Audio Brainwave Entrainment - General
Brainwave Entrainment Software
Last Updated: 11 October 2013
IntroductionThere are many meditation methods and meditation aids. One type of meditation uses technological aids to promote a deeper state of meditation, and specific brain wave frequences.
There are in a general sense three main types of brainwave entrainment technologies available today. These are
- Binaural Beats
- Monaural Beats
- Isochronic Tones
Binaural beats are the most commonly used. Discovered in 1839, these are specific sound frequencies, a different one played in each ear (the carrier frequencies), the brain 'hearing' the difference (subtracting one frequency from the other, e.g. 20 Hz - 15 Hz = 5 Hz). Headphones are therefore required (preferably high quality headphones with great frequency reproduction). A less ideal alternative is to sit in between a set of stereospeakers, one ear facing each speaker, with the speakers at ear height preferably (less conducive to headaches and producing a harmful magnetic field). Some people get headaches when wearing headphones. This third beat or 'binaural beat' is said to entrain a specific brain wave corresponding to that frequency. One does not actually hear this binaural beat per se, but only the carrier frequencies. The brain however detects it. The effect is not instantaneous as the brain has to process the sounds in order to latch onto the binaural beat. Binaural beats are not the most effective for entrainment, but they are practical, and can be used to produce a variety of low target frequencies that are not possible with other methods. Binaural beats also have the added benefit of engaging both ears and both halves of the brain, producing a degree of brainwave synchronisation between the two hemispheres of the brain. Binaural beats, working on the basis of the difference between two frequencies, are not best suited to entrain high brainwave frequencies, such as HyperGamma (100Hz) or Lamba (200Hz) as the difference is too great.
Monaural beats are similar to binaural beats, except that the interference pattern is heard outside of the brain rather than inside it. This is achieved by playing both frequencies in each speaker, rather than a dedicated frequency in each speaker. Thus each speaker pumps out two frequencies, resulting in a sine wave pulse over the top of the output frequencies. If one listens to binaural beats on a HiFi using external speakers, then even when one is sat in between the speakers, one will hear some degree of monaural interference pattern. One does not have to use headphones with monaural beats. Monaural beats may be more effective than binaural beats in brainwave entrainment but because there is no processing by the brain, the pulse being heard outside the brain/body, then it does not provide the brainwave synchronisation effect between left and right hemispheres. In a 1973 issue of Scientific American, Dr Gerald Oster noted that Monaural waves create a far greater entrainment effect than binaurals. The benefit of listening to monaural beats is that the body can absorb the sound (up to a certain depth), whereas binaural beats listened to only with headphones are only 'heard' by the brain.
Isochronic Tones are regular beats or pulses of sound of the same tone, with silence in between each pulse or beat. Similar to monaural beats, the beat is heard outside the brain, but it is not the result of an interference pattern between two different sounds. The same freuqency of tones is output in each speaker and headphones are not required. Isochronic tones are more pronounced than binaural or monaural beats, and as such produce arguably the strongest brainwave entrainment benefit. However, similarly to monaural beats, they provide no brain synchronisation benefit. Some people do not like isochronic tones because they can be tiring or distracting to listen to. This need not be the case. In some instances, the beats are disguised by ambient music, which may lessen the actual effect of the isochronic tones slightly. Also, by their very nature, they cannot produce very low frequencies, as the spacing between the tones/pulses is too long, i.e. they can only be used effectively over 4Hz. I am aware of pulsed brainwave entrainment CDs, e.g. by Jeffrey Thompson, that are able to stimulate brainwaves all the way down to Epsilon (0-0.5Hz), using some manner of pulsed tones, although I am unable to confirm whether they are monaural, isochronic or both.
Brainwave entrainment audio designed for open air listening can incorporate both Isochronic Tones and Monaural Beats. Some packages use all three, and can be alternately listened to with external speakers and headphones (every other session), one benefitting from the isochronic and monaural beats in the former scenario and the binaural beats in the latter scenario.
Audio Brainwave Entrainment - GeneralThe brain waves that are targetted for entrainment are usually Alpha, Theta and Delta. These are present in the brain, but often very faintly and in only certain isolated pockets of the brain, so the idea is to induce a specific brain wave more strongly into the brain. This may well result in increased blood flow in the brain, and with regular entrainment, the brain is said to recall these frequencies more easily and more strongly, with improved synchronisation between hemispheres, as it is supposed to do/can be trained to do/can achieve in ideal circumstances. The brain does not merely produce one type of brainwave at any one time but, a multitude of brainwave types in different parts of the brain. Entrainment is the practice of strengthening each type of brainwave frequency.
