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Binaural beats

Digital Drugs and Binaural Beats. Is it dangerous? How can they help you?

i-doze and Binaural Beats.

To put it simple, i-doze is an attempt to achieve comprehended medicinal “buzz” from listening to specially developed sounds and music. This new market’s suppliers of “legal drugs” state that different “digital drug recordings” may imitate different euphoric effect of marijuana, antidepressants, LCD, ecstasy, cocaine… Listen to Iggy Pop; he sang about all that.

Digital Drugs and Binaural Beats. Is it dangerous? How can they help you?

But i-doze (or idoze) is actually a pretty old “drug” in a new packing. And do not worry, my dear parents, because it’s not a real drug – it’s a binaural rhythmic therapy.

In 1839, Heinrich Wilhelm Dove discovered that two constant tones played in different frequencies in each ear make the listener perceive the sound of a fast beat. Naming this phenomenon “binaural beats” Dove helped two centuries worth of legitimate researches and, as it always happens with breathtaking empiric researches, very much assisted frauds.

Firstly, facts: binaural beat therapy had been used in clinical environment for researching auditory cycles of hearing and sleep as well as inducing different brainwave states and anxiety treatment.

However, there are more speculative usages for binaural beats: excessive dopamine and betta-endorphine secretion, faster learning paces, improved sleeping cycles, and yes, if you dig deeper into less scientific communities (such as MySpace or YouTube), you’ll find people claiming to each other, “Dude! This stuff make you feel high.”

Is it a real drug? NO.

Is there a decent chance of you reading a whole lot of hysterical comments? Yes, most likely.

Considering all actually dangerous drugs available to people I would just cross out binaural beats off the list. If you by any accident noticed that your teenager stopped listening to Tokyo Hotel or Timberland and started listening to a horrible pink noise, then it’s probably time for a mature conversation about science.

How can Binaural Beats help you?

If I told you that an insignificant stimulant may reduce your anxiety, improve your memory and attention as well as help you sleep better, you would probably get really skeptical about it. But that is exactly what binaural beats claim to do.

brain music

Binaural means “both ears”, and binaural beats are created via playing slightly different frequencies in each ear. As a result, a pulse occurs in the brain being the difference between these two frequencies. For instance, while hearing a 120 Hz frequency in one ear and a 132 Hz in the other, we get a binaural beat of 12 Hz. Your conscious mind cannot locate this beat, but you brain perceives it.

Here we will show some extracts from a conversation with Karen Newell, co-author of Living in a Mindful Universe and Dr. Eben Alexander, co-creator of Sacred Acoustics, which records binaural beats. We studied the influence of binaural beats on brain and behavior. Here are some of possible applications.

Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental states and more evidence confirms that binaural beats may significantly reduce anxiety. A recent meta-analysis indicated an average effect based on 4 researches.

Newell described these findings in her own researches. In one of them researchers asked patients to listen to binaural beats every day for no less than 20 minutes during a mental practice. After two weeks, the participants of the experiments stated about a 26% anxiety reduction, which was a rather significant change for a relatively short and simple intervention.

Newell and her team also use binaural beats recordings in hospice centers in order to check if they help with anxiety which usually occurs towards the end of life, “Let’s hope that these recordings can help stabilizing the whole process”, said Newell.

Sleep

Sleep disorders are extremely common, and insomnia affects up to 1/3 of all adults. As in case with anxiety the researches indicate that binaural beats may help with insomnia as well as help healthy people fall asleep faster.

How can they help exactly? “We suggest 4 Hz”, said Newell because it’s a border between delta- and theta-frequencies, sleep and being awake. “It’s similar to what the brain usually does when we fall asleep, which is very useful in society full of insomnia”, said Newell.

Memory and Attention

Binaural beats also, apparently, improve memory and attention processes connected to them. The very same meta-analysis, which helped discover significant influence on anxiety, also shown average effects on different kinds of memory (short-term as well as long-term). Besides that, the researches included in meta-analysis indicated that binaural beats may improve attention and concentration for healthy adults.

Spirituality

Finally, several binaural beats listeners described deep effects exceeding the boundaries of mind and body. Some of them described “sense of intuition or had a lot of visual experiences in their mental gaze” according to Newell. “Some people start to receive messages or connect with the souls of departed loved ones”, said Newell.

Newell has several assumptions about how such effects may occur. She explained that binaural beats deeply relax the body, but leave our mind awake and aware, which is known as hypnotic state (which naturally occurs between being awake and being asleep).

“When your mind thinks that your body is asleep, it, as it seems, awakens feelings beyond the five known physical senses. Thus, it actually serves as a sort of “thin curtain” between physical and metaphysical worlds”

Meditation

Newell described the effects of binaural beats, which exceed imagination and mood limits and may affect consciousness on a deeper level. They can be especially healthy for easing meditative states, especially for those who struggled meditation without any help from outside, which is exactly Newell’s case. “These were binaural beats, which actually started the mind-calming process so I could make some progress in meditation”, she said.

She also noted that experienced meditation practitioners may find these recordings useful. “Several common practitioners tell us that these recordings amplify their experience, immerse them deeper than they could have ever imagined and get them to a place that they are so familiar with much faster”, said Newell.

How could that simple beat improve meditation practice? “We think that it involves those parts of the brain that are necessary distracting our attention from neocortex, where all the thinking happens”, said Newell. “Thus, it really slows down and calms a troubled mind, so you can enter this extended state of consciousness, which has to do with meditation.”

It is noteworthy that not everybody considers binaural beats healthy for their meditative practice. “The other practitioners state that tones somehow disrupt their process, and that they aren’t needed”, said Newell. The only way to know for sure is to try.

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