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Dramatically Reduce Anxiety With Brainwave Entrainment

Discover the power of brainwave entrainment to reduce anxiety, calm the mind and increase self awareness. All by simply listening with a pair of headphones.

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brainwave entrainment for anxiety
Can you really reduce anxiety, improve depression, increase creativity and become more relaxed and focused – simply by putting on a pair of headphones?
 
With brainwave entrainment, that is a real possibility.
 
Brainwave entrainment (also called brainwave synchronization), is more commonly referred to by the particular technology that produces the effect.
 
The most common form of this technology being, binaural beats or isochronic tones. 
 
Many people have already used isochronic tones and binaural beats for anxiety (myself included), as well as for many other potential benefits.
 
Brainwave entrainment has become increasingly popular over the past decade.
 
As research continues and technology advances, potential for this type of technology will only continue to grow.
 
If you've been seeking a simple, natural and effective method to reduce your anxiety, brainwave entrainment could be a powerful option.
 
Join me as we dive into the potential benefits of this technology, the effectiveness of binaural beats and isochronic tones for anxiety and the programs we personally recommend. 
 
So let's go…

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What Is Brainwave Entrainment?

Brainwave entrainment is the process of synchronizing the brainwaves with an external stimulus.
 
Today, the most popular stimulus for this process is audio tracks using headphones.
 
These audio tracks are embedded with specific beats or tones that cause the listener's brain to enter specific brainwave frequencies during the course of the track.
 
Typically the user will sit or lie comfortably while listening to the audio. Some people – like myself – incorporate the technology into their meditation practice.
 
Either way you decide to use it, the point is to sit quietly and just listen.
 
The process of tuning the mind and body to specific states, feelings and emotions through sound is not a new concept.
Many ancient cultures – such as Hindus and Native Americans – have used sound to induce altered states, enter trance and promote healing for hundreds of years.
The steady beating of a drum or the repetition of a specific sound or mantra can induce these altered healing states.
 
In much the same way, listening to specific beats or tones on an audio track, can “entrain” the mind into specific states or brainwave frequencies.

Adjusting the Frequency

If you think of your brain as having a frequency – which is in fact how brainwaves are measured – you can imagine there being higher/faster frequencies and lower/slower frequencies.
 
These frequencies have a direct effect on your moment to moment thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
 
Higher frequencies are generally associated with alertness, problem solving, mental engagement and basic day to day active consciousness.
 
Very high-end frequencies are associated with excitement, complex data processing – and of course anxiety.
 
Lower frequencies typically result in relaxation and daydreaming and are associated with the subconscious mind.
 
Extremely low-end frequencies are generally reserved for experienced meditators and dreamless sleep.
 
Most brainwave entrainment tracks either focus on reaching and maintaining a specific frequency, such as alpha  – or they focus on taking you slowly down from alpha to theta to delta and then slowly back again.
The usefulness – and potential benefits – of changing your brainwave patterns is becoming more fully understood. By synchronizing your brainwaves to a specific frequency – alpha, theta, delta etc. – you can reap the benefits of those particular frequencies.
For example; when your brain has increased alpha waves you tend to become more relaxed and creative.
 
By changing your brainwaves you are directly affecting your thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

Brainwave Frequencies

Below is a brief overview of the 4 major brainwave frequencies

Beta (12-38 Hz): generally associated with our normal waking, task oriented, state; Beta covers the largest frequency range
 
  • It is divided into 3 ranges: Low Beta (12-15 Hz), Beta (15-22 Hz) and High Beta (22-38 Hz)
  • Most of us spend the majority of our day in Beta
  • Beta is associated with mental activity such as attention, alertness and problem solving
  • While higher Beta ranges can be great for processing data, it is also the range of anxiety and can lead to feelings of burnout and “overload” when experienced for too long.
Alpha (8-12 Hz): Alpha is the frequency where your mind begins to slow down and you become more relaxed. Thoughts tend to flow more easily.
 
