Binaural Beats, Concepts
The term binaural beats can be a bit confusing, if you separate the word out and use the word bi, which means two, and then the word aural which deals with hearing, you come up with a two tone sound that is heard by the brain. Binaural beats are being used to effect brainwaves for not only relaxation techniques, but also to understand how what we hear, and our brain reacts, affects our lives.
Binaural beats in a more technical definition are the auditory processing of sounds that arise in the brain without any physical stimuli. Or, how the brain waves react to sound, releasing endorphins, or other hormones that affect the total body. The brain reacts to binaural beats without any physical attributes or physical stimuli. And this fact is what makes it so interesting and what is causing researchers to spend time and money to find out exactly how the brain reacts to sound.
In essence, a separate tone is given to each ear, and then the brainwave reaction is studied. The increase in alpha brain waves to certain tones that are heard can actually allow a person to remain alert, and yet still be relaxed. This effect is great for healing, dealing with particular diseases, and reducing stress.
It's interesting to note that the brain reacts to the two tones combined, instead of reacting to this single tone in each ear. The tones normally used are between 1000 Hz and 1500 Hz in order to affect the brain. The difference between the two tones needs to be lower than 30 Hz. Without this distinct difference, and yet close relation, the brain does not react to binaural beats. Research is continuing in order to understand why the tones must be so close, and why if there further apart the brain doesn't react.
Most research is done in a controlled environment, allowing researchers to set the tones to exact measurements. The brain waves are then measured as the tone is going on, which allows the effect of binaural beats to be measured. While increasing alpha brain waves with certain tones affect a relaxed and alert brain, other tones can offer the patient or research patient very unpleasant conditions. Careful study into both increasing alpha waves and decreasing alpha waves and the absence of physical sources, is what the study of binaural beats is all about.
While people are realizing that stress has a direct effect on their lives, there may come a time were binaural beats are used in order to relax people and avoid the physical reactions of stress. It's a proven fact that increasing the alpha brain waves through binaural beats induces a relaxed state, and any time that we can be alert and relax, it's a good thing.