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Entrain your Brain

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Mickey Hart eloquently describes rhythmic entrainment in his book Drumming at the Edge of Magic. If you put a kid with no drumming experience in a group of people all playing at the same tempo, eventually the kid will “entrain” and start playing in rhythm with everyone else, without even thinking about it. It is inevitable—and it’s just a question of time before it happens, because as humans, we entrain to each other’s sound waves.

But did you know that the human brain also entrains when exposed to brain waves?!

Brain wave entrainment, aka “Binaural Beats,” works by playing one frequency into one ear and a slightly different frequency into the other ear. The difference between the frequencies creates a third wave—in this case, inside your skull—that you can only hear using headphones. In these tracks, the frequencies of the two waves going into each ear are calculated to produce a third sound wave that is the same frequency as a certain brain wave.

Since different states of consciousness are associated with different brain waves, you can trigger the state of consciousness you want by immersing your brain in the sound wave that matches the brain wave!

For example, you can use delta waves to trigger sleep, or beta/gamma waves to trigger focus for studying. Theta waves trigger meditative states, and alpha waves induce relaxation. You can even learn to design your own brainwave tracks! offers free downloads of binaural beats. I’ve used the delta wave track to help me sleep. I’ve also used the “study” track.

My experiences have varied—the more receptive and relaxed I’m feeling, the easier it seems to be let the tracks to shift my consciousness. Sometimes it takes a while, but sometimes, with the sleep track, the effects were so rapid I was almost scared! (“Did someone drug me?”)

Thanks again to my awesome brother for telling me about this great site! And thank you for many hours of sleep I otherwise would never have experienced!

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