If you suffer from anxiety, then you know just how difficult it can be to function optimally. Anxiety disorders are different from normal feelings of anxiousness, nervousness, or even fear. The term itself refers to a wide array of psychiatric conditions that cause heightened anticipation of future concerns. This usually leads to tension and avoidance behavior.
The most common anxiety disorders among US adults include social anxiety, specific phobias, panic disorder, separation anxiety, agoraphobia, and generalized anxiety. Research also shows that men are less likely to suffer from anxiety-related disorders than women.
Using binaural beats for anxiety has shown promising results in the treatment of these conditions. While it may sound like some new-age fad, the phenomenon of using trance-like music for its healing effects has been around for millennia.
What exactly are binaural beats? How does it work to treat anxiety? Is it effective? Here’s everything you need to know.
Binaural Beats for Anxiety – an Overview
Binaural beats therapy is a sound wave phenomenon that uses rhythmic, repetitive, and surreal sound frequencies that pulsate deep inside the brain to put you into a meditative state. A Prussian physicist named Heinrich Dove discovered the technique in 1839.
The repetitive chanting of Tibetan monks and the trance-inducing drum beats of tribal shamanic cultures have proven to have powerful healing effects. It has everything to do with binaural beats or brainwave entrainment (BWE), as it is also called.
It works by sending two different sound frequencies to each ear simultaneously. This mathematical difference triggers the brain to create a third “phantom” sound.
If you send a 310 Hz sound wave in one ear and a 315 Hz frequency in the other, the brain processes them in a way that results in hearing a single 5 Hz sound. The same applies if you listen to a 410 Hz frequency in one ear and a 400 Hz sound in the other. Your brainwaves will interpret them as a single 10 Hz sound.
Does Science Back the Use of Binaural Beats?
The short answer is – yes, they are. Numerous scientific studies have been conducted over the last 20 years to investigate the mental and physical health impacts of using binaural beats for anxiety and the treatment of other brain-related disorders. Here’s a list of some notable ones.
- According to this 2015 study, BWE has positive effects on cognition, which plays an important role in increasing focus, problem-solving, and learning ability
- This 2013 study shows that binaural beats also enhance creativity, meditation, relaxation, and other dopamine-driven processes
- The results of this 2001 study prove its effectiveness in the treatment of anxiety
- These 20 peer-reviewed studies have shown BWE to be an effective therapeutic tool for people suffering from stress, migraines/headaches, pain, PMS, and cognitive functioning deficits
- This 1989 study shows that it can help people with substance abuse disorders like alcoholism overcome their addiction
There are several other studies out there that scientifically prove just how effective binaural beats are in the treatment of various mental conditions, as well as enhancing creative, cognitive, and learning ability among individuals.
Types of Binaural Beats
There are five main categories of binaural beats. Each category works to provide a different source of treatment.
1. 41 Hz – 100 Hz Gamma
Gamma brainwaves have the highest frequency of all the categories that exist. These are commonly used by monks, yogis, and experienced meditators to enhance mental processing power, memory, and consciousness.
If you’re actively involved in solving a problem, and you need peak concentration to achieve it, listening to gamma binaural beats will help your brain rise to the occasion.
2. 15 Hz – 40 Hz Beta
Have you ever stopped to think what it is about that morning cup of Joe that leaves you feeling alert, engaged, and highly-focused? The answer to this has everything to do with Beta brainwaves.
If you want to enhance your cognitive ability without relying on Adderall, caffeine, or other nootropics, listening to beta binaural beats works just as well.
3. 9 Hz – 14 Hz Alpha
Brainwaves, in this spectrum, create a state of inner peace and relaxation. This range of binaural beats is extremely powerful in reducing anxiety, stress, and tension.
It helps to quiet the mind and evokes feelings of calmness and tranquility. If you suffer from anxiety and are looking to let go of fear, stress, and nervous tension, listening to binaural beats in this range will help you do just that.
4. 5 Hz – 8 Hz Theta
Brainwaves of this frequency have long been considered the entryway to the subconscious mind. Your brain produces these waves when you’re sleeping, although they tend to be dominant when you’re in a deeply relaxed or meditative state.
Listening to binaural beats of this frequency range is a common technique that many hypnotherapists use to tap into their patients’ subconscious mind to heal the core issues they may be grappling with.
If you’re looking to do some deep inner work and even change the limiting beliefs at the core of who you are, this frequency of binaural beats is a highly-effective treatment for that.
5. 1.5 Hz – 4 Hz Delta
Delta brainwaves are produced in dreamless sleep, although it is also experienced by advanced monks and yogis when they cross over to the realm of deep meditation.
Listening to binaural beats of this frequency not only works to repair psychological and emotional trauma, but they’ve also proven to be quite effective in reducing stress and anxiety.
The Ultimate Health and Wellness Hack
Anyone can use binaural beats for anxiety and to reap all the other benefits that come with them. There are several different online resources available where you can download the specific beats you want to listen to. Experiment with different ones to find what works best for you.
When you’re ready, find a quiet place with no disruptions, sit or lie down, and use noise-canceling headphones for maximum effects. If you don’t have those, regular earbuds will suffice.
Your brain needs at least 7-10 minutes to sync with the beats (entrain) and 30 minutes on average to experience the effects. Do this every day for at least one month during your mediation time to feel the impact.
Are you looking for ways to sleep better? Check out our blog to find out how binaural beats can help you do just that.