- Gamma (40Hz+) - burst of insight and high-level information processing
- Beta (13-40Hz) - heightened sense of alertness and focussed concentration
- Alpha (8-12Hz) - relaxed mental awareness, reflection, visualisation & creativity - Serotonin production.
- Theta (4-8Hz) - stress relief, deep relaxation, meditation, light sleep & dreaming
- Delta (0.5-4Hz) - deep dreamless sleep, healing and rejuvenation - Human Growth Hormone and natural opiate release.
Click here to view a document on brainwaves on scribd.com
Some brainwave frequencies are very hard to entrain, for example, anything below 2 Hz (i.e. low Delta and Epsilon (0-0.5Hz)) and in the Gamma range or above (HyperGamma (100-200Hz) or Lambda (200Hz)), although listening to them may still have beneficial effects on the body or interesting temporary effects in terms of altered states of consciousness. Gamma and above brainwave states are said to be useful for healing, feeeling compassion and personal transformation and breakthroughs. Epsilon is useful for deep relaxation, stillness, calming of the body and physical healing. Most entrainment is focussed on light Delta through to Alpha, and sometimes Beta as well.
The Schumann Resonance is 7.83Hz. This is sometimes called the 'Earth Frequency' as it is the frequency produced when light travels around the globe and reaches its original starting point (i.e. 7.83 compete circles of the earth in one second). Some repute that entraining the brain on this frequency can help to protect the body from the effects of Electromagnetic Smog, or rather restore the natural background frequencies of the earth that may be overriden by electrical and electronic devices and fields. Audio products that use the Schumann Frequency include The Holographic Mind's Deep Meditation and Into the Light CDs, and also Project Meditation's Lifeflow CD 7. Of course it is possible to create a binaural/monaural/isochronic track yourself using binaural beat generation software. The same frequency is used in Philip Stein watches and wristbands, approaching this from a different angle. To what extent this is true, I cannot say, but the brain does seem to benefit from the frequency which is high Theta, close to Alpha; and indeed from Philip Stein products (if it is what the body requires).
Gamma,Beta and Alpha binaural beats can be listened to whilst performing tasks, but Theta and Delta binaural beats should only be listened to whilst relaxing, reclining, lying down or meditating. Alpha can also be used for meditation or breathing exercises. Some CD programmes state what frequencies they target, which is useful whereas others do not. I have found Delta wave entrainment before bed useful to assist in falling asleep, and Alpha and particularly Theta wave entrainment for relaxation, stress relief and meditation. Delta meditation can also be helpful to rest, if one is deficient in sleep, even if one does not actually fall asleep. The more one entrains these frequencies, the more the brain will be effective in achieving them itself, i.e. in the case of Delta, inducing dreamless, restful sleep at night, which is often lacking in people with certain environment illnesses or suffering from fatigue. Also if one is regularly entraining Theta and Delta in the evenings, then one may be satiating some of the brain's requirements for Delta and Theta mind states, providing a sort of rejuvenating nap or rest, so that it requires less deep sleep and REM sleep during the night, meaning that one may well wake up feeling that one has got enough Delta and Theta sleep - as opposed to waking up feeling very tired (usually the result of insufficient Delta and REM sleep and too much shallow sleep in each sleep cycle one has).
In general, it is most helpful to use Delta wave binaural beats before going to bed in the evening, rather than during the day, as otherwise it may disrupt one's normal Circadian Rhythm (when the brain is trying to move away from Delta waves and produce other wave states). It may depend on whether you nap during the day and exactly what your cycle is like. Similarly, using Alpha or worse still Beta wave entrainment last thing at night may result in one feeling too awake and disrupting the Circadian Rhythm also.
Exposure to light or watching television is noted to promote alpha wave release (assuming the subject is relaxing!), the latter occurring because of the light emission. Television is of course not the recommended means of stimulating alpha waves but it can work. Other means of promoting alpha wave production include the precursors to Serotonin production and GABA production. And herbs containing some of these precursors or compounds that stimulate their production.
Measurements using EEG machines on Buddhist monks have shown a variety of different frequencies of brainwaves that appear during deep meditation, but predominantly alpha and theta waves. It has been noted that those monks participating in special types of meditation, to slow down the heart rate and to go into states of slow bodily function, for special religious purposes, use a combination of epsilon (lower Delta, specifically in the range 0-0.5Hz) and hyper-Gamma (100-200Hz) and lambda (200Hz). These are the lowest and highest frequency brainwaves, and the hyper-gamma and lambda waves seem to ride on the epsilon waves. Both are said to represent similar states of consciousness. Exploring such binaural beat programmes is probably best suited to those who have been entraining the four main frequencies for some time.
