Ok Lady, what the hell do you have for us today. You’re always throwing some off the wall stuff at us and I’m getting sick of it. Ok! OK! I know that’s what you must be saying. But, hear me out. As, I didn’t learn about this therapy in my program suprisingly. I’ve actually been practicing this since I was younger. I used to play the violin competitively and I used to play in groups for recitals all the time. I noticed that, even though most of the time all 20 of us were playing the same song, each person, each violin, would have its own tone. My ear could pick that up, and I could tell who was standing where, who the more experienced players were, and who just didn’t give a rat’s ass. It fascinated me that I was able to seperate tones like that, even though in the end, it all sounded like one large instrument. I started researching what it could mean, as 11 year old me was convinced I had some kind of super power. That is when I was introduced to binaural beats. Binaural beats therapy is an emerging form of soundwave therapy in which the right and left ears listen to two slightly different frequency tones yet perceive the tone as one.
The binaural auditory beat that a person hears is the difference in frequency between the left and the right ear and should be at frequencies lower than 1000 hertz (Hz) for the brain to detect the binaural beat. For example, if the left ear registers a tone at 200 Hz and the right at 210 Hz, the binaural beat heard is the difference between the two frequencies — 10 Hz.
That’s a lot. How does it work?
Research has shown that when a person listens to binaural beats for a recommended time, their levels of arousal change.
Researchers believe these changes occur because the binaural beats activate specific systems within the brain. An electroencephalogram (EEG) that recorded the electrical brain activity of people listening to binaural beats showed that the effect on a person’s body varied according to the frequency pattern used.
One small study of 19 participants conducted by Dr. Vincent Giampapa found that the use of binaural beats therapy in the alpha, theta, and delta patterns had positive effects on the human body. Dr. Giampapa found that these binaural beats improved the production of the hormones cortisol, DHEA, and melatonin.
His research of binaural beats therapy found:
- Effects on DHEA: The hormone DHEA affects how a person ages and resists disease; higher levels of DHEA are associated with improved health. In this study, Dr. Giampapa noted that 68 percent of participants had increased levels of DHEA while using binaural beats therapy.
- Effects on cortisol: The hormone cortisol is commonly associated with stress, and when levels are higher than usual, it can have a negative impact on the body. High levels of cortisol can lead to a range of conditions, including Cushing syndrome, menstrual cycle and female libido changes, anxiety, and depression. Dr. Giampapa noted a reduction of cortisol of up to a whopping 70-80 percent in several study participants.
- Effects on melatonin: The hormone melatonin plays a role in restful sleep. This study noted an average increase of melatonin of, get ready for this, 97.77 percent!
Another study, conducted by researchers from the National College of Natural Medicine in Oregon, evaluated eight study participants who listened to delta wave binaural beat therapy every day for 60 days.
The results showed a decrease in anxiety, insulin-like growth factor, and dopamine. The participants also experienced an increase in quality of life. Researchers concluded that, although further study is needed in this area, binaural beats might improve self-reported anxiety.
A more extensive study of over 100 participants who were undergoing general anesthesia for a day procedure, reported a decrease in pre-operative anxiety. The participants in this study listened to 30 minutes of binaural beats before surgery, but the researchers noted that people experiencing high levels of pre-operative anxiety could listen to binaural beats for up to 1 hour before anesthesia to reduce levels of anxiety.
Although there is little evidence of any adverse side effects of using binaural beat therapy, a literature review of some current studies have identified some conflicting data, so further research is required.
Ok, but what are they exactly?
The four known categories of frequency pattern include:
- Delta patterns: Binaural beats in the delta pattern are set at a frequency of between 0.1 and 4 Hz, which is associated with dreamless sleep.
- Theta patterns: Binaural beats in the theta pattern are set at a frequency of between 4 and 8 Hz, which is associated with sleep in the rapid eye movement or REM phase, meditation, and creativity.
- Alpha pattern: Binaural beats in the alpha pattern are set at a frequency of between 8 and 13 Hz, which may encourage relaxation.
- Beta pattern: Binaural beats in the beta pattern are set at a frequency of between 14 Hz and 100 Hz, which may help promote concentration and alertness. To my friends with anxiety, like me, this frequency range can lead to an increase anxiety at the higher end of the frequency range, so please use with caution, however, truth be told, this is my favorite range. I’m usually bouncing around from task to task and though I do get a lot done, this is also mentally and physically draining. Throwing a pair of headphones on and my favorite binaural track had me write an entire book, in one day. Talk about efficiency.
So why would I do something like this? Are you sure it’s not mind control?
I assure you it’s not. My other posts cover that! (puts on tin foil hat). These are a few benefits researchers have noted:
- reduced stress
- reduced anxiety
- increased focus
- increased concentration
- increased motivation
- increased confidence
- deeper meditation
- improved psychomotor performance and mood
How you use this therapy is totally up to you. The purpose for using binaural beats therapy may differ between people. Some people may need help decreasing their anxiety, while others may want to increase their concentration or deepen their level of meditation.
Avoid using binaural beats therapy while undertaking tasks that require alertness and full attention, such as driving. A person will need:
- 15-30 minutes of listening time
- a quiet and relaxing place to listen
- stereo headphones because each ear hears the sounds in a different frequency
Therapist and life coach Deb Smith recommends that to get the full and maximal effect of binaural beats therapy, people should practice it for 15-30 minutes every day for 30 to 45 days.
Smith recommends that once an individual has completed this initial therapy, they should continue to use it regularly as part of a maintenance practice, such as meditation and yoga.
As with any self-help type of tool, it is important that a person speaks with a healthcare provider or other qualified professional to see if binaural beats therapy is right for them. My goal is to introduce you to the plethora of options out here, it’s up to you to find what works for you and what does not.
As always tribe, I would love to hear from you. Do you use these beats in your daily life? Sound off below and leave a comment!
Until Next Time,