LISTENING TO BINAURAL BEATS TO ENHANCE THE EFFECTS OF RESTRICTED ENVIRONMENTAL STIMULATION THERAPY
F. Holmes Atwater,Research Director, The Monroe Institute
Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) offers both physiological benefits and access to propitious states of consciousness. Listening to binaural beats in a REST-like environment gives rise to an EEG frequency-following response (FFR) which theoretically may enhance these effects or engender similar psychophysiological state changes. A critical point, however, is that a FFR to binaural beats in archetypal brain-wave frequencies has not been comprehensively demonstrated using apropos evoked-potential EEG protocols.
A study was designed t determine if a 7 Hz (theta) binaural beat would engender a 7 Hz FFR and if a 16 Hz (beta) binaural beat would engender a 16 Hz FFR. This study used a REST-like environment and multiple-subject trials designed to objectively verify a FFR to theta and beta binaural-beat stimuli with an appropriate evoked-potential protocol. Significant increases in 7 Hz (p=<.001) and 16 Hz (p=.007) EEG amplitudes during binaural-beat stimuli periods provided evidence of a FFR to the binaural-beat stimuli. Binaural beats appear to influence consciousness by providing FFR information to the brainstem’s reticular activating system (RAS).
The RAS regulates arousal states, attentional focus, and levels of awareness by stimulating the thalamus and cortex. The FFR information includes the character, quality and traits of consciousness represented by the wave pattern of the stimulus binaural beats.