It is said that the actual volume of the carrier frequencies is not important, as the brain will detect them as long as they are at least faintly audible. Some binaural beats programmes have binaural beats in the foreground, and others have them in the background, behind ambient sounds or music, and cannot be noticed (which is much less annoying!). Some programmes use the actual music or sounds as the carrier frequencies, rather than a tone generator, and play the same sound/music at different frequencies in each ear (or parts of it in this way) to generate the binaural beat. They may also use phasing of the music/sounds to create a pulsing effect which may also correspond to the desired frequency (although this is technically not a binaural beat), and often 'swishing' the sound from one ear piece to the other.
Most programmes require a period of adjustment, prior to listening to all tracks or going to the next 'level' CD. For programmes with multiple tracks, it is typical to require 5 to 10 consecutive days of listening to the first track before proceeding to the second. Multi-level programmes may require the user to stay on one level for 100 days before progressing to the next level. Some argue that level-based programmes hold the user back unnecessarily, wheresas others swear they are the best method of progressing with brain wave entrainment. Advancing too soon may result in headaches, as the brain is 'overloaded', i.e. more advanced entrainment is not effective. Part of this 'headache' sensation may be overstraining one's nervous system. But perhaps part of it is on account of increased blood circulation to areas not used to it, and possibly increased liberation of toxins from the brain cells.
On CDs with multiple tracks, if one is quite used to the programme, and wishes for a longer session or more intensive session, one may elect to play the last track twice for example. The order and sequence of tracks varies from CD to CD:
- The binaural beat CD programme, Insight, contains 3 tracks, and stars off with 24 minute Delta track. The second track is an Theta track, and third track is an Alpha track. In other words, the frequencies become higher as the CD progresses. Insight is a more traditional binaural beat programme and uses layering, but requires the use of headphones. Of course one can position oneself in between a pair of stereo speakers.
- On the Brainwave Suite, Alpha CD for example, the first 21 minute track is light to mid alpha (higher frequency, closer to beta?) and the second 21 minute track is mid to deep alpha (lower frequency, closer to theta?). After 'warming up' with the first track, the brain is ready to listen to the second track and the deeper alpha waves. This if one elects to play the second track twice, and does not experience any adverse effects or headaches when doing so, then one may work on entraining deeper alpha frequencies. Dr Jeffrey Thompson's Brainwave Suite, and indeed his other audio programmes, can be listened to without headphones, so likely use pulsing of these frequencies (i.e. no carrier frequency and no difference in frequency to create a binaural beat as such). Brainwave Suite is said to incorporate phase modulation, acoustic pacing primordial sounds and 3D recording and have been clinically proven. Whether this is better than some of the binaural beats CDs on the market is another question entirely and I have not formulated an opinion on this at this time. However, for those concerned with the health implications of wearing headphones, in terms of EM smog, then playing Thompson's programmes using stereo speakers is probably a better option.
Individuals who are generally healthy report far more impressive results in the short term with binaural beats usage, compared with those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or related conditions. A friend of mine reported amazing results from using a few different programmes. When I tried these myself I was slightly disappointed as the results were 'slight' but was not really that surprised. This is probably because of the neurotransmitter imbalances (less calming neurotransmitters such as serotonin or GABA for example) in those individuals with neurological conditions, who require more entrainment in order to mimmick those of normal and healthy individuals. However, this is not to say that such individuals should not bother with binaural beats. Quite the opposite, they probably need to commit much more to such a programme, in order to get the various brain centres working properly again and to improve blood circulation in the brain generally. I have noticed that better results seems to come with increased durations, i.e. selecting a longer programme or repeating tracks (probably the latter tracks on multi-track CDs or whichever corresponds to the frequency that one wishes to focus on entraining). In this way, a person with neurological impairment of various kinds may experience 'similar' results to someone who is healthy but working the binaural beats CD much longer per session. This is something you will have to experiment with yourself to find how much is required and what the optimal listening time per programme is, of course building up to it with time over several sessions (or a headache may ensue).
Most brainwave entrainment CDs utilise multiple frequencies per session. However, a few products utilise only one frequency per session, claiming that it produces more effective brainwave entrainment results. An example of such a product is Project Meditation's LifeFlow programme, which also uses all 3 types of brainwave entrainment technology.
It is said that more brainwave entrainment occurs when one is sitting upright, e.g. on a chair or in a meditative posture, than when one is lieing down on one's back. The neurological system is more active when in an awake but relaxed meditate posture. I have tried various types of posture and has found less brainwave entrainment seems to occur when lieing on one's back. If one is sat upright, when combined with deep, diaphragm breathing, this seems to produce the best results. Diaphragm breathing is reputed to encourage more alpha waves in the brain.