  • When you're absorbed in a great book or movie or fully present watching a beautiful sunset your brain produces more Alpha waves
  • Many meditators, as well as those practicing mind-body exercises like Tai-chi or Qi-gong tend to reach Alpha naturally during their practice and produce more Alpha waves
  • Alpha is great for creativity and thinking outside the box
Theta (3-8 Hz): Theta is when your mind really begins to turn inward and pays much less attention to the external world.
 
  • Theta is associated with intuition, dreams and the subconscious
  • When you awaken from sleep and are still halfway in a dream, that is Theta
  • Many people believe that being in Theta while conscious, allows for the release of negative “baggage” (subconscious thoughts, feelings and memories)
Delta (.5-3 Hz): The deepest of the brainwaves that can be recorded is Delta. There are other brainwaves lower than .5hz but these are difficult to measure reliably.
 
  • Delta brainwaves occur during deep dreamless sleep
  • Deep delta sleep is associated with healing and restoration of the mind and body
  • External awareness is extinguished
  • Delta brainwaves can be experienced during waking in the deepest stages of meditation

Types Of Brainwave Entrainment

There are several major types of brainwave entrainment.
 
These include audio entrainment, visual entrainment (including combined audio-video entrainment), electromagnetic entrainment and entrainment using mind machines or CES devices.
 
While all of these methods can be effective forms of brainwave entrainment, we will be focusing on audio entrainment for this article. (If you would like to learn more about CES devices, which can be an effective option for anxiety, we have an article HERE)
 
Audio entrainment in the forms of binaural beats and isochronic tones are by far the most popular and most researched forms of brainwave entrainment right now.
 
Below we will be discussing these two forms in more detail.

Binaural Beats

Binaural beats are the most popular form of brainwave entrainment. They are also the most widely studied and researched form. 
 
Binaural beats have been used effectively – in various audio forms – since the 1970's.
With binaural beats, an audio track presents two tones at different frequencies – one in the left ear and one in the right-  that is heard as a single tone.
For example – 150hz is played in the left ear, 160hz is played in the right. The mind hears the difference between the two tones as a single tone.
 
In the example the tone heard would be 10hz. This difference of 10hz would bring the mind into an alpha brainwave state.
 
Most binaural beats programs instruct the user to simply sit quietly while listening with headphones.
 
Due to the way in which binaural beats works, headphones are a requirement.
 
Many users find these “beats” – usually hidden behind nature sounds or music – to be more pleasant and less noticeable than the isochronic “tones.”
 
Many of the original brain entrainment companies – like Centerpointe (creators of Holosync)- use binaural beats technology.
 
The majority of online sellers and Youtube “meditation” videos use binaural beats as well.
 
With the popularity of this technology, there is an increasing number of low quality programs popping up all the time. It's always best to stick with ones that are proven effective.

Isochronic Tones

Although not necessarily new, isochronic tones have only recently begun to see widespread usage.
 
While isochronic tones lack the same amount of research as binaural beats, many people see it as a superior form of entrainment.
Unlike binaural beats, isochronic tones present the listener with a single tone. This tone is turned on/off rapidly, creating pulses of sound. These pulses leave a strong impression on the brain that many users find more effective than binaural beats.
One of the biggest advantages of isochronic tones is that you can listen with or without headphones.
 
You can play the audio tracks with speakers with pretty much the same effect (depending on the purpose of the track).
 
While some people find the “tones” too sharp or distracting, if you are using a good quality program they shouldn't be noticeable at all.
 
Many companies are beginning to use isochronic tones in their audio programs.
 
A few companies – like Transparent Corp. (Neuroprogrammer 3) – view isochronic tones as the new standard for brainwave entrainment.
 
Like binaural beats, there are plenty of low quality programs around the net that are not worth wasting your time over.

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Benefits of Brainwave Entrainment

Research over the past two decades has shown many positive benefits of using brainwave entrainment.
 
Thousands of users have reported the benefits they received from using both binaural beats and isochronic tones for anxiety, stress, depression and more.
 
Many have noticed positive benefits after one session.
 
