Q: I've never heard of this! What exactly is it?
A: Variable frequency audiovisual stimulation - in other words, brain yoga. It's meditation that can reboot your brain. Born in Belgium, this technology utilizes specific light and sound combinations to subconsciously communicate with specialized wavelengths of the brain to address particular wellness concerns or behavioral patterns. Guided meditation and binaural frequency sequences work together to improve common complaints such as concentration, memory retention, difficulty sleeping, lagging energy, stress, pain, or mild depression.
Q: How does it work?
A: Our brain is a giant ball of electrical impulses, and this therapy is essentially improving the communication by upgrading the wiring. Using headphones and special glasses, patterns of colored light are paired with auditory tracks often containing binaural beats to communicate very specifically with a particular wavelength (or wire) of the brain. Some programs use speech to guide you, others are only sound. All you have to do is lay back, get comfortable, close your eyes, and zone out. The headset will do the rest. Feel free to sleep – in fact, this may be the goal!
Q: What are binaural beats?
A: Binaural sounds are an emerging type of audiotherapy in which the right and left ear are exposed to two slightly different tones or frequencies. Through a process called entrainment, the brain “tunes in” to the space between these two frequencies, ultimately perceiving one new frequency. This new frequency is what communicates with the brain on an alpha, beta, theta, or delta wavelength.
- Alpha waves are associated with calmness, relaxation, and enhanced creativity
- Beta waves are associated with concentration, alertness, and analytical thinking
- Theta waves are associated with meditation, deep relaxation, and several stages of sleep
- Delta waves are associated with deep, dreamless sleep
Q: What does this help with?
A: Feeling sluggish? Having sleep issues, like difficulty falling or staying asleep? Sleeping restlessly? Do you feel like you can't concentrate or have been extra forgetful? Is your brain stuck in a negative thought loop? There are a multitude of programs available to address your specific concerns: test anxiety, memory retention, overcoming the afternoon slump, enhancing feelings of positivity, meditation, reducing brain chatter, increasing attention and focus, even weight loss and smoking cessation!
Q: But is it actually effective?
A: The concepts of light and sound therapy have been recognized since the days of the great philosophers. In recent decades, the effects of light and sound therapy as integrative mind-body training continues and has promising outcomes. According to a 2018 article published in Psychology Today,
“In addition to potentially boosting sleep-promoting hormones, binaural beats may also reduce our perceptions of pain. A 2017 study found that binaural beats used in combination with visual stimulation led to reductions in patients’ perception of acute pain. Other recent research showed binaural beats helped improve pain perception in patients with chronic pain.
Scientists are also looking at how binaural beats affect cognitive abilities, and whether this is a therapy that can be used to enhance cognitive functions such as learning, memory, focus, and creativity…Research suggests that binaural beats can help working memory and long-term memory, and also strengthen connections among networks within the brain. Attention may also be improved by using binaural beats. Studies have shown that binaural beats may affect levels of dopamine, a hormone that plays a broad role in cognition and a particular role in creative thinking. This has scientists examining the possibility that binaural beats can be used to stimulate creativity. (If you’re looking to be more creative and innovative in your thinking, keep in mind that sleep itself is a powerful tool.)”
Q: Is there anyone who cannot receive chromotherapy?
A: While audio-visual stimulation therapies are generally safe, anyone with epilepsy, seizure disorder, brain injury, mental impairments, visual photosensitivity, macular degeneration, or anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs should not receive this service. Prior approval from a medical or healthcare professional will be required for anyone with the following: pacemakers, cardiac arrythmia, heart disorders, severe anxiety, uncontrolled hyper- or hypotension, or any other severe chronic health conditions.
Q: How soon will I see improvement? How many sessions will I need?
A: This is a difficult question to answer as everyone's needs (and brains) are different. Some people feel positive effects immediately, such as after a Power Nap session, while others require a bit longer. This is essentially exercise for your brain, and just like any other muscle, it requires regular workouts. Effects are cumulative, so the more sessions you receive and the more frequently you can receive them, the greater your results will be.