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Brainwave Entrainment with Audio

Using audio to entrain brainwaves was another big discovery.

It started in 1839, when a Prussian scientist known as Heinrich Wilhelm Dove uncovered something that we now call "binaural beats" - although at the time he didn't have the scientific validation to prove his discovery.

H.W. Dove found that by playing different frequencies in each ear, the difference between those frequencies is realized inside the head – a perceived pulse or beat, also known as a binaural beat.

For example, if you played 400Hz into the left ear, and 410Hz into the right ear, the difference of 10Hz is actually 'heard' by the brain.

In other words, H.W. Dove found a way of exposing the brain to a particular frequency.

And, as we already know, when the brain is 'listening' to these low frequencies, it will automatically entrain itself to them – which, in turn, will bring about the relevant state of mind.

So, for 10Hz, that means the listener will begin to enjoy feelings of relaxation.

It wasn’t until 1959 that this method actually gained both scientific validation and widespread recognition as a brainwave entrainment technique.

Since then, even further research into audible brainwave entrainment has been performed, and fresh, even more powerful techniques have been uncovered - primarily, monaural beats and isochronic tones.

Monaural beats have the advantage of not requiring headphones, and use a sine wave pulse to generate a desired frequency. They work in a similar way to binaural beats, yet the beat is audible and not merely perceived.

The most powerful discovery however was yet to come.

Binaural beats and monaural beats used indirect methods to create that entrainment beat. That diminished their effectiveness.

Let's pretend that you wanted to entrain to 10Hz. (Remember that hertz simply means cycles per second.) Wouldn't it make more sense to simply play 10 tiny audio beats/pulses per second, and listen to that?

Previously, the technology wasn't available to make such precise recordings. But in the 1980s, modern digital tools made it possible to create the first entrainment recording using this method.

They were called isochronic tones, and they're still the most powerful method of entraining your brainwaves today.

Isochronic tones use separate pulses of a single tone to recreate a particular frequency, and encouragement entrainment. If you were to visualize the sounds, they would look almost like a regular EEG reading.

If you wanted to represent a 10Hz frequency, you would need to switch a certain tone on and off 10 times per second. Considering the speed and accuracy required for this, it's obvious why science had to wait so long for such a discovery.

Sample isochronic tone reading: the contrast of the noise and silence helps to produce greater results than with standard binaural or monaural beats

Although binaural beats are still more widely known, it is generally recognized that isochronic tones have a significantly greater effect during entrainment.

Further techniques such as sound modulation, which involve modifying the original audio to embed entrainment into it, have also become popular as digital technology advances. 

Audio programs which combine various methods, such as the Brain Evolution System, usually produce the best results.

Today, audio is the most popular method of experiencing brainwave entrainment - not only due to its convenience, but also its strength over other entrainment techniques.

Sample EEG reading, following 15 minutes of the BrainEv program.

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