Brainwave entrainment is important because it can change your brainwaves. And when your brainwaves change, your mental state changes as well.
What does that mean and why does it matter? That’s what this guide is here for! We’re going to explain everything you need to know about brainwaves, how they’re measured, and what scientists have discovered about the benefits of changing them.
An audio brain training method that can have a powerful effect on your mind
Used to help people focus, relax, or sleep better
Subject of over 100 research studies (references)
What are brainwaves?
Connected to everything that you do and feel, there’s a rhythmic response from your brain.
If you’re feeling calm and relaxed, your brain is tapping out a slow and gentle beat. If you’re wide awake and energized, then the rhythm from your brain speeds up.
This rhythm is created as the cells in your brain communicate with each other using electricity. These cells are called neurons, and they are always talking. Everything you experience is processed in these conversations.
If you could watch all your neurons talking to one another, you’d notice their conversation had a steady beat. You would see the levels of electricity from these messages in your brain rise and fall like waves. Brainwaves!
So, “brainwave” is the word we use to describe this rhythm in our brains. What’s most important about this rhythm is that brainwaves are connected to what we’re feeling and doing. But how can we “see” this communication at work so that we can understand it?
How are brainwaves measured?
Enter the electroencephalograph! Or EEG for short.
What it is: a tool to measure and display the electrical activity of the brain that is commonly used by neuroscientists and researchers.
What it’s not: a “thought reader,” or a brain scanner out of some sci-fi future.
How does an EEG work?
EEGs use sensors placed on the head. These sensors can tell when electrical activity from the brain increases or decreases. When displayed on a screen, this looks like a series of waves.
An EEG provides a picture of brainwave rhythm at that moment. A person or machine can look at an EEG reading and count the number of waves per second. That tells them what type of brainwave is present. Knowing that, they have an insight into what the person wearing the EEG is doing or feeling.
Examples of EEG Readings and Meanings
As we learn more from EEGs, we can see what patterns lead to feelings of anxiety and unease, and steer away from them. Or see the brainwaves that appear during calm, focused thinking, and try to boost those.
Audio brainwave training
Brainwaves are all about rhythm. Picture a concert hall with a band about to play. Before the music starts, you probably aren’t seeing a consistent pattern in how the audience moves. But introduce a steady drum beat, and you’ll start to see synchronized movement everywhere.
An incredible discovery was made about 80 years ago. When a steady beat is played, our brainwaves are much like the people at this imaginary concert. Over time, some brainwaves will sync up with the rhythm. And when your brainwaves change, how you feel- your state of mind- changes too.
In research, this effect is also referred to as brainwave entrainment. Here’s a simplified example of how it works:
How Audio Brainwave Training Works:
Let’s look at 3 scientific studies that prove brainwave entrainment can help people focus, relax and sleep better.
Sources for the research we’re talking about above- plus a link to our full research database- can be found right here.
On this topic, we’d prefer to stay only in this realm of actual science and research. Unfortunately, the story of binaural beats contains a few chapters that veer into science fiction.
How to get started
Introducing, Brain.fm. A web and mobile friendly app that uses neuroscience driven music to tangibly improve your focus, relaxation and sleep within 15 to 30 minutes of use.
You can actually dive in right now with the Brain.fm app (get started here). But, we do have some quick advice to help you get the most out of the experience.
3 pro tips for listening to audio brainwave training:
- Wear headphones. You can listen to our audio without them, but we still highly recommend good quality headphones for an optimal experience.
- Listen for 15 to 30 minutes. Though you may start feeling a difference even sooner, a session will last 30 minutes. You’ll want to stick with it for best results.
- Focus on the “beat” as best as you can. No worries though if your attention slips, just gently bring it back.
Our audio brainwave training involves more than just binaural beats. We’ve built brain.fm using decades of insightful research (over 180 studies) and experience building brainwave entrainment software. We’ll spare all the technical details for now and just say that we’re obsessed with every aspect of how audio can impact your brain. We’ve spent years perfecting the small but vital parts of sound design. For every session, we have neuroscientists carefully analyze the the impact on an EEG. Nothing gets released until we’re positive we’re seeing big and beneficial changes in brainwave activity.
Ready to dive in? Click below to get started:
Sources for “Research Backed Benefits”
Alhambra, Marabella A., Timothy P. Fowler, and Antonio A. Alhambra. “EEG biofeedback: A new treatment option for ADD/ADHD.” Journal of Neurotherapy 1.2 (1995): 39-43.
Pavlenko, V. B., Chernyi, S. V., & Goubkina, D. G. (2009). EEG correlates of anxiety and emotional stability in adult healthy subjects. Neurophysiology, 41 (5), 337-345.
Botella-Soler, V., Valderrama, M., Crépon, B., Navarro, V., & Le Van Quyen, M. (2012). Large-scale cortical dynamics of sleep slow waves. PloS one, 7 (2), e30757.
Le Scouranec, R. P., Poirier, R. M., Owens, J. E., & Gauthier, J. (2001). Use of binaural beat tapes for treatment of anxiety: a pilot study of tape preference and outcomes. Alternative therapies in health and medicine, 7 (1), 58.
Patrick, G. J. (1996). Improved neuronal regulation in ADHD: An application of 15 sessions of photic-driven EEG neurotherapy. Journal of Neurotherapy, 1 (4), 27-36.
Santostasi, G (2015). Sleep study at Northwestern University Neuroscience Center. Awaiting publication.
(Our full list of research conducted in this field can be found here.)