Brainwave Entrainment

A picture of brainwaves activated within the brain.Back in the '90s I became interested in brainwave entrainment because of my interest in hypnosis--and for good reason. After all, brainwave entrainment is sometimes used in hypnosis mp3s and cds. Personally, I decided not to use them with my mp3s because a light hypnosis state (which is all that is needed for effective hypnosis) is fairly easy to create. But I certainly had some fun experimenting with brainwave entrainment, and you might too, especially if you're interested in experiencing theta states of mind (more difficult to achieve when conscious). Theta is an expansive, meditative state where intuition and deep memory reside. It can take a meditation practioner many years to begin achieving a deep theta state while conscious. There are a number of interesting states of mind that can be created and experienced through brainwave entrainment.

What is Brainwave Entrainment?

Brainwave entrainment is an electrical response by the brain that mimics a rhythmic stimulus most often created by auditory beats or pulses. The idea is to create very specific brain wave state experiences using entrainment. Here's an example. If you were to entrain a brainwave frequency of 11 hertz, that specific brainwave frequency would help to reduce stress. Brainwave frequencies can be used for accelerated learning, insomnia, meditation, shamanic states, migraine relief and for a host of other purposes. A comprehensive brainwave frequency list with detailed explanations for each brainwave frequency pattern and their corresponding purpose can be found here.

Binaural Beats and Isochronic Tones

In the early years of entrainment, brainwaves were most often produced by Binaural Beat Technology. That's when two auditory pulses of slightly different frequencies are listened to with headphones, and the difference between the two creates a rhythmic phantom beat which the brain picks up on and begins to follow. By listening to the binaural beat (or phantom beat), your mind becomes entrained to that specific frequency. So, if you're feeling stressed, you might want to listen to a brainwave pattern frequency of 11 Hz to help reduce your stress. How can that be accomplished? By presenting one pulse tone to the left ear set at 300 Hz, and a different pulse tone presented to the right ear set at 289 Hz, creating a binaural/phantom beat of 11 Hz which the brain recognizes and begins to follow. This is referred to as the “frequency-following response.” It's actually fairly simple to create with brain wave software. And these days, new techniques are used which don't necessarily require listening with headphones. Though, personally, I prefer listening to hypnosis and brainwave entrainment products with headphones.

Isochronic Tones are another form of brainwave entrainment. An isochronic tone is a tone that is being turned on and off rapidly, creating sharp, distinctive pulses of sound. There are some distinct advantages to isochronic tones. Only a single tone is required to create the brainwave entrainment effect. This means headphones aren't required. Anxiety release along with Increased focus and concentration are just a few of the benefits of using isochronic tones.

Brainwave Products

There are a number of different ways you can experience brainwave entrainment. The simplest is probably by listening to cds or mp3s. One of the pioneers in brainwave entrainment mp3s and CDs is Kelly Howell. She offers a variety of very reasonably priced Brain Sync products (over 70) on her website. I've used a few of them in the past (Brain Power and Deep Learning).

You can also experience brainwave entrainment with software. The advantage here is that you can listen to a variety of preset entrainment frequencies designed to focus on a number of areas. Transparent Corporation, one of the best companies for brainwave software, has a software program called Neuroprogrammer 3 (NP3). NP3 offers over 120 audio and visual sessions for you to choose from. NP3 combines brainwave entrainment with hypnosis methods and psychological techniques. The great thing about NP3 is that you can download it for a free trial to see if happens to be your cup of tea.  I've purchased several products from Transparent Corp. over the years and enjoyed them immensely. I even use some of their ambient soundscapes from their royalty free Thought Sounds soundtracks for background music for some of my mp3s. Quality stuff.

Brainwave Entrainment and Hypnosis

Brainwave entrainment can make a hypnosis cd or mp3 more effective when it creates a specific brainwave pattern that is best suited for the specific purpose of the session. Here's an example. Let's say you want to find a hypnosis mp3 for lucid dreaming. Since lucid dreaming occurs at a very specific brainwave state (1-3 Hz), it would make sense to incorporate that brain wave frequency into the recording. But keep in mind since that is a deep delta state brain wave frequency, that it might take a few weeks or longer for the brain to become deeply entrained to that frequency level. The longer you listen to a brainwave entrainment frequency, the easier it will be for your brain to follow that frequency. 

There aren't a lot of hypnotherapists that use brainwave entrainment (isochronic tones) in their mp3/cds. But there are a few. Steve Jones uses them in his platinum level recordings, but his stuff is highly priced (just my opinion). Laura De Giorgio over at  has a number of brainwave entrainment hypnosis products using isochronic tones (headphones not required) that are reasonably priced.   

As I mentioned earlier, for most hypnosis products, all that is required for effectiveness is a light hypnotic state. A few deep breaths and a focusing of the mind, and you're right where you need to be for a hypnosis session. 

Brainwave entrainment can be an effective, powerful tool. If you'd like to learn more about brainwave entrainment, google “brainwave entrainment” and you’ll come up with a plethora of information.


Brainwave entrainment is considered safe but isn't appropriate for everyone. Those who should avoid brainwave entrainment include the following: epileptics or anyone prone to seizures; pregnant women; anyone who wears a pacemaker; anyone under the age of 18 (those under the age of 18 are more prone to seizures and quite possibly haven't been diagnosed as of yet) and those who are photosensitive. Also, never listen to hypnosis recordings (with or without brainwave entrainment) when under the influence of alcohol or drugs and never while driving a vehicle or operating machinery. If you are on medication, consult a physician before listening to brainwave entrainment.

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