Learning to train the brain and focus our attention for better performance is a constant in today's work environment. Psycho-acoustic Medicine is the science of how music and sound impacts the nervous system, psychologically and physiologically. Simply put it is how sound impacts the mind and the body. The brain has an inherent capacity to naturally synchronize the brainwave frequencies with the rhythm of external sounds, images and the activities that we do. Hence listening to beats of certain frequencies causes the brainwaves to match those frequencies. This then induces a desired state of consciousness that corresponds with specific neural activity. For instance, drumbeats used during many Hindu rituals generally beat at a steady rate of 4.5 beats per second. This consistent beat induces meditative state for the worshippers due to the brain shifting into a 4.5 beats-per-second brainwave frequency, which is a low Theta brainwave state.
Thus, certain frequencies/sound/music can stimulate the brain to produce certain neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine which are the “feel good” chemicals that helps to reduce pain and increases the feelings of pleasure. There are 5 major categories of brain waves, each corresponding to different activities.
1. Gamma State: (31 — 100Hz) This is the state of increased brain activity and active learning. Gamma state is the most opportune time to retain information.
2. Beta State: (13 — 30Hz) Where we function for most of the day, Beta State is associated with the alert mind state of the prefrontal cortex. This is a state of the “working” or "thinking mind": analytical, planning, assessing,etc.
3. Alpha State: (9 — 13Hz) Brain waves start to slow down out of thinking mind. It induces a calm, peaceful feeling such as after a yoga class or sexual intimacy or during any activity that helps relax the body and mind. We are lucid, reflective because both hemispheres of the brain are more balanced and integrated.
4. Theta State: (4 — 8Hz) This is the point where the verbal/thinking mind transitions to the meditative/visual mind. We begin to move from the planning mind to a deeper state of awareness and mindfullness (often felt as drowsy)
5. Delta State: (1—3 Hz) Tibetan monks who have been meditating for decades can reach this in an alert, wakened phase, but most of us reach this final state during deep, dreamless sleep.
It is widely accepted that the patterns of neural firing, measured in Hz, correspond with states of alertness such as focused attention, deep sleep, etc. Meditation and brain entrainment using various natural techniques enables us to move from higher frequency brain waves to lower frequency, which activates different centers in the brain. There are several different applications of this science that can be used including stress relief, addressing low mood and anxiety, enhancing memory, learning and recall due to synchronization of the left and right brain hemispheres as well as better sleep and overall well-being.