If you decide to convert your binaural beats audio CDs to your mobile phone or mp3 player (to listen to whilst on a train or on the beach, if you do not have a portable CD player), it is best to convert them without any loss, e.g. to WAV or FLAC format, as mp3 format may result in losses in the binaural beat production which may render the audio tracks slightly less effective. The less loss the better, and best still no loss at all.
There are many products on the market, and many make claims to be the best, however, I have trawled through numerous reviews and found that no one product performs consistently better than any other, or at least not all the time, with all subjects, and it depends on the individual as to which programme might suit one best (at a particular point in time perhaps also). It is perhaps best to experiment with a few different programmes until you find what works best for you. Some manufacturers and indeed users make various 'new age' claims about the effect of certain products, and one may wish to take these with a pinch of salt if one is not that way inclined, or until one has directly experienced them oneself. If nothing else, the marketing speak should not detract from the scientifically proven effectiveness and validity of these techniques.
Multi-level audio programmes have an ordered and sequential programme for frequency entrainment, and may well cover a wide variety of frequencies in each level. Products such as Brainwave Suite and Insight include separate CDs/tracks for each type of brain wave, and so allow the user to choose what type of brainwave to entrain. Whilst many users like to use Delta prior to going to sleep, one can also choose Alpha or Theta to entrain at other times. I have found that regular daily entrainment of Alpha, without doing any Theta entrainment, gradually contributed to insomnia, which was rectified when focussing more on Theta (Delta being run every day prior to going to bed in any case). When you can choose yourself, one has to exercise self-discipline to choose what is right for oneself and to balance it out properly if necessary. Multi-level programmes are supposed to do this 'thinking' for you. However this is no one size fits all, and some people get on better with some programmes than others, and clearly entraining certain types of brainwave frequency maybe beneficial for one person and detrimental to another, depending on brain chemistry and neuro-endocrine system issues.
Binaural beats based products are said to accelerate the rate at which meditation practice progresses, and also to boost one's hormone levels and endocrine system, and result in better emotional balance. Some programmes are geared more towards entertainment, and out of body type experiences, but entrainment is a much more worthwhile goal (initially). I have to date tried Perfect Meditation, Insight, Focus, Dr Jeffrey Thompson's Brainwave Suite, Dr Jeffrey Thompson's Epsilon CD, X-Series, Binaural Beats' Chakra Cleansing and Power Siesta, and The Holographic Mind's Into the Light, as well as the Procyon AVS mind machine, and has been reasonably happy with all of them, with the exception of the Binaural Beats' CDs and the Procyon (described below) which are merely 'OK'. He has been particularly impressed with the Brainwave Suite series and Epsilon CD, which have yielded phenomenal results and states of wellbeing in conjunction with either Standing Qi Gong or meditation whilst having an Epsom Salts foot bath (c/f Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patient usage). More information on some of the most highly regarded products on the market can be found on the Links page. On some of these manufacturer web sites can be found a significant amount of technical information and also research.
Please note that whilst binaural beat brainwave entrainment and brain synchronisation can be a very powerful meditation, personal development and entertainment tool, it should be used in conjunction with a full Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Neuro-Associative Conditioning (NAC) or other personal development programme that requires reflection, analysis and/or changing of mental associations, retraining neuro-responses and stimulus interpretation. It is easy to just listen to CDs every day and purposely avoid any kind of NLP etc. as the ego wants to prevent you from doing so as it might mean breaking the hold of addictive patterns over your life. Don't fool yourself!
Mind/Brain MachinesIt is of course possible to combine binaural beats with flashing LEDs that flash at the same frequency as the 'binaural beat' (i.e. the difference between the carrier frequencies), to further assist in entrainment. In this context, the brightness of the LEDs (inside a pair of goggles) is proportionate to the amount of entrainment that occurs, but of course one does not want to set the LEDs too bright or it may irritate the eyes or cause damage to the retinas. The goggles should be worn with the eyes closed. It may take one a week or two to get used to the LEDs and one may find oneself gradually increasing the brightness of the LEDs with time. It is helpful to try to relax the eyes. Some may wish to focus the eyes on the flashing lights (from behind the eyelids) and others may wish to relax the eyes and focus completely. Blue light is most suitable for alert relaxation (and can help to arouse one in the mornings and reduce melatonin production), whereas red light tends to be more stimulating, energising and even stressful (perhaps working more on the adrenal hormone and neurotransmitter production, particularly in conjunction with Beta frequencies). Theta and Delta programmes are therefore best used with a predominantly blue or green light/LEDs. As bright lights, particularly at the blue end of the visible spectrum, are known to reduce melatonin production, it may be well not to set the brightness of the LEDs too high if using a Theta or Delta programme in the late evening or immediately before going to bed. However, in most cases, because of the audio and visual brainwave entrainment, the overriding effect is that of sleep or deep relaxation induction, and perhaps increased melatonin production (in the case of Delta programmes), rather than decreased. On a low setting, less light probably enters the eye than it would with the eyes closed in daylight or standing near a light source. One may alternatively elect to use a binaural beat CD or mind machine with goggles switched off/unplugged for such late evening/night applications. Try and experiment. It perhaps depends on the individual to some extent.
