrich Wilhelm Dove.
  • Monroe, R. A. (1985) Far journeys. New York: Doubleday.
  • Worden, F.G., Marsh, J.T. (July, 1968) Frequency-following (microphonic-like) neural responses evoked by sound. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology 25 (1): 42-52.
  • Robert Cosgrove, Jr., Ph.D., M.D., quoted from Hutchison, Michael. Megabrain Power. New York: Hyperion, 1994. p. 89.
  • Wikipedia: Human Hearing Range.
  • Delmonte, M. M. (1984). Electrocortical activity and related phenomena associated with meditation practice: A literature review. International Journal of Neuroscience, 24, pp. 217-231.
  • Cade, C. M., & Coxhead, N. (1979). The Awakened Mind. Longmead, Great Britain: Element Books.
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