You are familiar with training your body, but what about your brain? Did you know that there is an inexpensive technology available to train your brain?
Why Train My Brain?
Scientists have come up with a method to alter your brain waves. I know, I know. You’re probably asking “why on earth would I want to alter my brain waves?” Before we get to that, let’s discuss a few basics that are important for you to understand about how your brain functions.
It’s All a State of Mind
You may not be aware of it, but your brain operates at different frequencies or states throughout the day. In fact, your brain doesn’t operate in only one brainwave state at a time, but rather pulses in various states simultaneously. One state is, however, the dominant state at any given moment, and that state is determinative of your state of mind or level of consciousness.
What Are the Known Brainwave States?
Scientists have identified at least 5 distinct brainwave states. They are:
- Beta (12 Hz – 40 Hz)
- Alpha (8 Hz – 12 Hz)
- Theta (4 Hz – 8 Hz)
- Delta (0 Hz – 4 Hz)
- Gamma (40+ Hz)
What Happens In Each Brainwave State?
Beta – This state is associated with a heightened state of alertness and concentration. A person involved in sports or making a presentation would most likely be in the Beta state.
Alpha – Alpha brainwaves are slower than Beta and are indicative of a state of relaxed mental awareness or reflection. The Alpha state is common when you are engaged in activities such as contemplation, visualization, problem solving, and deeper levels of creativity.
Theta – Theta is slower than Alpha and results in a state of deep relaxation, meditation, enhanced creativity, stress relief, light sleep, and even dreaming. It is this state that has been experienced by meditators for centuries. Research has shown that 30 minutes a day in the Theta meditation state can dramatically improve your overall health and well-being.
Delta – Delta brainwaves are the slowest in frequency and are indicative of a state of deep, dreamless sleep. This state is thought to be directly associated with healing and restoration. The Delta state is normally achieved only when one is in deep sleep, but guess what? Scientists now know that it is possible to train your brain to remain awake while entering the Delta state. Interesting!
Gamma – Gamma brainwaves are the highest in frequency. Some research indicates that Gamma states are experienced at times when bursts of insight or high-level information processing are occurring.
What’s In It For Me?
OK, so you don’t really care about the frequency at which your brain is operating. You’ve made it this far without knowing and you are a senior, right? So why is it important for you now and what is the “Upgrade” you can get from this information?
Well, what if I told you that scientists developing this technology, called brain entrainment technology, believe that it can be used to:
- Improve your mental health
- Improve your physical health
- Improve your emotional health
- Improve your spiritual health
- Enhance your creativity
- Improve your overall sense of well-being
- The list goes on
That’s a pretty impressive list. If that’s all true, maybe we Upgrading Seniors should pay attention.
OK, fair enough. We are now interested in brainwave states. So, how can we manipulate our brains’ states to our advantage as Upgrading Seniors?
Research has shown that if an external stimulus, such as sound, is applied to the brain, the brain can be entrained to a specific state or frequency. So, for example, if you are operating predominantly in the normal waking state (Beta) and a sound in the Alpha range (8 Hz – 12 Hz) is introduced via your ears to your brain, your state is likely to change from Beta to Alpha.
There’s a problem, though. Our ears cannot hear most of the frequencies at which the brain operates. Human beings can, as a general rule, detect sounds in the 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz. range.
Your individual results may vary. Since you are a senior and probably attended more than your share of Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd live performances in your youth, it is likely that your range of hearing is impaired.
Given that fact, most of us are not going to be able to directly hear the frequencies of our brains’ states, with the possible exceptions of Beta and Gamma. We operate predominantly in the Beta state already, so there’s no real advantage to being able to “induce” that state. Hmmm. What shall we do? What shall we do?
Enter Binaural Beats
No, it doesn’t have anything to do with Rap or Hip-Hop.
Binaural beats were discovered in 1839 by a scientist by the name of Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, and the concept was further refined by a biophysicist named Gerald Oster. Oster’s work was detailed in a 1973 issue of Scientific American.
What Doctor Oster found was that when signals (sounds) of two different frequencies were introduced separately, one in each ear, the brain, essentially, reconciles the two different frequencies of the sounds by creating a third “phantom” frequency – the binaural beat. Here’s where things get really interesting.
The phantom frequency of the binaural beat will be the difference in frequency between the two original sounds. Is this beginning to stimulate some creative thought of your own?
Let’s say a person wanted to be in a particular brainwave state – but didn’t want to spend a lifetime learning to “meditate” in order to enter the desired state. We’ve been told repeatedly that meditative states are beneficial, but most of us resist entering a monastery or retiring to the Himalayas to learn the technique.
Is there a way to “hack” that process?
Brain Entrainment Technology
Luckily for us, the answer is “yes,” you can hack your way to a desired brainwave state using binaural beats technology. As a simplified example, if you wanted to enter the Theta state, you could enter signals in each ear which have a frequency difference of 4 Hz – 8 Hz. Instant Zen Monk! (OK, that’s an exaggeration).
Years ago I ordered the Holosync™ CDs, which utilize binaural beats technology, from Centerpointe Research Institute. My history with those CDs is, shall we say, less than optimal.
I used them regularly for a while, and feel that I benefited from their use. I believe that my sense of calm and well-being was enhanced, and probably my analytical skills as well.
Of course, it is difficult to measure these results objectively because there is always the possibility of a placebo effect. So my results are, from a scientific standpoint, entirely subjective.
Anyway, after using Holosync for a period of time I gradually stopped my daily use of the CDs, and before long had stopped using them completely. I even lost the CDs after a move. I would search for them periodically to begin their use again, and I did finally locate the CDs and start using them.
Unfortunately, I ran into the same problem as before. Holosync wants you to start out using the CDs for 30 minutes a day, and then rapidly increase your sessions to 1 hour or even more. Holosync’s CD’s are set up in 30 minute sessions, but they are designed in such a way that you must move up to an hour a day after your first 14 day conditioning period.
Frankly, the reality for your Upgrader-In-Chief is that I am not likely to spend 1 or more hours a day using a brain entrainment tool, regardless of the benefits. For us seniors, the clock is running. I need to hack everything I can to achieve maximum results with the minimum expenditure of time.
I don’t expect “something for nothing,” but efficiency is key and I am a strong believer in the Pareto (80-20) Principle, which says that you get 80% of your results from 20% of your efforts.
Here’s My Solution
I have today downloaded the Insight Program on MP3 from Immrama Institute. This program uses the binaural beats brainwave entrainment technology, but in my view has two distinct advantages over the Holosync CDs I have used in the past:
- The Immrama CDs and MP3s (both are available) are considerably cheaper than the comparable product from Holosync. Now, I already own the Holosync product so this didn’t save me any money, but it might help you out if you’re interested in trying this technology. The introductory Holosync product currently sells for about $179, as compared to $34.95 for the Immrama Insight Program on CD or $29.95 on downloadable MP3.
- The sessions on the Immrama product are more realistic for me. For example, the Insight Program consists of 3 separate 24 minute tracks, and you can do 1, or more each day. I am much more likely to use the product consistently if it requires only 24 minutes per day, as opposed to the hour a day or more recommended by Holosync. On days I am feeling so inclined, I can expand my session in 24 minute increments to over an hour, but unlike the Holosync program, I am not required to do so every day.
Well, that’s about it for now. Hope you found this interesting. If you want to come along for the ride and experiment with brain entrainment yourself, you can click the banner below, which will take you to the Immrama Institute’s website. You will find a great deal more information there about brain entrainment, binaural beats and Immrama’s various products.