Although deep change may not happen overnight, continued use of this technology – especially when combined with meditation – can have profound positive effects on the user over time.

Can Brainwave Entrainment Eliminate Anxiety?

Brainwave entrainment has been proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety – as well as promote relaxation and reduce stress and stress hormones.
 
But can it actually eliminate chronic anxiety entirely?
 
This depends on the user and how they use this technology.
 
If used daily and in conjunction with other effective strategies (such as a meditation practice, therapy and supplementation) I think this is definitely possible.
 
I have used binaural beats and isochronic tones for anxiety for many years. Brainwave entrainment was a major tool in my anxiety toolkit for overcoming anxiety (see below).
 
While listening to a brainwave entrainment program, most people notice greater relaxation and a reduction in anxiety.
 
However, once the program ends, anxiety has a way of slowly creeping back in. Many users go back to their normal  (anxious, stressed) state in as little as a few hours.
 
The solution to this is how you approach the use of this technology. Below I'll discuss the two major ways brainwave entrainment can be used.

Occasional Usage (Temporary Benefits):

Brainwave entrainment can be used on occasion to meet specific needs of the moment. 
 
For example, many people use alpha wave audio tracks to boost creativity while drawing or painting. Or they may use a low-beta track to promote relaxed focus while working on a work/school project.
 
Brain.fm is a great source for these types of tracks.
 
In a similar way, those with specific fears or phobias can use this technology before/during an event that would otherwise trigger extreme anxiety or panic attacks – such as a plane flight or a doctor's visit.
 
Or use it to simply relax or reduce anxiety symptoms as needed.
 
In the long run this may not provide deep change or drastically improve your ability to handle stress – but it can be an extremely effective method for reducing anxiety symptoms as needed.

Daily Usage (Long-term/ Permanent Benefits):

Many brainwave entrainment programs – like Holosync or iAwake's Profound Meditation Program – are meant to be used on a daily basis as a meditation program.
 
These types of programs typically take the listener through the entire gamut of brainwaves – from beta, into alpha, theta and delta.
 
This approach tends to lead to improved neuroplasticity in the brain over time. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to adapt and change.
Daily users report not only less stress and anxiety in their lives but increased ability to handle stress in general.
While many people enjoy the immediate/temporary benefits of brainwave entrainment, long term daily usage can bring profound positive changes.
 
While less stress and anxiety in the moment is good, becoming less easily triggered into the cycle of stress and anxiety in the first place is life changing.
 
We recommend using brainwave entrainment daily for these deeper long term benefits rather than short term symptom based usage, if you want to experience real change.
 
Combining brainwave entrainment with a daily meditation practice – or used as a meditation practice in itself – is an extremely powerful option for anxiety and stress management.

My Experience With Binaural Beats & Isochronic Tones

My first experience with brainwave entrainment began nearly 20 years ago.
 
At the time I was suffering from extreme daily anxiety and panic attacks and I was on a high dose of Prozac.
 
I was seeking a natural way to cope with my anxiety – free of the side effects of my medications.
 
One of the first natural strategies I discovered and practiced was meditation.
 
After a few months of practice I was still struggling.
 
Sitting still was hard, sitting still with a mind going 100mph was nearly impossible.
 
I began researching ways to “improve” my meditation.
 
I eventually came across an advertisement in a magazine for a new technology that claimed to put the user into a meditative state naturally – regardless of experience.
 
That company was called Centerpointe Research and the technology was Holosync, one of the original brainwave entrainment programs using binaural beats.
 
I experienced pretty dramatic results from the very first listen.
Over time and with daily use – my anxiety decreased, my mind became calmer, I had fewer panic attacks and I began to experience greater self awareness.
I soon began a traditional daily meditation practice while listening to the program.
 
This combination has been one of the primary strategies that helped me to come off my medications and to eventually overcome my anxiety.
 
To this day I still meditate daily using this technology.
 
For the past several years I have practiced Vipassana meditation an hour per day, while listening to the audio tracks.
 
