Brainwave Entrainment Scientific Studies
In talking with people about brainwave entrainment, and the benefits of using it, I find many people are skeptic. This is ok; a healthy level of skepticism is good. It enables us to be able to prove to ourselves that something is true, or that it will work for us before getting duped into wasting our time or money. It is my hope that these brainwave entrainment scientific studies will give the serious searcher of knowledge a more balanced and educated understanding of where this technology has come from, and what it can and can’t do for you.
I know personally that when I am very interested in something-some new kind of information-I get skeptical about it because I want to know if there’s really something to it.
A History of Scientific Study
Well brainwave entrainment is a great thing to research, as, unknown to many people, the technology has come about from a great deal of scientific research, and case studies. In fact, contrary to many of the more new and exciting ways to improve one’s life that are out there today, brainwave entrainment stretches back several decades (even as far back as 1934) and has been born into this world completely through the scientific community, and scientific method.
Below I have listed several different scientific studies, along with their relevant references and publications, to help give you a more starkly scientific view and history of brainwave entrainment. This is not a complete list by any means, but I hope it is enough to give you an idea of the scientific basis of this technology, and to also give you further means to continue your research if desired.
Brainwave Entrainment Case Studies:
History and Earlier Studies
1. The very first case study I’d like to reference is one of the first genuinely recorded scientific experiments on the use of the technique of brainwave entrainment. This was one of the first times a team of scientists, namely Adrian and Matthews, were able to prove that stimuli can be used to ellicit a specific and intentional brainwave pattern. This was in 1934, and Adrian and Matthews used their experiment to stimulate alpha brainwaves. The interesting thing about this early experiment is that it used visual entrainment, rather than auditory entrainment.
Reference: Adrian, E. & Matthews, B. (1934) The Berger Rythm: Potential Changes from the occipital lobes in man.
Brain, 57, 355-385
2. In 1959 it was again found that the brain can be intentionally stimulated to produce a cortical evoked response, this time to auditory stimulus, and thus be led into a specifically intended brainwave frequency. This experiment used very basic “Clicks” as the sound wave, and the experiment used frequencies as low as 3hz (delta waves), and as high as 15hz (beta waves).
*Interesting side note: basic clicks are still regarded as the most effective means of producing and auditory cortical evoked response in the brain. They are simply very unpleasant to listen to, so are not used in modern technology. The closest sound to a click used in brainwave entrainment audios that is still audibly tolerable is a square wave.
Reference: Chatrian, G., Peterson, M., & Lazarte, J. (1959) Response to Clicks from the Human Brain: Some depth
electrographic observations. Electroencephelography and clinical neurophysiology 12, 479-489
3. In 1973 the research on brainwave entrainment was getting a bit more refined, and a study based upon the comparison of binaural beats and monaural beats made its way into Scientific American magazine. Led by Gerald Oster, this study clearly proved the higher efficacy of monaural beats (in comparison to binaural beats) in producing a measurable cortical evoked response in the brain (thus a more effective entrainment). However, it did not rule out binaural beats as a useful means of brainwave entrainment, but instead defined a difference between the two. Monaural beats may produce a stronger response, but binaural beats have a more hypnotic effect, which can be utilized for relaxation, altered states of consciousness, and other means.
Reference: Oster, G. (1973). Auditory Beats in the Brain. Scientific American, 229, 94-102
4. In 1976 it was again proven (on the eastern side of the globe), through the use of an EEG device that brainwave entrainment did, indeed, occur when stimulated with a photic (visual) device.
Reference: Nogawa, T., Katayama, K., Tabata, Y., Ohshio, T., & Kawahara, T.(1976).
Changes in amplitude of the EEG induced by a photic stimulus.
Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology 40(1).Pp78-88.
Altered States of Consciousness
-Joseph Glickson, did a study in the 80’s, showing that multiple frequencies (namely 6, 10, and 18hz)
consistently produced “altered states of consciousness”.
*Glickson, J. (1987). “Photic driving and altered states of consciousness: an exploratory study”
Imagination, cognition, and personality 6(2), p167-182
-There is also a tremendous amount of research and experimentation that has been done in the realm of brainwave entrainment and altered states of consciousness by Dr. Robert Monroe and The Monroe Institute.
