As Dave Siever at Mind Alive in Canada describes it: “Throughout the natural universe, there is a tendency toward rhythmic alignment or entrainment. Striking an “A” tuning fork will cause other nearby “A” tuning forks to vibrate. Grandfather clocks placed in the same room will tend to swing their pendulums in sync with the dominant or largest pendulum. Crowds of people at a concert will tend to clap in unison to the beat of the music. Persons sitting close together will begin to synchronize their breathing rhythms. These are all examples of entrainment— a powerful and universal natural phenomenon.
The human brain also tends to follow rhythm. The electrical activity (EEG) of our brain is rhythmic and seen as “brain waves.” When we listen to music with a fast beat, our brain waves tend to speed up. When we listen to music with a slow beat, our brain waves slow down. It is also known that flashing lights can affect brain waves. Flashing a light steadily into the eye will stimulate the brain and cause brain waves to entrain to the same frequency as the flashing light— that is, the amplitude of the brain waves at the same frequency as the flashing light will increase. Flashing the light faster will increase the amplitude of higher frequency or faster brain waves, whereas flashing the light slower will increase the amplitude of lower frequency or slower brain waves. This frequency following effect of brain waves in response to rhythmic stimulation is called “brain wave entrainment” (BWE).
Audio-visual entrainment (AVE) refers to the use of flashing lights and rhythmic tones to purposefully entrain brain waves toward some desired rhythm or frequency. By stimulating the brain with flashing lights in special eye glasses, and by pulsing tones through headphones, it is possible to shift the frequency of the dominant brain waves either higher or lower; thereby changing brain function.
As the AVE frequency changes, so does the frequency in the brain – it’s that easy! For example, our Feeling Better sessions re-stabilize brainwaves by suppressing left frontal alpha while boosting right frontal alpha to normal levels.
When using AVE, you get drawn into the present moment and let go of thoughts relating to your daily hassles, hectic schedules, paying bills, worries, threats or anxieties and stop the unhealthy mental “chatter.” Dissociation involves a “disconnection” of self from thoughts and body awareness, as is experienced during deep meditation. Dissociation begins in four to eight minutes from properly applied AVE.
Your body is calmed, your breathing becomes rhythmic, your hands warm and your muscles relax.
People with depressed mood have low levels of serotonin and norepinephrine. AVE boosts brain levels of serotonin, and norepinephrine to improve overall well-being.
CBF is associated with many forms of mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, attentional problems, behavior disorders and impaired cognitive function. CBF tends to lower as we age, which often causes cognitive decline. People experiencing depressed mood usually have lower levels of CBF in the left frontal and prefrontal lobes.”