Brainwave Entrainment with Light
It all began in Egypt, way back in 200 AD.
The mathematician and astronomer Ptolemy recorded feelings of euphoria while gazing at a spinning spoked wheel, flickering in the sunlight.
Without realizing it, he was about to become the first person to document brainwave entrainment.
As we know, the brain will naturally attune to the same frequency as it is exposed to - in the same way that tuning forks play "follow the leader."
The spoked wheel would've been spinning at a number of pulses per second, cycling its light patterns, representing a certain frequency.
One flash per second equals 1Hz on the frequency chart. Two flashes per second is 2Hz. Hertz effectively means "cycles per second."
Image above: Three flashing lights, from lowest frequency (top)
to highest frequency (bottom). f is the frequency in Hertz ("Hz"),
meaning the number of flashes per second. T is the period in
seconds ("s"), meaning the number of seconds per flash.
T and f are reciprocals.
Ptolemy's brain picked up on this frequency, and entrained itself to those specific alpha/beta frequencies - bringing about a sense of euphoria, and likely releasing the feel-good hormone, serotonin.
With this discovery, brainwave entrainment was born - although significant advances in the science didn't happen for another 1700 years.
In the early 1900s, French psychologist Pierre Janet used the same technique of flickering lights to reduce patient hysteria and induce relaxation.
In the 1960s and 70s, a number of "mind machines" hit the market, which used flickering lights to change brainwave patterns. This technology has continued to build - and today, there are a wide range of leading light-based devices available.
But entrainment didn't stop with flashing lights.
Research found that brainwave patterns actually entrain toward any form of sensory input. That means entrainment is not just possible using light, but also other senses too - such as touch.
Consider how the slow, soothing, rhythmic rub on a baby's back will soon send them to sleep.
Most importantly however, this opens up the idea that you can entrain the brain, less intrusively and more conveniently, simply by using the power of audio.
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