Mind machines that provide both binaural beats and flashing LEDs Binaural beats are of course dearer than simply CDs, but usually contain a number of different programmes. The quality of programmes in mind machines is debatable compared with some of the more cutting edge audio programmes. Their range of possible frequencies may be limited compared with audio CDs, mainly at the upper end. e.g. the Procyon AVS is only capable of frequencies between 0.1 Hz and 75 Hz and so is not able to produce frequencies in the higher end of Gamma, nor Hypergamma or Lambda. One should bear in mind that the brain does not generally respond to very low frequency binaural beats according to some (e.g. less than 2Hz), and that mind machines are not really suited to anything less than around 2Hz as the long space in between flashes becomes increasingly irritating the lower the frequency. Using a mind machine with audio only, or simply purchasing a low Delta or Epsilon CD Programme may be a better bet if one wants to entrain these low frequencies.
One thing one can say about mind machines is that they are likely to produce worse headaches in some people who are sensitive to electronic devices, particularly as they use LEDs immediately adjacent to the eye as well as headphones. Another consideration is that mind machines, although supplied with headphones, are usually supplied with very cheap headphones, and it may be worth buying a high quality set of headphones.
An alternative to mind machines are brainwave entrainment DVDs or videos. These may well rely on isochronic or monaural tones more than binaural beats (depending on whether they are designed for use with headphones or not) and also utilised strobed flashes. Some mind machines produce a background hiss, which worsens when the batteries become low. This affects the Procyon in particular. This can be solved by using a pair of in line headphones or an in line volume control lead that plugs into the end of your headphones lead. Unfortunately this means having two sets of volume controls to contend with, one on the device and one on the headphones lead. The idea is to turn the device volume up to maximum and the headphones volume down to a low, comfortable setting.
I spent 6 months using his Procyon afterwhich time he noticed he was developing headaches with each usage (similar with headphones only usage), and proceeded to listen to brainwave entrainment audio on his stereo instead, leaving his Procyon to gather dust.
Brainwave Entrainment SoftwareThere are also binaural beat generation programs available, almost entirely for Windows, but of course they can be run on a Mac with the correct Virtual Machine software and a copy of Windows (if you can get it to work!). Some are sound only, i.e. for generating sound files that can be burnt to CD or otherwise, whereas others are designed to actual play binaural beats tracks in conjunction with a flashing strobe on the screen, synchronised. Some products allow the user to mix the binaural beats with music. One example is Neuro Programmer 2 (NP2) by the Transparent Corporation. However, in my opinion, music/ambient music professionally layered with binaural beats (as to be imperceptible), even though they can become slightly annoying when listening to the same track 50-100 times (!), are preferable to pulsing tones which are akin to a form of torture, even if mixed in with music (they would still be very annoying). However, it is clearly personal preference.
Solfeggio FrequenciesSolfeggio is 'a pedagogical solmization technique for the teaching of sight-singing in which each note of the score is sung to a special syllable, called a solfge syllable (or "sol-fa syllable"). The seven syllables normally used for this practice in English-speaking countries are: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, and ti (with a chromatic scale of ascending di, ri, fi, si, li and descending te, le, se, me, ra).'
In this particular context however we are referring to a specific Solfeggio sequence. This was determined to have been lost in the past, but 'discovered' by the Harvard University trained naturopath Dr Joseph Puleo and dental and public health researcher Dr Leonard G. Horowitz in 1999, and were documented in a co-authored new age book Healing codes for the Biological Apocalypse (1999). Horowitz claims that the frequencies are detailed in the Bible and that it is the real Bible Code, unlike the Da Vinci Code (which everyone knows is fictitious rubbish).
Professor Willi Apel, the German-American musicologist, claimed (according to the above book) that the sequence arose in a Mediaeval hymn to John the Baptist. Apel by this time was deceased. Others claim they were part of ancient Gregorian chants.
