What is brainwave entrainment?

How brainwave entrainment works in hypnosis

Entrainment is a principle in physics that says that when two or more rhythmically moving objects are within range of each other they will tend to synchronize their cycles. The effect was first observed by the scientist Christiaan Huygens more than 300 years ago when he put two unsynchronized clocks together on a wall and noticed that after a while their pendulums fell into perfect synchronization.

The same principle applies to phenomena such as brainwaves. We know that the electrical activity in the brain can be measured in terms of waves with particular frequencies – normal active daily tasks fall into the Alpha range between 8-12 Hz (cycles per second) while deep sleep occurs in the Delta range below 3 Hz. When the brain is presented with a rhythmic stimulus, such as a drum beat, it will tend to shift in vibration and attempt to match that beat. The electrical impulses of the brain synchronize with the beat – a process known as the frequency following response, or FFR.

The principle of entrainment can be used in hypnosis to mechanically induce a particular frequency or state of mind in the subject. This is commonly done with brainwave entrainment software that produces binaural beats or tones of a particular frequency. These tones and beats can be played through speakers, either as pure tones and beats or embedded in relaxing music. The subject’s brainwaves will then “follow” the beats and attempt to synchronize with them, thus moving the subject’s mind to the required state.


Hypnotechniques.com recommends Neuroprogrammer brainwave entrainment software.

Related articles:

Brainwaves – defining the different frequencies

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One Response to What is brainwave entrainment?

  1. Amanda April 23, 2010 at 5:07 pm #

    Brainwave entrainment is also very effective when using flashing lights along with tones! For more on the physiology of entrainment and why it works, see: http://www.mindalive.com/articleone.htm

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