May 29, 2009

Anti-Anxiety Beats

Anxiety is a trance. Awareness is the beginning of the cure.

Imagine what it would be like if you could move your brain from anxiety to relaxation as easily as listening to sound. You’d put on a pair of headphones, sit back for a few minutes, and be in a calm and comfortable frame of mind.

You can do exactly that with a technology known as binaural beats.

The brainwave frequencies of relaxation, called the Alpha state, falls into the range of 7 to 13 Hz. You can shift the brain into the Alpha state in a number of ways, including meditation and binaural beats.

I first learned about binaural beats when I was struggling with insomnia. The principal of binaural beats is not unlike what happens when you hear music that has a “good beat.” That “good beat” gets us snapping our fingers, tapping our feet, and moving our bodies. The “good beat” infects us, if you will, with the irresistible urge to respond in kind.

You can get the brain “snapping its fingers” to a beat produced when two tones in the range of 1000 to 1500 Hz are presented to the ears. By adjusting one tone to be slightly faster or slower than the other, a beat is produced. That beat — the binaural beat — affects your brainwaves.

When you present a binaural beat of between 7 and 13 Hz to the brain, it synchronizes to the beat and enters the relaxing Alpha state.

One study by Clinique Psyche in Montreal, Quebec, found that listening to binaural beat tapes resulted in significant reduction in the anxiety score reported by patients who suffered from anxiety. Another study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that listening to binaural beat tapes reduced pre-operative anxiety for patients who had anxiety.

What does a binaural beat tape sound like?

The best way to describe listening to a binaural beat recording is that you hear a rhythmic tone. Often creators of binaural beat recordings mix them into a palette of sounds in the “pink noise” range, such as running water or rain. But the extra sound never interferes with the effect of the binaural beat.

There are several companies who provide binaural beat CDs and MP3s. I’ve used the following products and found them to be effective:

A search on the phrase “binaural beats” will yield many other resources, some free, some not.

Binaural beat technology is worth investigating as a tool for use in relaxing your mind. Try it to determine whether it works well for you.

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