Dr Rife, the creator of the controversial 'new age' Rife machine in the 1930s (an electromagnetic measurement device - see the links page in the Health Section, under Alternative Approaches for more information), used by many holistic medical practitioners today, was one of the first modern scientists to acknowledge the medical usefulness of 528Hz, one of the Solfeggio frequencies.
Various articles about the Solfeggio frequencies can be found at the links below.
The 6 Solfeggio frequencies are said to have distinct biological and emotional properties, and are used for physical and emotional healing. The descriptions are quoted and offer a 'new age' interpretation rather than a brainwave description. They are monotone frequencies and do not require the use of headphones. The 6 frequencies are:
1) 396 Hz - UT - 'Liberating Guilt and Fear'
2) 417 Hz - RE - 'Undoing Situations and Facilitating Change'
3) 528 Hz - MI - 'Transformation and Miracles (DNA Repair)'
4) 639 Hz - FA - 'Connecting/Relationships'
5) 741 Hz - SOL - 'Awakening Intuition'
6) 852 Hz - LA - 'Returning to Spiritual Order'
A Tibetan Bowl, for example, comes in a variety of sizes, and can produce various incremental frequencies, but a 140mm size can produce the MI frequency of 528 Hz (amongst other frequencies).
Some commentators have extended the scale to include 3 other 'Phantom Solfeggio' frequencies, through mathematical progression, 174 and 285 Hz at the bottom end, and at the top end, 963 Hz.
Some have described the Solfeggio frequencies as a Chakra scale. The 6 frequencies corresponding to the first 6 of the 7 Chakras, the seventh being the musical note 'B' (494 Hz) which does not coincide with the above Solfeggio sequence. However, the comparison with the standard 'Do Re Mi' scale is incorrect.
The company Binaural-Beats.com created a 'Chakra Balancing' binaural beats-based CD which is reputed to utilise the following frequencies for the 7 Chakras, which do not correspond with the Solfeggio frequencies. These Whether these 7 sets of frequencies or pairs of frequencies are produced binaurally or as monotones, I am uncertain. I have tried out the Chakra Balancing CD, and experienced some success with it. It is 1 hour in duration. These 'Chakra frequencies' are also used by other manufacturers in CD format or indeed tuning fork sets. These 'Chakra' frequencies (i.e. not Solfeggio frequencies) are listed below for comparison purposes. Clearly the higher frequency cannot be achieved with binaural beats, as the difference in frequency would be too great, but they could be produced with flat tones or notes, whereas the lower frequencies quoted for each 'chakra' could be produced with binaural beats or similar.
1) 194.18 Hz and 8 Hz - Root (Muladhara)
2) 210.42 Hz and 9 Hz - Sacral (Swasthisthana)
3) 126.22 Hz and 10 Hz - Solar Plexus (Manipura)
4) 136.10 Hz and 10.5 Hz - Heart (Anahata)
5) 141.27 Hz and 12 Hz - Throat (Vishuddha)
6) 221.23 Hz and 13 Hz - Third Eye (Ajna)
7) 172.06 Hz and 15 Hz - Crown (Sahasrara)
When it comes to listening to the Solfeggio frequencies, one can either choose to listen to one particular frequency, according to requirements, or a musical composition including all 6 frequencies together. I have no idea what types of brainwaves that each frequency entrains or encourages. He is therefore unable to comment on whether all the frequencies are suitable or optimal for everyone, or indeed what frequencies a person should focus on or listen to more than others. Presumably some EEG-based research must exist on the subject. One could guess that they fall into the Alpha to Delta range. However, brainwaves are rarely this simple and a variety of brainwaves coexist in different parts of the brain at any one moment.
One can find/generate Solfeggio tones from a variety of sources. Some of these are listed below:
- Solfeggio tuning fork set. This of course does not require audio equipment or a computer.
- Audio CD - usually containing 7 tracks, the first six dedicated to each individual frequency, followed by a combined frequency track at the end. These are usually computer generated and distinctly electronic sounding. . Some examples are listed below.
- 'Brainwave Mind Voyages BMV Series 24: Sacred Healing Frequencies - Solfeggio Healing Tones CD' which is also available on a famous auction web site. Other similar (and possibly more expensive) CDs can be found using an internet search engine. The single frequency tracks usually consist of ambient style music with a flat tone in the background, the music/sounds there is simply distract you from the continuous tone sound. The BMV CD also incorporates thunder sounds and heart beat sounds. The combined track with all 6 frequencies using a rapid alternating frequency to impart the Solfeggio tones and sounds lower in pitch and more listenable.
- Some CDs sound more like ambient, new age or choral type music, which usually use the 528 Hz frequency. Some examples are discussed in this e-book by Jill Mattson, which can be viewed on scribd.com by clicking here.
