Binaural Boogie: These Are Not Your Average Beats!

Photo by DNA Imagery

It’s time to change frequencies…

We’re all aware of the healing and transformational power of sound and music. Listening to a song that touches us can evoke a wide range of emotions from calmness to happiness and sadness. 

Music and sound have been used throughout human history as a part of ceremony, celebration, and healing. Scientists have found multiple explanations for the powerful effect music has on our psyche.

One of these is by altering the patterns our brains operate in. Different states of being from REM sleep, to anxiety, to meditation all operate within a range of brain waves, which are measured in Hertz (Hz). Using something called Binaural Beats, we can shift our current brain pattern and achieve a more desired state.

Photo by Brie’Ana Breeze

What are Binaural Beats?

Binaural Beats are a way of stimulating your brain with different tonal frequencies. A Binaural Beat consists of two separate tones: one played in each ear.

When this happens your brain process a third tone that represents the difference between the two.

For example, when hearing 100 Hz in your left ear, and 110 Hz in your right, your brain interprets a pulsating tone at 10 Hz. Your brain follows this pulsation and synchronizes itself, a process known as “brainwave entrainment”.


How Can I Use Binaural Beats as a Relaxation Practice?

One of the great things about binaural beats is that it is such a simple form of meditation. It doesn’t require clearing your mind, or even closing your eyes (although it won’t hurt to try these as well). All you have to do is put on a pair of headphones, choose a desired beat range, and let your brain do the rest!

Headphones are an important part of the process as you want to isolate frequencies to each ear. Find a nice comfortable space to listen where you won’t be disturbed. You may not notice a huge effect on your first try.

Just like any other meditative practice, this is most effective when done with some regularity.

It is said that you can even play binaural beats behind other music or a movie, but I prefer to just play them on their own. People have also created a combination of music and binaural beats on the same recording. Typically a session is about 20 minutes but there’s no reason you can’t go longer than that.

Photo by Marisa Pfenning

How Do I know What Beat Range to Use?

Alpha range is a relaxed but waking state of being. This range occurs from about 7 Hz to 12 Hz. I’d recommend that as a great starting place.

Binaural Beats are also used as a sleep aid. 

If you’d like to try this, the Theta range (4-8hz) is ideal and is a major lifesaver when the music is thumping at the festival all through the night! And though Lucidity is mindful of noise as participants dance ’til morning, there is certainly no official bedtime. Headphones and these beats go a long way to drown out any excess noise.

If you like those, you may want to experiment with higher ranges, which can increase productivity and information processing.

The following list of beat ranges is not an exact science as our brains all operate with some variance. Use it as a starting guide for an exploration of different beat ranges.

Delta (0.1 – 0.4hz) – Deep sleep, reduction of cortisol production, increased production of DHEA

Theta (4-8hz) – REM Sleep, Meditative State

Alpha (8 – 14hz) – Relaxed but focused, Flow State

Beta (14 – 30 hz) Focused attention, Problem Solving

Gamma (30 – 100hz) High Level Information processing.

Photo by Marisa Pfenning

Because our brains all function somewhat differently, these may have different effects on each individual. Please be very cautious if you have a condition that makes you prone to seizures. If you start to experience negative physical or psychological effects, discontinue immediately.

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