Relaxation, meditation and restful sleep can help one attain a well-rounded and healthy life. For many on a spiritual path, the connection of body, mind, and spirit are important, as this approach helps you to achieve a better understanding of self. Through techniques such as meditation, we can learn to work within ourselves in order to reduce stress and anxiety, while opening our minds to natural healing modalities. The human brain is a powerful instrument. Incorporate tones, frequency, and music, we now have a toolbox of techniques that are very useful for getting the mind to a desired meditative state.
The brain cycles through several natural biological brainwave states throughout the day and night. Each brainwave state works within its own specific frequency range: Beta, alpha, theta, delta, and gamma. At any given moment, the brain is capable of activity in multiple brainwave states at the same time. The current level of consciousness indicates the dominant area of brainwave activity, or state of mind. Because the various brainwave states operate at lower frequencies, it is possible to recreate those frequencies in audible tones. Simply listening to these audible sounds helps the brain enter into a brainwave state based upon the chosen frequency.
Binaural beats were discovered in 1839 by German Professor Heinrich Wilhelm Dove. These auditory tones are brainstem responses which originate in a specific area of each hemisphere of the brain, resulting in an interaction of two different frequencies or impulses heard through each ear at 1000 hertz or less. Binaural beats also differ in frequency and range between one and 40 hertz. To simplify, if a tone of 300 hertz is heard through the right ear, and a tone of 310 hertz is heard through the left ear simultaneously, the 10 hertz difference between the tones is created in the brain. The binaural beat is not actually heard, but is the brain’s ability to detect a waveform phase difference and enables the perception of a binaural beat between the frequency “gap.” Because of the way binaural beats work, they can be used to help the brain induce deeper sleep and meditation, bring forth creativity and relax both mind and body.
Binaural beats are the result of the evolutionary process of evolved species due to brain structure. The frequencies at which we can perceive binaural beats depends upon the size of the cranium. Humans generally can detect these wavelength frequencies at 1000 hertz or less. These wavelengths are longer and tend to curve around the human skull by deflection, whereas frequencies above 1000 hertz are shorter and travel faster through the cranium.
Binaural beats are created in the beta, alpha, theta, delta, and gamma frequencies. Gamma is the most rapid brainwave state and resonates at frequencies of 40 hertz or higher. Binaural beats in Gamma are designed for creative energy and not conducive to a relaxing or meditative state. High levels of information processing or bursts of creative thinking are the result of brain activity in the gamma frequency range.
When your mind is mentally active or you feel focused and can concentrate, the brain is working within the beta brainwave state. Exercising, speaking to a group or actively participating in conversation also falls within the beta state and corresponds to frequencies that range from 12 to 40 hertz.
Alpha brainwaves are associated with a state of relaxed mental awareness. Resonating in the 8 to 12 hertz frequency range, brain activity within the alpha state includes problem solving, visualization, acute observation and powerful levels of creativity.
Deep relaxation and meditation, enhancement in creativity as well as the release of stress and anxiety can be obtained through the theta state. Meditation in the theta state can help improve well-being and overall health. Frequencies for this brainwave state range from four to eight hertz. It is in this area that we dream during sleep.
The delta brainwave state resonates with frequencies from zero to four hertz and is the slowest of all wavelength frequencies mentioned. The brain resides in this state only during deep dreamless sleep. Delta brainwave activity has also been associated with profound healing of the mind and body.
YouTube is one of the best places to experiment with a diverse selection of binaural beats. There are many brainwave states and healing genres to choose from, and listening is free. Caution is advised, as some binaural beats can be too stimulating for certain individual personality types and can create an effect similar to a caffeine rush, though harmless.
Michael Lausterer is master essential oil therapist and owner of Basic Earth Essentials located in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania. He is also a professional chef and clinical nutritionist.