- mp3s - freeware or paid for, from various web sites. Some examples are listed below.
- SolfeggioTones.com offer a free .wav file download for Ravi's Solfeggio Frequencies (choose use Mirror Link 2 or 3 for the normal file or Mirror Link 1 or the file named Reduced Ambiance for an alternative version with less ambient noise (i.e. without the bird chirping) - there is an error on their download links listings). Either file includes all 6 tones, pulsed, individually, each one for about 90 seconds. The total duration is 9 minutes. The file size is approximately 103Mb. The site also hosts some mp3 files on their Sedonia 11:11 Solfeggio Frequencies page. This second page contains a zip file containing 6 files, one for each tone. Each track last arounds 6-7 minutes and consists of a flat continual Solfeggio tone with some ambient music in the background. The page also contains a link to a sample mp3 of the final, combined track (containing all 6 frequencies) of the BMV Series 24: Sacred Healing Frequencies CD mentioned above.
- Xtrememind.com offer a variety of free meditation and mind tool mp3 downloads, including DNA Activator Max which also uses 528 Hz, the frequency reputed to have DNA repairing qualities, in addition to 360 Hz (Balance Frequency) and 441 Hz (King's Chamber Frequency) which are reputed to be also beneficial for healing and mental calm also. It contains various voice affirmations (through the right speaker - which are barely audible) and the sound of rain and thunder (through the left speaker). I have found this track to be most effective of all the tracks he has so far listened to.
- SourceVibrations.com offer a variety of pay for downloads of individual frequencies (also available on youtube - see below), as well as two longer brainwave entrainment tracks. One of these is 528 Hz Emerald Heart Ascendance which is 30 minutes long as is said to utilise theta delta brainwave entrainment set to the Solfeggio 'love' frequency of 528 Hz. It is said to perhaps produce a Gamma brainwave harmonic in some listeners. Source Vibrations recommend the use of headphones with all their downloads, so whether this is because binaural beat technology is used or not I cannot comment on.
- Youtube 'videos'. There are a variety of Solfeggio frequency videos on youtube. Some focus on a single Solfeggio frequency. Others incorporate the 6 frequency or 9 frequency range into one recording. Others may do either of these in conjunction with additional non-Solfeggio frequencies. You can do a search on the frequency or on 'Solfeggio' and examine some of the results or related videos. One example of 528 Hz is embedded below (probably best listened to with your eyes closed) - headphones are apparently recommended. I am in no way responsible for the imagery in the video.
- Tone Generator software. There is no reason why you cannot produce the exact desired frequency using tone generator software for your computer. Tone Generator software is available in a variety of forms, and freeware or trial programs are available for virtually all operating systems. Some binaural beat generator software may also include a tone generator program or subroutine. Simply enter the desired frequency and run the sound profile. You can play any frequency you wish, and you need not stick to the Solfeggio tone scale, but you may wish to experiment with other tones, such as the Chakra scale or indeed any others. Bear in mind that sounds produced by tone generator software is simply a tone, with no fancy background sounds, and so it can be harder to listen to for extended periods than a custom made mp3 or CD or indeed tuning forks. Certain software packages, in particular music editing programs, may allow you to mix two 'tracks' together, and you could record the tone as a wave file, and mix it with an ambient track from your CD or music collection, or indeed create your own tracks if you so wish (and sell them or post them on the internet for free like some of the above tracks).
So are Solfeggio frequencies any good? Do they work?
I have been experimenting with Solfeggio frequencies for some months at the time of writing. I was initially sceptical, not expecting much, but thought he would give it a fair try, having had a personal recommendation to try it, and the results were quite significant in terms of increased wellbeing and a serotonin/GABA type sensation.
The first Solfeggio tones I listened to was the mp3 DNA Activator Max, described above, with is a pulsing tone track containing the 528 Hz Solfeggio frequency plus two additional frequencies, and also some very faint voice affirmations in the background. This just felt slightly strange when I first listened to it, but it felt like it was doing something (akin to a very mild headache - which could be due to the irritable sound of the mp3!), but nothing I could put my finger on. After the track had finished, a few minutes later, all of a sudden I was hit with a wave of wellbeing and euphoria, and pleasant bodily and mental sensation which lasted for many hours! However, as I had played the track late at night, this wave of sensation meant that I was unable to get to sleep until the early hours, perhaps as a more awake Alpha state had been stimulated. To me, this effect was more than one would expect from merely listening to a relaxing CD (the actual sound of the mp3 was not relaxing at all nor was it musical).
