What is Brainwave Entrainment?
"Brainwave entrainment" refers to the brain's electrical response to rhythmic sensory stimulation, such as pulses of sound or light.
When the brain is given a stimulus, through the ears, eyes or other senses, it emits an electrical charge in response, called a Cortical Evoked Response (shown below). These electrical responses travel throughout the brain to become what you "see and hear." This activity can be measured using sensitive electrodes attached to the scalp.
When the brain is presented with a rhythmic stimulus, such as a drum beat for example, the rhythm is reproduced in the brain in the form of these electrical impulses. If the rhythm becomes fast and consistent enough, it can start to resemble the natural internal rhythms of the brain, called brainwaves. When this happens, the brain responds by synchronizing its own electric cycles to the same rhythm. This is commonly called the Frequency Following Response (or FFR):
FFR can be useful because brainwaves are very much related to mental state. For example, a 4 Hz brainwave is associated with sleep, so a 4 Hz sound pattern would help reproduce the sleep state in your brain. The same concept can be applied to nearly all mental states, including concentration, creativity and many others.
Brainwave entrainment has over 75 years of solid research behind it. See a Short History Of Brainwave Entrainment.
What is Entrainment?
Entrainment is a principle of physics. It is defined as the synchronization of two or more rhythmic cycles. The principles of entrainment are universal, appearing in chemistry, neurology, biology, pharmacology, medicine, astronomy and more.
CASE IN POINT: Try striking a tuning fork, then putting a second tuning fork next to it. The second tuning fork starts vibrating at the exact same frequency as the first.