Sometime ago, during a particularly dark night of the soul, I listened to music with binaural beats (sometimes called waves). I have back-related tinnitus and extreme sound sensitivity but found the music to be soothing.
What is this sorcery I hear you say? It was time to research.
When we hear a sound, it is processed in the auditory cortex of our brain, where it is analysed. Our brains process sounds in different frequencies, which are measured in Hertz (Hz).
The Hertz value also changes depending on what we do as in:
Gamma waves 30-100 cycles per second: Heightened consciousness, deep meditation, spiritual experiences, insight/focus.
Beta – 13 - 30 cycles per second. Busy, thinking, active.
Alpha – 7 - 13 cycles per second. Relaxation, meditation, creativity.
Theta – 4 - 7 cycles per second. Dreaming, meditation, ESP.
Delta - 1.5 - 4 cycles per second. Deep sleep below dream-level.
When we listen to binaural beats a different frequency plays in each ear and we magic up an auditory illusion of an extra frequency.
As our brain processes the difference between the two frequencies, a new frequency known as the binaural beat forms.
For example, if a tone of 300 Hz is played in one ear, and a tone of 310 Hz is played in the other ear, the binaural beat that our brain perceives is 10 Hz - please see chart. This is in the Alpha spectrum; the meditative state.
Research has shown that listening to binaural beats can have a variety of effects on our brain and body, including:
Relaxation: the beats can stimulating the production of alpha brain waves, which are associated with a relaxed state.
Focus: beta brain waves, are associated with increased alertness and concentration.
Better Sleep: delta brain waves are associated with deep sleep.
Pain Reduction: binaural beats can stimulate the production of endorphins, which are the body's natural painkillers. This is true for me. When using the specially composed and engineered music combined with self-hypnosis/meditation the effect is profound.
Binaural beats are an excellent way to improve mental and physical well-being or purely for pleasure.
I am adding a caveat here. If you are extremely stressed and you pop on music or sound with a delta beat you can feel whooshy/sea-sick-like. It is a bit like dropping off the sleep and jumping.
At the bottom is 5 minutes of Alpha for you to try. Listening with headphones give the best results.
Please read this bit before you play it
Be comfortable in a quiet place where you won't be disturbed.
Close your eyes and take a few slow breaths.
Settle in to your natural breathing rhythm.
If your mind begins to wander, gently bring your attention back to your breath.
When the music ends, slowly open your eyes and take a few moments to notice how you feel. Allow yourself to be fully ‘back’ and grounded.
Then, let me know what you think.
The Mind Salon is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
I love the small example you shared!! It worked calming me down. Where did you get this track? I tested a few out on Spotify and didn't like any of them, yours is beautiful!