One of the more practical and promising potentials for brainwave entrainment technology is its ability to improve conditions of certain neurological disorders. Recently many people have been particularly interested in its application in working with ADD (attention deficit disorder) and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder). This is opening up a new market and customer base for this type of technology.
But is brainwave entrainment really a legitimate means of providing relief to the symptoms of ADD and ADHD?
(quick disclaimer: I live in America, and by law it would be illegal for me to claim or state that brainwave entrainment can “cure” the “illness” of ADD or ADHD. I leave you, the reader, to come to your own conclusions.)
In researching this subject myself, I have been quite surprised and delighted to find that numerous legitimate and scientific experiments have been performed to test whether or not this technology can truly be used in this way to provide positive results.
Before we go into any specific studies or references, let’s briefly explore the premise of the idea that brainwave entrainment can be used as a means to help with this type of neurological issue.
There are many (including the very man who first coined the term ADD) that belief that this is a bogus disorder; that ADD and ADHD have simply become terms to describe children being children, or children not being interested or captivated by conventional education (ie: basic math, writing, reading, history, studying, etc.)
Many would argue that these children (and adults) that are being diagnosed with ADD and ADHD are simply not being taught or communicated with in a way that works for them. I would agree with this premise myself to a certain extent.
There is quite the domination of a “one-size-fits-all” strategy in modern and conventional education these days. I would give my own personal opinion that some of the ADD/ADHD cases we hear about would fall into this category.
On the other hand, some interesting research with EEGs has uncovered something quite profound and concrete about these purported “disorders”. It has been found that the large majority of people (both children and adults) that suffer from the symptoms of ADD and ADHD have one thing in common: a propensity to produce more dominant low alpha and theta brainwave activity (4-7Hz), and less beta activity (13-21Hz) in their day to day life. With even a minimal amount of understanding of how the brain works, and how one subjectively experiences dominant theta brainwave activity, it begins to make sense why these types of symptoms could be manifesting.
Now who is to say whether or not this is a “problem”, or whether or not this is a phenomenon that society and conventional education should learn to work with instead of against?
But this point aside, we can only imagine that it would be hard for anyone to absorb technical information, memorize things, focus intently, or concentrate on left-brained information while their brain is resonating at the level of a mild to heavy trance.
With the realization that this was going on in the brains of those suffering from this ailment, it was a natural progression to muse at whether brainwave entrainment could be a legitimate means of alleviating these symptoms of lack of concentration, attention, etc.
In The Journal of Neurotherapy, volume 4, issue 2, (2000) a study was conducted in which a group of 34 elementary students were given regular beta brainwave entrainment sessions over the course of 7 weeks. These children were given the Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA) both before the study and afterwards.
A second group of 8 elementary students in a special reading class were given the same beta brainwave entrainment therapy, and were tested with the Standardized Test for the Assessment of Reading both before and after the 7 weeks. This group of readers was also compared against a control group of 12 individuals that did not receive any brainwave entrainment.
At the end of the 7 week study, significant improvements in areas of impulsion control, attention, and focus were recorded (as shown through the TOVA) and the group of readers had far exceeded the scores and progress of the control group. BOTH groups of children were reported to have improved behavior significantly both by parents and teachers. Overall, this test produced drastically positive results, more so than expected.
In other studies, it has been found that the frequency of 10hz can be particularly useful in suppressing excessive theta activity in the brain, which also in turn has a profound effect on symptoms like inability to concentrate, lack of compulsive control, and lack of ability to maintain focus for extended amounts of time.
Overall, if one takes the time to do the research, brainwave entrainment has shown some significantly positive potential
Again, I have absolutely no authority or expertise in the treatment of ADD or ADHD, but from my own personal experience in using brainwave entrainment technology, I would recommend that if you intend to use this technology to minimize excessive theta/low alpha activity in the brain, you should start gradually with a schedule of no more than once per day. Each person reacts differently to brainwave entrainment. If you find any adverse or unpleasant side-effects, simply take a break, or shorten the amount of time spent with the audio. You can even start with a minimum of 10 minutes, and gradually move up in 5-10 minute increments. In the end, I believe that the more consistent your schedule the better and that you would reap the best results from listening to the audio once per day, around the same time every day.
We offer two audios on the site that I would highly recommend to use for this purpose. Our In the Zone audio helps utilize a higher alpha range (including 10hz) to bring the brain into a relaxed, yet alert, peak performance state. Not only has this audio proven effective for this particular use, but it is also a generally healthy and beneficial audio for a few other reasons. It has been studied to help the brain produce healthy amounts of serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine, and is also quite universally renowned as being able to produce a very pleasant, relaxed yet focused state of mind. The other recommendation I have is our Sharpen Mind audio. This one utilizes higher beta frequencies to “exercise” the brain, and build its ability to utilize the beta brainwave range. Using these two audios in conjunction can be powerful in counteracting a tendency for the brain to rest in the lower alpha and theta ranges.
I would also caution anyone experimenting in this field to take everything, including this article with a grain of salt. This is still a relatively new field of study, and the largest and most profound results are those that you notice subjectively. In this respect, YOU are the greatest authority on whether or not this technology is working for you or not. Use at your own risk 😆
I would also recommend working with the frequency of 10hz, at least for a time before moving on to the higher beta range. Not only has this frequency proven effective for this particular use, but it is also a generally healthy and beneficial frequency for a few other reasons. It has been studied to help the brain produce healthy amounts of serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine, and is also quite universally renowned as being able to produce a very pleasant, relaxed yet focused state of mind.
I would also caution anyone experimenting in this field to take everything, including this article with a grain of salt. This is still a relatively new field of study, and the largest and most profound results are those that you notice subjectively. In this respect, YOU are the greatest authority on whether or not this technology is working for you or not. Use at your own risk 🙂
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or if there is anything I can do for you. Also, do not hesitate to share any personal experiences or knowledge gained in the comment section below so we can all learn together!