I have discussed these findings with my sister, and two nice which are professionals in the fields of psychology, and medicine respectively (my sister and older nice have vast experience on the psychology arena, and my younger nice is a pediatrician), and they all agree this therapy can be of a great benefit applied in conjunction with traditional self-improvement programs.
Like yoga, tai chi is a series of self-paced, flowing body movements and breathing techniques. Although the movements have their roots in martial arts, they are meant to calm the mind and condition the body — making tai chi an excellent choice for stress relief. According to recent studies, this mind-body practice has many health benefits: Tai chi can help build bone density, lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and even ease symptoms of conditions like heart failure, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. Another advantage is that once you learn the moves, you can practice them anywhere and at any time — making it an easy activity for people of all ages to incorporate into everyday life.
As with meditation, mindful exercise requires being fully engaged in the present moment, paying attention to how your body feels right now, rather than your daily worries or concerns. In order to “turn off” your thoughts, focus on the sensations in your limbs and how your breathing complements your movement, instead of zoning out or staring at a TV as you exercise. If you’re walking or running, for example, focus on the sensation of your feet touching the ground, the rhythm of your breath, and the feeling of the wind against your face. If you are resistance training, focus on coordinating your breathing with your movements and pay attention to how your body feels as you raise and lower the weights. And when your mind wanders to other thoughts, gently return your focus to your breathing and movement.
“Chronic stress,” however, is not so easily resolved. This type of stress is associated more commonly with negative health concerns. Chronic stress results when there are constant multiple stressors or major life stressors present (4). Money, work, and the economy were the most commonly reported factors contributing to chronic stress in the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2011 Stress in America™ survey (3). Additional significant stressors include relationships, family responsibilities, family and personal health problems, job stability, and personal safety (3). Major events, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, and moving also can produce chronic stress.
It might seem obvious that you’d know when you’re stressed, but many of us spend so much time in a frazzled state that we’ve forgotten what it feels like when our nervous systems are in balance: when we’re calm yet still alert and focused. If this is you, you can recognize when you’re stressed by listening to your body. When you’re tired, your eyes feel heavy and you might rest your head on your hand. When you’re happy, you laugh easily. And when you’re stressed, your body lets you know that, too. Get in the habit of paying attention to your body’s clues.
Stress: In one randomized controlled trial with 108 participants, a single session of alpha and delta stimulation resulted in significantly less anxiety in surgical patients. Another session of theta stimulation resulted in improvement in certain measures of stress. Stimulation with certain frequencies of alpha and beta were reported to provide the most significant benefit for those who are stressed.
Mood: While brainwave entrainment may not be a great option for depression, particularly in the slower frequency ranges, beta entrainment may improve certain measures of mood. Additionally it is important to consider the fact that many people experience detrimental changes in mood as a result of heightened stress and anxiety. Since brainwave entrainment has been shown to improve stress and relaxation, overstressed individuals may experience a simultaneous mood improvement.
While it is no doubt that the technology does create changes in a person’s brain waves, whether there are valid scientific benefits resulting from those changes is up for debate. Self-reports from those that have engaged in various types of brainwave entrainment have made claims such as: the software helped treat my depression or improved my mental focus. These claims are often vague and could be subjective and/or a placebo effect.
Transparent Corp's Research Area is arguably the most comprehensive resource for collated brainwave entrainment research. Update: the main research area on Transparent Corp's website is currently being updated, so it is offline. However, you can still access their peer-reviewed research paper as a PDF here: “A Comprehensive Review of the Psychological Effects of Brainwave Entrainment“.
Stress is a significant individual and public health problem that is associated with numerous physical and mental health concerns. It is estimated that between 75% and 90% of primary care physician visits are caused by stress-related illnesses (2). Cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety, immune system suppression, headaches, back and neck pain, and sleep problems are some of the health problems associated with stress (4,8). These conditions are some of the most burdensome health problems in the United States based on health care costs, the number of people affected, and the impact on individual lives. Extreme levels of stress were reported by 22% of respondents from the 2011 Stress in America™ survey, and 39% reported that their level of stress had increased during the past year (3). More than 80% of the survey respondents at the WorldatWork Conference in 2012 reported that stress moderately or significantly contributed to their health care costs (6).
Many of the long-term side-effects of menopause are associated with a deficiency in magnesium. These include heart disease, osteoporosis, weakness, weight gain, and feeling cold all the time. When you take a magnesium supplement, it can help relieve many of these problems and help your body balance your hormones. Magnesium can boost your energy by helping to convert the T4 thyroid hormone into the more active and bioavailable T3. It can also help the liver reduce levels of cortisol, adrenaline, and excessive estrogen.
I definitely NEED (& can feel a difference mentally) Gamma the most. Beta and Alpha do better my processing. Theta waves are TERRIBLE! My normal symptoms increase when listening to those frequencies! Delta has been helpful for me around nighttime. It has helped my sleep on occasion. *Note: Do not listen to higher frequencies (Gamma, Beta) before bedtime! They will keep you very alert.
It might surprise you to learn that biological stress is a fairly recent discovery. It wasn't until the late 1950s that endocrinologist Hans Selye first identified and documented stress. Symptoms of stress existed long before Selye, but his discoveries led to new research that has helped millions cope with stress. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 ways to relieve stress.
You’ve probably heard people talk about the power of “positive thinking.” While some might tell you that it’s based on faith or strong belief, research has shown that there’s a third ingredient that helps you get that frame of mind – Alpha brainwaves. The rhythm produced by this brainwave – especially those that hit the frequency of 10 Hz – is said to help in the enhancement of one’s mood and thoughts, enabling one to experience and enjoy a positive state of mind.
Really great stuff here, man. Well done! Without taking anything away from the article it would have been great to have under one “roof” similar information about hypnotherapy and subliminals. I invested quite a lot in buying binaural cd’s but after reading your material I think that for short term effects isochronic tones rather than binaurals are the technology to go for now. For longer lasting and possibly permanent effects I’m not sure whether I should go for hypnosis or subliminals (or both). An article as well written and comprehensive as yours but focusing on hypnosis vs subliminals would have completed the circle for me. The stuff I’ve read so far on binaurals vs isochronics hasn’t really done it for me. Any chance you could give it a shot?
Hello Jason, this is an unusually thoughtful discussion. Thank you for all your expertise and your kind manner of presenting and moderating it. I’m wondering if you have any experience with this: ever since I’ve been exposed to theta wave music, without headphones, I have found it irritating. And this is in spite of the fact that when I was first handed a CD by someone I knew well and trusted he was so confident I’d love it It didn’t occur to either of us that I might not. This happened again recently, which is about 10 years later, when I heard it playing overhead at an acupuncture clinic. I felt restless and even irritated, unable to zone out, which is unusual for me, during the treatment. I realized that the quality of my irritation was similar to what I’d felt listening to that CD a decade ago.So I asked if it was theta wave music and she said yes. The acupuncturist said that some people, but a vast minority, really dislike the music. She said that the few people who dislike it are not simply neutral, but actively dislike it. And she also said, but most people like it a lot. I’m just wondering what kind of factors might be present that would make a person feel so irritated by this music?
Also, don’t you think that the inherent hemispheric synchronization using binaural beats might be a positive benefit within itself? While it’s true that the huge majority of us use both sides of our brains most of the time, it’s also true that many of us are a bit polarized to one side or the other in general, or when doing a particular kind of activity or focus. I’ve found stimulating a more equally and consistently whole brain activity has it’s own benefits other than the entrainment aspect.