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Practical Brainwave Entrainment

It's clear that brainwave entrainment is a powerful branch of science that can produce brilliant results with its subjects.

But how can you actually use it practically?

There are a number of brainwave entrainment products currently available to the non-scientist community that you can use to replicate great results from the comfort of your own home.

There are two main methods of home brainwave entrainment - typically, audio and audio-visual.

Different Types of Entrainment

In the audio category, you'll find a series of well-developed audio programs - such as the Brain Evolution System, Holosync, and the Hemi-Sync series. You also find software tools such as Neuro-Programmer and BWGen.

There also exist individual audio programs for specific uses, such as for pain reduction or sleep induction. One example of specific entrainment sessions can be found with the Brain Salon.

In the audio-visual category, you'll find light-and-sound machines, such as the Proteus, InnerPulse and MindSpa. Certain software programs, such as MindStereo, also use flashing computer images as a replacement for the flashing LEDs found in light-and-sound machines.

Using Entrainment Sessions

Practically, how do you sit down and experience brainwave entrainment - whether on a CD, or using a light-and-sound machine?

Every session, whether just audio or audio-visual, will have its own specific listening instructions. Be sure to follow these as closely as possible.

Typically, sessions aimed at relaxation should be undertaken with eyes closed. Sessions aimed to assist with focus and other high-frequency states should be undertaken with eyes open.

Headphones will typically enhance a session. Try to wear them if you can, even if you're not listening to stereo binaural recordings. Ensure you use high-quality, regular headphones, without features such as bass enhancement or other audio modification, which may affect audio output.

It usually takes around 15 minutes to start seeing results, and 30 minutes is an ideal length for an entrainment session. The positive results from that session should last at least a few hours.

When sitting a brainwave entrainment session, you should get into a comfortable position and try to relax. Unless you are using your session for enhancing concentration, you should instead allow your mind to clear itself of thoughts, and simply allow the process to happen. People with "busy minds" may find it useful to focus on their breathing, taking long, deep breaths to aid relaxation.

You should avoid "checking" on the results where possible, which may result in the conscious mind interfering too much in the process and losing entrainment value. For some users, it takes a number of sessions before you start to see results. This is because the mind often fails to relax when presented with such unusual sounds.

Some brainwave entrainment programs, especially audio programs such as the Brain Evolution System and Holosync, produce immediate benefits, but are also based on longer programs - such as a six-month listening schedule. These programs have a goal of helping you to gain greater control over your brain, to allow you to tap into a variety of beneficial states, on-demand.

Remember, brainwave entrainment is typically experiential, meaning that you know that it's working because you actually feel it. You can however verify your brainwave pattern shifts by purchasing an electroencephalograph (EEG) machine. Pocket Neurobics is one such supplier, with units starting from around $500.

Health Warnings

Beyond "how to use" such programs, there are also a number of health warnings that should come with all brainwave entrainment programs.

Notably, those with epilepsy should not use brainwave entrainment. There is a small risk of seizure associated with individuals predisposed to epileptic fits.

Certain other individuals are advised to seek advice from their doctor, including those that are pregnant, wear a pacemaker, are photosensitive, have serious mental disorders, or are under the influence of drugs or medication. Individuals aged 18 and under should also seek their doctor's approval prior to use.

Check the relevant warnings that come with each brainwave entrainment program. 

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