Binaural Beats: A Meditative Gateway to Altered States of Consciousness

  • “Binaural beats are a variation of brainwave entrainment, creating an oscillation effect between the frequencies flowing into each ear and the frequency resonated in the brain. The oscillation effect is what happens when ringing a tuning fork and placing it next to another tuning fork at rest; if the tuning forks play the same note, or vibrate on the same frequency, the tuning fork at rest will begin to ring.
  • “Two different frequencies stream into the ears of an individual, preferably wearing headphones, creating a binaural beat within the brain. By introducing one frequency in one ear, and another in the opposite ear, the hemispheres of the brain are obliged to interact and communicate with one another to hear the binaural beat, causing hemisphere synchronicity. Evidence has implicated both the superior olivary nucleus in the brainstem and the inferior colliculus as the area(s) where the binaural beat is created and heard within the brain.
  • “Effects of Binaural Beats: Hemisphere synchronicity has profound implications! This special type of synchronicity is rare and is reported by Dr. Thompson (2007) to be associated with the light bulb moment, instances of epic inspiration and creativity, and high states of meditation or joy.
  • “Certain binaural beats can be used to create a sustained synchronistic state, creating profound changes in consciousness and brainwave configurations.
  • “The physiology and psychophysiology of human beings is affected beyond the scope of hemisphere synchronicity though! Several studies have reported reductions in anxiety, dopamine, insulin-like growth factor-1, stress, and sleep requirements, as well as increases in learning ability, creativity, higher states of consciousness, lucid dreaming, astral projection, and more.
  • “…Some people also experience hypnagogia states, which are states of consciousness between waking and sleeping, often referred to as threshold consciousness. During these states, people may experience visual or auditory phenomenon such as seeing colors, shapes, and patterns, or hearing snippets of conversations, various sounds, and voices….
  • “My all-time favorite binaural beat video on YouTube can be accessed here (this is an example of a Reiki music track with imbedded binaural tracks).
  • “It is very important for you to be aware of how to use [binaural music tracks] as well. You should sit or lie down when listening to binaural tracks, allowing yourself to relax and melt into the track. Minor benefits can be gained when passively listening to binaural tracks when doing activities like reading a book, emailing, or anything that isn’t strenuous. However, it can be extremely dangerous to listen to binaural beats when driving or in situations where it is important for you to be present in your environment.
  • “My favorite time to use them is right before going to sleep. Depending on the track I want to listen to that night, I’ll lie down anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour before the time I actually want to go to sleep. I’ve found using headphones is significantly more effective and comfortable for me than using speakers or ear buds.”

Excerpted from Binaural Beats: A Meditative Gateway to Altered States of Consciousness, by Polly Anne Rice.