Binaural Beats (Part 2)

As mentioned in the first part of this discussion, the phenomenon which is most commonly exploited by those seeking to harness the potential of binaural beat frequencies is something called the Frequency Following Response (FFR), a physiological reaction of the brain stem wehere the brainwave patterns of the brain will gradually synchronize with a continuous infrasonic tone (a tone below the range of human hearing, replicated in this instance by means of binaural beats) near or identical to the frequency of the brain's original frequency, which is then gradually shifted over time to a different desired frequency, "pulling" the brainwaves of the listener along with it until they mirror the resulting frequency as well. I will reiterate that while this phenomenon has been documented and has a solid scientific basis, much of the material discussing the therapeutic uses of its effects falls well within the arena of 'new age' or other pseudo-science. Still, the possibilities of using binaural beats in this fashion are intriguing, and here are some further examples I didn't previously explore or explain.

In the following clip, the FFR is utilized to pull the brain from the low alpha state of normal inattentive wakefulness to the high beta state of concentration and focus by sweeping the binaural frequency within from the respective 12Hz to 17Hz. Physiologically, this should produce an increase in focus and concentration. For the sake of time and data constraints, I have condensed this sweep into a sixteen-minute clip, but it should prove even more effective if the shift is presented as an even more gradual change.

Binaural beats can also be used in the opposite fashion, holding a brainwave pattern steady at a certain frequency when other stimuli might otherwise cause it to drift towards a higher or lower frequency, altering physiological levels of alertness, anxiety, creativity, or slumber as it changes. For instance, this is a steady tone of 6Hz, which would reflect the middle of the theta state of brain activity, similar to the brainwave state of a person in deep relaxation or meditation and the optimal state for insight, creativity, and conscious retention of information. Synchronization with this waveform would prevent the concentration of someone studying or analyzing data from wavering or succumbing to distractions.

Finally, there is the possibility that the manipulation of brainwave frequencies can also counteract not only external stimuli, but internal as well. This is the application of the FFR with the most dubious scientific basis, but the theory itself is interesting enough to bear mentioning. The following template, for example, a combination of steady 5Hz and 10Hz tones corresponding to the low theta and mid-alpha brainwave frequencies, is said to alleviate headaches, while other frequencies are said to stimulate and heal even areas of the body far removed from the brain.