Binaural beats are perhaps the most popular technique of brainwave entrainment, a concept that describes the intentional shifting of brainwaves to a desired and specific frequency in order to achieve a particular mental state.
What Is Brainwave Entrainment?
Brainwave entrainment generally is the use of a stimulus that the brain will perceive and attempt to match in frequency. Our brains are constantly emitting electrical activity and this can be seen as a trace on an oscilloscope - you may have seen them used to study sleep and stages of sleep, for example.
While brainwaves can be observed changing depending on a person's mood and state of mind, they can also be shifted on purpose to obtain a desired state of mind. For example, if you need to concentrate on a task at hand then you should use this technology to put your brain in a beta state where brainwaves are measured between 13 Hz and 40 Hz.
What Are Binaural Beats?
Binaural beats are simply one type of brainwave entrainment technique. It just so happens that it is the most popular and most accessible.
If you obtain binaural beats audios (MP3 or CD, for example) then each track will play a slightly different frequency in each ear. For example, you may hear 100 Hz in one ear and 95 Hz in the other. The difference between the two (5 Hz) is called the "beat frequency" and this is the frequency that your brain will shift towards. In this particular example, 5 Hz is in the theta brainwave range and such an audio would be useful if you want to meditate.
Where Can You Get Binaural Beats?
Thanks to the Internet, there are now many more choices of places to purchase binaural beats than ever before. What's more, you can also download them immediately and there is no need to wait for an audio CD to be delivered unless you prefer this medium. Of course, with most computers you can even create your own audio CD from any downloads. Again, this is quicker than waiting for something to be shipped to you.
Some online stores feature a variety of audios depending on your needs. For example, you may want something to help you relax or to help you have lucid dreams or to help you lose weight. The possibilities are pretty much endless.
Other products such as Holothink are a series of audios designed to help you relax and de-stress.
At the other end of the scale, you can even purchase full blown brainwave entrainment creation software. These come with built in routines but you are free to modify them or even create your own from scratch. Aficionados trade the source material for such routines so you can gather good ones for free that others have already created and even modify them further if you wish.