Research on Pain Relief and Relaxation
-In this study, Isochronic Tones were compared to Biofeedback exercises, and found to be more effective in decreasing pain and inducing muscle relaxation for TMJ and other jaw and mouth ailments.
*Manns, A., Miralles, R., and Adrian, H.(1981) The application of audiostimulation and electromyographic biofeedback on bruxism and myofacial pain-dysfunction syndrome. Oral Surgery, 52,(3). Pp247-252
-In 1985 G. Solomon treated 24 participants suffering from headaches and migraine headaches with frequencies ranging from 5-8hz. The results of this experiment were highly promising: 14 of 15 sufferers of sustained headache experienced complete relief, 5 of 6 with chronic headache experienced complete relief, and 4 had no change.
*Solomon, G. (1985) “Slow Wave Photic Stimulation in the Treatment of Headache: A Preliminary Report.” Headache, November,
Research on Cognition, Intelligence, and Academic Performance
There is a particularly encouraging amount of case studies and research in this area, many of these being a bit more recent. I am still working on some of the references for these, however, you can feel free to search these names and studies to find proof of their legitimacy.
-The first case study is about eight college students, who were struggling with their classes. Thomas Budzynski, Ph.D worked with them by applying brainwave entrainment, and the whole group’s results improved dramatically. All of them were able to raise their GPA, and what is most interesting is that the GPA of eight of the students kept improving, even after the brainwave entrainment stimulation sessions had seized.
-In another study, aimed at learning and behavioral disorders at the University of Houston, two professors – Harold Russel and John Carter, both PH.D.s, conducted a number of studies with brainwave entrainment in order to see what effect the technology would have on ADHD and other learning disorders. Again, results were more than satisfactory – the participants were able to raise their IQ by five to seven points only after a short time of using brainwave entrainment technology.
-In one of my favorite studies on ADD/ADHD, Joyce, Siever, and Twitty were able to provide significant improvement in attention and reaction time, as well as significantly reduced impulsivity with children suffering from “behavioral disorders” in a school setting, using a beta frequency in the left hemisphere and 12hz in the right ear.
(We use a very similar approach in our Focus and Concentration Upgrade audio included in our Genius Bundle.)
*Joyce, M., Siever, D., & Twitty, M. (2000) Audio-visual entrainment program as a treatment for behavior disorders
in a school setting. Journal of Neurotherapy 4, (2). P 9-25
To Learn More About Brainwave Entrainment and it’s Relevance to the Issue of ADD and ADHD, Click Here
-In yet another study Michael Tansey applied a method with the aim of raising 11-19hz brain waves in a group of people with dyslexia and other similar conditions. In this brainwave entrainment study, the average increase in IQ was nineteen points! That’s more than notable in my opinion.
– In Dr. Siegfried and Dr. Susan Othmer’s brainwave entrainment study, the control group they were examining was undergoing beta training in the 15-18 Hz range, and considerable changes in the participants’ IQ test results were noted. This was especially visible in those affected by ADD/ADHD. It is also worth mentioning that in some of the participants the initial IQ score was under 100, and they managed to improve by an average of thirty-three points! Furthermore, the brainwave entrainment stimulation caused considerable progress in their reading, memorizing, and arithmetic skills. After 12 more months, the participants in this particular brainwave entrainment study demonstrated a much better level of communication skills, self esteem, and ability to concentrate.
Last but not least, there is Michael Joyce (a psychologist), who gathered thirty children to perform her brainwave entrainment research study. The results were largely bettered reading skills, improved concentration, as well as a decrease in the aggression among students. The grades of the whole group had also undergone a positive change almost six months after the brainwave entrainment treatment had taken place.
So what to do with all this knowledge? My hope is that it gives you more solid foundation to base your opinion on what brainwave entrainment is, and what it can do for you. The possibilities can almost seem endless, and there are still many potentials of brainwave entrainment that have yet to be fully explored or scientifically documented (this includes its application to spiritual work, meditation, and physical health).
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