Brainwaves mind machine. Altered states of mind.

Brainwaves mind machine - alpha beta Gamma frequencies.

Mind machine

Brainwaves – mind machine: A mind machine uses sound and/or light to alter the brainwave frequency of the user, resulting in altered states of awareness that have been compared to those obtained from meditation and shamanic exploration. How to improve my health and wellness or well-being?

The process is also known as brainwave synchronization or entrainment.
Mind machines typically consist of a control unit, a pair of headphones and/or strobe light goggles. The unit controls the sessions and drives the LEDs in the goggles.
Sessions will typically aim at directing the average brainwave frequency from a high level to a lower level by ramping down in several sequences. Target frequencies can be in the alpha wave area in the frequency range of 8-12.

Mind machines are often used together with biofeedback or neurofeedback equipment in order to adjust the frequency on the fly.
Modern mind machines can connect to the Internet to update the software and download new sessions. When sessions are used in conjunction with meditation, neurofeedback, etc. the effect can be amplified.

Binaural beats

Binaural beats or binaural tones are auditory processing artifacts, that is apparent sounds, the perception of which arises in the brain independent of physical stimuli. This effect was discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove.

In nature, two sounds that are similar but slightly shifted in frequency will beat to produce two new frequencies which are the sum and the difference of the original two sounds. For example, a 400 Hz tone and a 410 Hz tone will form a 405 Hz tone pulsating 10 times per second.

The brain produces a similar phenomenon internally, resulting in low-frequency pulsations in the loudness of a perceived sound when two tones at slightly different frequencies are presented separately, one to each of a subject’s ears, using stereo headphones. A beating tone will be perceived, as if the two tones mixed naturally, out of the brain. The frequency of the tones must be below about 1,000 to 1,500 hertz for the beating to be heard. The difference between the two frequencies must be small (below about 30 Hz) for the effect to occur; otherwise the two tones will be distinguishable and no beat will be perceived.

Two types of believers:

Interest in binaural beats can be classified into two categories. First, they are of interest to neurophysiologists investigating the sense of hearing. Second, some proto-scientists believe that binaural beats may influence the brain in more subtle ways through the entrainment of brainwaves and can be used to produce relaxation and other health benefits.

Brainwaves mind machine frequencies:

Frequency rangeNameUsually associated with
> 40 HertzGamma wavesstress
13-40 HzBeta wavesAttention
7-13 HzAlpha wavesRelaxation
(while staying awake)
4-7 HzTheta waves(lucid) Dreams, deep meditation
< 4 HzDelta wavesA deep dreamless sleep, coma

(The precise boundaries between ranges vary among definitions, and there is no universally accepted standard.)

The dominant frequency determines your current state. For example, if someone’s brain alpha waves are dominating. They are in the alpha state. This happens, when one is relaxed but awake. However, also other frequencies will be present, albeit with smaller amplitudes.

The brain entraining is more effective if the entraining frequency is close to the user’s starting dominant frequency. Therefore, it is suggested to start with a frequency near to one’s current dominant frequency (likely to be about 20 Hz or little less for a waking person), and then slowly decreasing it towards the desired frequency.

Some people find pure sine waves unpleasant, so a pink noise or another background (e.g. natural sounds such as river noises) can also be mixed with them. In addition to that, as long as the beat is audible, increasing the volume is supposed not to improve the effectiveness, therefore using a low volume is usually suggested. Some people say that the volume should be so low that the beating should not even be clearly audible, but this does not seem to be the case (see the next paragraph).

How do brainwave machines work?

It should be made clear that binaural beats are not magic: just passively listening to binaural beats does not necessarily alter your state of consciousness. An active mental participation by the subject is needed to produce the synchronization. Experiments in which beats were not audible (e. g. with a background pink noise 15 dB louder than the sine waves) have failed to report any effect. Therefore it is also possible that the effect of binaural beats is due to placebo.

However, to prove this, subjects should be unaware of whether they are listening to binaural beats or not, which is only possible if they cannot distinguish between binaural beats and no-binaural. The difference is easy to spot by removing one side of the headphones. The binaural beats will vanish when only one tone is heard. True binaural beats also have more stereo width than a monaural sound. Monaural sounds are perceived as if they are coming from the center of your head, while binaural sound seems to wrap around you.

Other uses

In addition to lowering the brain frequency to relax the listener (or to raise it to help to focus), there are other controversial, alleged uses for binaural beats. For example, using specific frequencies you can stimulate certain glands to produce desired hormones, sometimes even relating them with chakras.

This is highly disputed, especially given the lack of reliable studies to support such claims and even among people who consider this possible.

Many agree that the precise frequencies may vary from person to person.
Among other alleged uses, there are reducing learning time and sleeping needs (theta waves are thought to improve learning, since children, who have stronger theta waves. And remain in this state for a longer period of time than adults, usually learn faster than adults. And some people find that half an hour in the theta state can reduce sleeping needs up to four hours. However, this is supposed to happen with any way to get into theta state. (e.g. meditation). Some use them for lucid dreaming. And even for achieving out-of-body experiences. Or, astral projection, telepathy and psychokinesis.

However, most people believe that these phenomena (except lucid dreams, which are acknowledged even by mainstream science) do not exist. Let alone that they can be achieved by entraining the brain to a specific frequency.

The binaural beats from the brainwaves mind machine, (or CD, mp3’s), have also been used experimentally for the treatment of addictions, and for the recovery of repressed memories, but as with other techniques, this can lead to false memories.


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