Research has been conducted into Brain Wave Entrainment since the 1950’s. However, in recent years there has been a fair amount of research, development and publications dealing with issues within this area. Resulting research has involved development with various types of Brain Wave Entrainment, including: touch stimulation, audio stimulation, visual stimulation, audio-visual stimulation and electrical stimulation. However, for the purpose of this blog, we are looking at the visual brain wave entrainment technique.
What is Brain Wave Entrainment
When the brain encounters a stimulation it produces brain wave activity. With continued stimulation the brain wave generation adjusts to the nature of the stimulation. The brain wave generation entrains, i.e. speeds up or slows down, increases in amplitude or decreases in amplitude, to the match the same frequency or intensity of the stimulation. It is this brain wave frequency following effect to the rhythmic stimulation (direct response to stimulant) that is called “brain wave entrainment” or BWE”. By causing the brain wave to entrain, or adjust to a rhythmic stimulant, you can cause a shift in the frequency of the dominant brain wave, thereby changing the brain function. It should be noted that entrainment, or the matching of a reaction to some type of rhythmic stimulant, is a powerful and universal phenomenon throughout nature and is not limited just to brain activity. However, through use of modern devices or technologies, such as LED based visual stimulation, we are now taking advantage of the entrainment knowledge to address issues of a medical and/or social nature. It should be noted that, research and clinical literature regularly support the use of BWE, including visual entrainment, for use with a wide range of disorders. Currently known affected disorders include: anxiety, depression, seasons affective disorder, attention deficit disorder, insomnia and posttraumatic stress disorder. As well, BWE has proven to be effective as a stress management technique, relaxation tool and pain relief tool.
How can Visual BWE Resolve Issues
Our brains produce four different brain wave states: Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta.
Person Sleeping: produce large amounts of low frequency Delta
Person Awake: produce mostly Alpha & Beta, some Theta and limited Delta
Person Meditating: produce increased Alpha and some Theta, limited Beta & Delta
Person Alert: produce higher frequency Beta.
Due to various medical or psychological reasons, there are individuals that have issues producing the correct brain state or the correct level of brain wave activity within a brain state, for the situations encountered.
Many people with sleep disorders do not produce the required level of low frequency Delta and Theta. Then when they sleep they produce bursts of higher frequency Alpha, i.e. Alpha Intrusion Sleep Disorder. However, staged pre-programmed Delta stimulation throughout the sleep cycle could bring the person into the correct state without the use of heavy drugs.
People who are overly aggressive or unable to relax, frequently have issues with producing high levels of high frequency Beta. Visual BWE could be used to stimulate the brains to produce increased Theta and Alpha, creating a relaxation state.
People who are overly passive or have Attention Deficit Disorder, frequently have issue with producing too much slower frequency Theta waves. This could be resolved by stimulating the brain to produce increased levels of low range Beta thereby creating mental focus.
Depression, seasonal disorder and mood disorders could be dealt with by stimulating the production of mid range Beta.
So from all the research to-date, we conclude that brain stimulation is a powerful tool for resolving various brain related issues.
How does Visual BWE work
With a better understanding of BWE, let us now look at Visual BWE.
Current testing has involved an individual sitting in a comfortable chair, while wearing what looks like sun glasses, with embedded LED light units. The sun glass type head set is then hooked up to a computerized light control unit. The LEDs within the head set are triggered to gently flicker light with incessantly changing patterns made up of: altering specific pulse rates, altering specific colours and for altering defined periods of time. The LED lights flash towards the individuals closed eye lids. The flashing of the LED lights, towards the eyes sends signals via the eyes to the brain, the brain gets stimulated resulting in an adjustment in brain wave activity. With continued stimulation the brain wave then entrains, i.e. speeds up or slows down, increases in amplitude or decreases in amplitude, to the same frequency or intensity of the flashing light pulses from the LED units. An example of this is when the LED flash rate speeds up, the brain waves tends to speed up, and when the flash rate slows down, the brain wave tends to slow down.
But Where Do We Go From Here
We have seen that development and experimentation has been performed with an individual person Visual BWE device. This unit can be used to reduce, or possibly resolve, a wide range of issues including stress and insomnia. But where else can this technique be used. Let us consider using this system when creating classrooms in a school for children with developmental issues. Here the entire class room lighting system, formerly florescent lighting, could utilize a remote controlled Visual BWE LED lighting system. In this way, the teacher could adjust the system on demand to not only better control the class, but also help the children work through various developmental stages. Or how about dealing with adults with emotional issues, such as within a psychiatric department at a local hospital. Or even for use is maximum security prison ward, to create a calming or submissive stage with the inmates.
Basically, Visual BWE and the use of LED lighting system to resolve medical andor social issues, is in the infancy stage of development. However, there has been many great achievements to-date. And there is an extensive amount of positive information available to justify continuing the development.