I repeated the experiment the next day with DNA Activator Max and experienced a similar although not as pronounced an effect afterwards. However, listening to it did initiate a rather nasty headache for an hour or so, which disappeared after that. On his third listen, I did not experience a significant headache. Further listens on subsequent days resulted in less headaches or no headaches. The producers of the track state that this is on account of increased DNA activation and also bodily detoxification. I could not comment on this specifically. Over a period of a week or so, Ifelt less of a dramatic effect from listening to the mp3. I began to play the mp3 a number of times per day, as it is quite short. Since then I have been playing it a few times every day for several months, and still finds it beneficial, however the effect is much less than the above rather 'struck by lightning' style effect from my first few listens. Some listens do not seem to produce a significant noticeable effect. I do however find it works better at certain times of the day, typically the afternoon or evening, although not necessarily, and also works best when one is feeling a little anxious or tired. After 50 listens, the effect was somewhat less, and after 100 listens to this track, the effect was very subtle, and not noticeable if listened to an sub-optimal times. However, I am convinced that this combination of frequencies is highly useful and will continue to use this track for the foreseeable future, perhaps not with the same frequency as with initial listening, as the body is more used to it, or 'does not require those frequencies as much' possibly. I have not found this effect with Binaural Beats CD, which are still effective after 50-100 listens or so, and they continue to work on brainwave entrainment over time.
Having listened to all the different Solfeggio tone frequencies individually, and together, I have personally felt that 528 Hz was by far the most pleasant and relaxing to listen to. This frequency some attribute to 'unconditional love' and also to optimal 'DNA repair'. The other frequencies seemed to have a different quality, and seemed to produce a sense of wellbeing (much less so than 528 Hz) accompanied by a slight headache on occasion. Listening to a track with a combination of all frequencies together seemed to produce both effects, positive and negative. It depends how used to the frequencies you are. The slight headaches experienced from some of the frequencies (or for first time listeners) could perhaps be attributed to the brain needing to get used to these frequencies (i.e. brain synchronisation (neurological-mapping) and new blood circulation patterns being formed), in the same way that listening to too advanced or too long a duration of one frequency of binaural beats (for what one is used to) may result in a headache (this is argued by Solfeggiotones.com); or it could be attributed to the frequencies stimulating a variety of brainwave activity, including frequencies that the body does not really want at that given time (e.g. too many beta frequencies in certain Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients or patients with adrenal burnout). However, the body would not get used to the latter so much, and it would be identifiable by an 'adrenaline' type headache. After further listening, I have found he has adjusted to the tones more and is able to listen to longer durations, with less headaches and a sense of wellbeing (although not as strong as the first time). Clearly if you listen to too many in one session or in one day, a headache will ensure, a little like listening to too many binaural beats of a certain frequency in one day. One's brain has a optimum window of entrainment beyond which headaches will ensue. So it is more likely to be the former (i.e. brainwave entrainment and brain synchronisation and/or different patterns of blood flow in the brain). However, with any type of brainwave entrainment or aural stimulation, one should not exceed one's comfortable limits, and more may be better up to a certain point, after which it starts to become counterproductive. You can either be conservative about your use of such audio tools, or you can experiment and find what your comfortable limits are and stick within these limits.
Of all the Solfeggio Tones products or freebies that I have listened to, that include all 7 frequencies, he found the Sedonia 11:11 free download to be the most listenable in my opinion.
To conclude, I have found Solfeggio Tones very useful for wellbeing, mood enhancement and relaxation and believes that more people should try this for themselves. One should be aware however that a period of adjustment may be required, as described above. Feel free to experiment, but you do so at your own risk!
Certain related tracks that do not use the Solfeggio scale but that incorporate other (much higher) frequencies have not agreed with me and have resulted in aggitation, feelings of anxiety of headaches. This is probably on account of excessive Beta-wave stimulation, which stimulates the adrenaline pathway to some degree, which may be totally inappropriate for some individuals. One example of such a track is Deep Mind Ultra by Xtrememind.com. This is not something I would recommend for CFS sufferers, although some people may perhaps find it useful and beneficial.
I am aware of other sound therapies, which may use the 'Chakra' scale as described above, or a 'Fibonacci' scale, or even a 'Pythagorean' scale. These latter two may have some beneficial effects, I am not able to comment at this time. It is clear that music, when in tune (using the harmonics of sympathetic musical notes and keys), and harmonic, can create emotional state changes. Classical music, in particular, Mozart, is believed to have the greatest effect on productivity, creativity and brain functioning. This is known as the Mozart effect. Being a slave to a more abrasive (intense, 'stressful' or 'yang') musical style may be playing havoc with your brainwave balance and your brain chemistry.
© 2006-2014 Fabian Dee