You have probably already heard that the human brain is an electrochemical organ. It is powered by electricity and chemicals, but what exactly does that mean? To begin with electricity, brain’s electrical activity can be seen in the form of brainwaves. Certain types of brainwaves are more active than others. You have probably heard of them, but would you know how to rank them or differentiate between them? Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta… Did you know that they change according to what we are doing?
Delta brainwaves are predominant during the slow-wave sleep, they are slow and have the highest amplitude. Theta brainwaves occur most often in the state between being awake and drifting off to sleep. We can also detect them during a light sleep. Alpha brainwaves occur when our mind is awakened, yet relaxed and ready to learn. Beta brainwaves help us stay concentrated and alert during a focused mental activity. We can see a progression there, but It is important to note, that one type of brainwaves is not better than the other – they all serve their purpose and are therefore different. This is an important factor of our effectiveness at focusing, learning, relaxing or getting a good night’s sleep. Slower brainwaves lead to tiredness, while faster ones dictate responsiveness and alertness.
Problems arise when our brain frequency is not aligned with what we are trying to achieve. We have all experienced how fear and stress inhibit us from thinking clearly and concentrating. Sometimes we need a little help to do what needs to be done, let it be focus or simply falling asleep. Is there a solution to these situations? Sure, some people would turn for help to pills, because brain is partly a chemical organ. But a different option exists. We can influence the electrical side of brain. This can be achieved through brainwave entrainment.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines entrainment as drawing along with or after oneself. In what manner is that related to our brain’s functioning? Well, our brain does have a wonderful ability to adjust its brainwaves to external frequencies. Yes, you read that correctly. Our brain adapts to exterior. Brainwave entrainment is the process of stimulating brain to work at certain frequencies by using external stimuli, which can be either visual, auditory or extremely low frequency electromagnetic waves. So, we need either a pulsing sound or light or an electromagnetic field and our brain will respond by synchronizing its own electric cycles to the rhythm that those pulses produce. This phenomenon is known as a ‘frequency following’ response. This means, that an external device can help us tune up for either sleeping or learning and staying focused.
In 1997 we could publicly see the frequency following response caused by bright flashing lights in a Japanese cartoon, which triggered seizures in hundreds of children. Flashing lights influence those inclined to epilepsy. Due to that fact, we can see warnings today, that TV shows contain flashing images. All that effort to avoid the aforementioned scenario. Take heed, everything is not so gloomy. On the positive side, brainwave entrainment is used to induce desired brainwave states, for example to help us study or fall asleep. To reach the desired states, we could use binaural beats, which use auditory stimulus or light pulse systems, which use ELF electromagnetic waves stimulus. We’ll write more about them in our next blog.