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Binaural beats are a recognized phenomenon, produced by the brain when two distinct audio tones of differing frequency are presented - one to each ear. The effect of hearing these two separate tones is rather an odd one; instead of hearing individual tones, the brain converts the sound into a beating pulse. In essence binaural beats are an auditory hallucination. However, these auditory hallucinations have a very real effect upon the brain, creating what is known as a Frequency Following Response (FFR), where ones brainwaves synchronize with the a set frequency. The hallucinatory beating pulse created by binaural beats can be set to a very specific and pre-determined rate. The rate at which the pulse beats is determined by the difference in frequency between the two individual tones. For example, a tone of 120hz is sent to the right ear, and a tone of 125hz is sent to the left ear - the brain then 'converts' these tones into a single illusionary beating tone of 5hz. 5hz being the difference between 120hz and 125hz. This is where FFR comes into play; the individuals brainwaves will synchronize with the 5hz frequency within approximately 6 minutes of listening. This process is known as 'brainwave synchronization' or more commonly as 'brainwave entrainment'.
The Sub-Sets of Brainwave Entrainment
To take a moment to clarify something; it is quite common for the terms 'binaural beats' and 'brainwave entrainment' to be used interchangeably. More often the term 'binaural beats' is understood to create the FFR phenomenon, but little to nothing is known about the term 'brainwave entrainment'. This is a result of a simple misunderstanding; whilst all FFR phenomenon are a result of brainwave entrainment, not all FFR are caused by binaural beats. In short, binaural beats are a sub-set of the collective term brainwave entrainment. There are many others types of brainwave entrainment, a few of which are listed here:
The Uses of Brainwave Entrainment
In every moment, the brain is producing a complex pattern of brainwaves. These brainwaves are a result of the electro-chemical signals that are sent between the neurons within the brain. Whilst the patterns are very complex, they can be recorded through the use of measuring equipment such as an EEG which in turn determines the frequency of any one particular brainwave. Each specific brainwave frequency is related to a specific state of consciousness, and can be categorized into four basic sub-sets:
The Future of Brainwave Entrainment
The use of sound to induce desired states of consciousness as well as for the use of mental and emotional stimulus is an ancient practice, perhaps even as old as humanity itself. Yet the use of brainwave entrainment as a technology is still very young. New research confirms on an almost monthly basis that entrainment has huge positive potential. Whilst the human mind is little understood, every step towards increased comprehension opens up further areas into the realms of perceiving the nature of consciousness. Brainwave entrainment is serving as a vehicle to both further the science of the human mind, as well as to bring the positive aspects of that science directly into the hands of anyone and everyone. As of now, we face a future of unlimited potential - and it is wonderful that we can all be a part of that right here and now.
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