Around 6 years ago I switched from Holosync to iAwake's Profound Meditation Program and continue to use it daily.
   
The technology has only gotten better since I first began using it.
 
Most programs can now take you deeper at a much faster rate.
 
The technology itself also seems much “cleaner” – without as much of the overwhelm that would sometimes occur in the past.
 
Many of the programs now go beyond just meditation tracks or reaching standard brainwaves, such as the 4 major brainwave frequencies mentioned above.
 
There are programs that focus on specific states or feelings – such as iAwake's Audio Serenity.
 
There are also products that take listeners into brainwave states not as often discussed – such as Gamma – which can increase feelings of unity and compassion as well as improve focus and memory recall.
 
I've tried the majority of the programs out there over the years and I've expanded my interest and understanding of how this technology works and the potential it holds for those suffering with anxiety. 
 
I highly recommend giving this incredible technology a try.
 
Most companies offer free demos and there aren't any side effects from using the technology that I am aware of – other than falling asleep (which does tend to happen when first starting out) or feeling drowsy for a time afterwards.
 
For more on my personal experience and struggle to overcome anxiety, you can read about my anxiety journey on our Homepage.

My Favorite Brainwave Entrainment Program

One of the most common questions I receive is :
 
“What is the best brainwave entrainment program?” or “What is the best binaural beats program for anxiety?”
 
While I gained significant benefits with Holosync when I began using it many years ago, for the past 6+ years I've been listening to iAwake's programs.
 
Holosync is a great product – but I believe iAwake's programs are the next step forward with brainwave entrainment technology.
 
As regular users of iAwake's tracks – most of my team agrees as well.
 
Both are great products and both offer demos for you to try out for yourself.
 

If you're interested in checking out what iAwake has to offer – simply click the image above (or click here iAwake Demo) for a FREE 40 min sample. There's nothing to purchase, no gimmicks. Simply try it and see how it works for you.

final thoughts: Anxiety and Beyond

Brainwave entrainment can be a powerful tool for coping with anxiety.
 
Whether using it on occasion – such as to relax – or using it daily as a meditation practice for deep growth – it's potential to help those suffering from anxiety is real.
 
Scientific studies as well as the experiences of thousands of people around the world – myself included – have provided evidence for the effectiveness of both binaural beats and isochronic tones.
 
We recommend using this technology in combination with a meditation or mindfulness practice – as a solid foundation to not only decrease anxiety symptoms but to help overcome chronic anxiety all together.
 
By developing greater neuroplasticity and increased ability to quiet and control your mind – you will begin to find that what once triggered a cascade of anxious thoughts – is no longer an issue.
 
This is the end goal – beyond just dealing with anxiety symptoms.
 
I believe brainwave entrainment in the form of binaural beats and isochronic tones is a fast and powerful way to get to that goal.

Website Links

If you'd like to learn more about the brainwave entrainment products discussed you can check out their respective websites below:

iAwake Technologies – iawaketechnologies.com
Centerpointe Research Institute (Holosync) – centerpointe.com
Brain.fm – brain.fm
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2 thoughts on “Dramatically Reduce Anxiety With Brainwave Entrainment”

  1. Hi,

    Do you feel like the brainwave entrainment programs, like the ones mentioned, lose their power over time?

    How much time per day do recommend listening to them?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Christy,

      I’ve been using these programs daily for well over a decade, I would say they definitely don’t lose their power or effectiveness. I will say the benefits can be more noticeable in the first few months you begin using them and it may “feel” stronger as your brain and nervous system adapt to the technology but using them daily for an extended period of time seems to “cement” the benefits and bring more pronounced overall change and improvement.

      I recommend using them during a daily meditation or mindfulness practice. Most programs are 60 mins, such as the one I use (iAwake’s Profound Meditation Program), Holosync is also 60 mins. If you’re just starting out with the technology or just beginning to meditate you can always slowly work your way up to 60 mins a day. I personally find this amount to be optimal.

      Thanks for the question Christy. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      -Robert

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