A neural oscillation, or brainwave, is a rythmic activity in the form of electrical impulse that occurs in the brain. Your brain contains about 100 billion microscopic cells called neurons. Whenever you dream, laugh, think, see, or move, it’s because tiny chemical and electrical signals are racing between these neurons along billions of tiny neuron highways. Believe it or not, the activity in your brain never stops. Countless messages zip around inside it every second like a supercharged pinball machine. Your neurons create and send more messages than all the phones in the entire world. And while a single neuron generates only a tiny amount of electricity, all your neurons together can generate enough electricity to power a low-wattage bulb.
When the neurons in a population fire at roughly the same time, then go quiet, and then fire again and repeat this process this is called an oscillation. The time when they fire is called a burst of firing. The number of bursts in a second is the frequency of the oscillation. A frequency of 1 Hertz or for short ‘Hz’ is 1 oscillation a second, which means that there will be one burst of firings and one period of silence. 10 Hz is 10 oscillations a second, 50 Hz is 50 oscillations a second, etc.
Different names are given to different ranges of the frequency (Hz) of the oscillation (also called rhythms). The Delta band rhythm ranges from 0.5−4 Hz. Theta rhythm ranges from 4−7.5 Hz. Alpha band is 7.5-12 Hz. Beta is 12−40 Hz, and gamma is 40-90 Hz. These are the main known brainwaves, although there are more and we are yet to discover and understand the whole activity of the brain.
These brainwave patterns are associated with various states of consciousness. Understanding how these frequencies work and affect you, and even learning to control them, will open the door to healing, increased creativity, mood enhancement, and other physical, emotional and spiritual benefits. There are many techniques to help you reach these different states of being, such as meditation or the use of external aid, like binaural beats.
‘Binaural Beats’ is a term given to a measured change in brain activity when presented with audio stimulus. When a person is presented with a stereo sound with two different tones – the brain produces a response (binaural beat) which is hearing and responding to the difference between the tones, not the actual tones themselves. A perceptual integration of the two signals is perceived in the brain produces the sensation of a third “beat”. Headphones must be used when using a binaural beat recording for this reason, otherwise the brain would not be able to be fully and equally receptive to the two
tones and the effect would not be anywhere near as effective.
In more specific terms, when say a 315 Hz frequency is recorded on the left stereo channel and a 325 Hz frequency is recorded on the right channel – the difference between the two result in a 10 Hz binaural beat.
It’s based on the concept that the human brain has a tendency to change its dominant frequency and resonate at the frequency of an external stimulus.
There are a growing amount of research efforts reporting changes in consciousness associated with binaural beats. The subjective effect of listening to them may be relaxing or stimulating, depending on the frequency of the beat. Binaural beats can also improve brainwave synchronization between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
Binaural beats might require some patience. Don’t give up if it doesn’t work for you the first time! Try to be present when listening to them, placing your awareness on the beat. Be sure to give yourself enough listening time too. The brain requires about 6 minutes to entrain, or fall in sync, with the audio stimulus. Give yourself at least 15-30 minutes of listening time to experience the benefits.
Click here to learn more about the different kind of brainwaves and to start experience the benefits of binaural beats!
We strongly encourage to try meditation, a practice that will enhance your life in every aspect from the inside. For more info on meditation, you can read our articles:
Music has also the power to heal. Neuro-imaging technologies have confirmed that musical activities has profound effects on the brain. Check out our music section!
We also suggest conscious breathing and eating, and other activities such as Yoga as part of a positive and healthy lifestyle.