Since history began we have been fascinated by sound and its qualities. Traditional Greek philosophers held the belief that sound was capable of having a healing effect on the body and soul. Americans Natives used drums and chanting for healing. Even in WWII veterans were given treatment for shell-shock with music.
It seems that our fascination with sound goes much further back than these examples though. Sound appears to have been a critical sense for preservation and well-being from the time of the cavemen.
It is Man’s sense of sound which has been beneficial in all his dealings, from the creation of language for communication with others to being able to ascertain different stimuli from his environment, to finding food or being warned of danger! The fact that we can hear a noise and, on almost every occasion, determine from what direction it came and how far away the originator of the sound is, shows how acute our sense of hearing is!
The sensation of sound is one of our most primal senses, and the way in which we process sound is hotwired into the brain. The brain’s sense of hearing is the 1st sense to be developed when a foetus is forming and the last sense to lose before death.
The reactions we have to sound are very much embedded into our brains. If you hear a large bang your ears will pick up just like an animal’s – you have no control over it!
The therapeutic values of sound and music are natural and an inbred part of our being. Sound definitely has a profound effect on our brains and thus our bodies (as the brain runs the body). From a mum’s first song to her newborn baby to the cringing sound of long nails scratching down a blackboard, sound affects us greatly in many different ways.
The curious thing about sound is that if it is sustained the brain of the listener tends to follow the pattern of the sound. The brain sort of “tunes-in” to what it is listening to and will produce brainwaves that are the same frequency as the sound it is processing! This is why drumming, or the sound of rainfall, or a locomotive moving on a track, or a clicking clock etc., can relax us and even put us into a light state of trance. This phenomenon is known as brain entrainment.
Therefore it should be no real surprise to know to find out that modern science has devised a way to use sound to effortlessly create altered states of consciousness. By using the brain’s inbuilt ability to process sounds in a certain way scientists have created unique recordings that cause a variety of different mental and physical states.
These recordings use the science of binaural beats to entrain the brain and create very specific brainwave states in the listener. Although the science behind the phenomenon of binaural beats is bizarre the use of them is very simple. You simply plug your stereo headphones into an MP3 or CD player with your chosen binaural beats track, close your eyes and allow the sounds to do all the work!
These beats work by taking one tone and sending it to one ear and then sending a similar tone to the other ear. The only difference between these tones is their vibrational rate. When two tones only have a small difference in vibrational rate the brain assumes they are the same sound, originating from the same source, and thus will merge them together.
Now, this is a very normal process for the brain. When the brain merges two sounds together, under normal circumstances, it allows you to judge from where a sound originated and the nature of it as well its distance from you.
However, when the tones mentioned above are merged a strange thing happens; “beats” are clearly heard although there is none! The binaural beats that are created in the brain have a vibrational frequency that is the difference between the vibrational frequencies of the two original tones, i.e. if tone-one is 210 hertz while tone-two is 200 hertz then the binaural beats will be 10 hertz (210-200 = 10)!
These beats then entrain the brain (like a locomotive on a track, drumming in rituals, a ticking clock etc., as mentioned previously) to the vibrational frequency of the beats. This simply means the brain creates brainwaves that have the same frequency as the binaural beats. As scientists know which brainwaves are associated with which mental states and can create specific states through the use of binaural beats, they can create therefore create specific mental states deliberately.
This is how unique binaural beats programs, such as Holosync, can be used to create states for emotional and spiritual growth. These states can only usually be experienced by Zen Buddhist Masters using traditional meditation techniques. However, there are many other uses for binaural beats and they are well worth investigating further!