1. Unfortunately The Project Meditation Community Forum is no longer active. Although registration and the creation of new posts not possible, you can still read and search the forum...

    If you are unable to find what you are looking for within the Project Meditation Community please check out our new Blog and/or our Facebook page.

Difference Between Effects of Meditation & Entrainment?

Discussion in 'Meditation Chatter Box' started by mindsheep, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. mindsheep

    mindsheep Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I understand how meditation and entrainment are two different things. For example, you can meditate while not doing brain entrainment, and can do brain entrainment while not meditating.

    I also have read that brain entrainment (such as using lifeflow) will help you slip into a meditative state by effecting your brain waves, but entrainment does not cause meditation and does not have the same effects as meditation on its own.

    This confuses me, and here's why...

    Entrainment:
    You're brain being at certain frequencies will send your mind into a certain state, which can be beneficial as it releases certain hormones, depending on the brainwave frequency. For example 10hz brainwave would leave you relaxed and releasing serotonin and endorphons. If you use brain entrainment sounds like Lifeflow you can send yourself into these beneficial states on demand.

    In addition entrainment can cause both sides of your brain to work together and 'harmonize' (brain synchronization), which also has its own benefits, such as improving intelligence.

    Meditation
    Through meditation you can cause your brainwaves to enter a certain relaxed state.

    You have less control over which brainwave state you go into, but when in whichever state the results will be as expected for that state. For example. you could meditate into the 10hz level, which in turn releases serotonin and endorphins.

    Meditation also promote brain synchronization. So these effects\results are IDENTICAL to entrainment.

    The one benefit of meditation I've heard discussed that does not occur with entrainment is that your mind begins to release negative emotions, which if you don't resist, will be freed from your mind.

    However, this final benefit does not have any scientific backing to the best of my knowledge, which leaves me confused about how the results of meditation are that much different to entrainment.

    Is there any scientific evidence that meditation offers ADDITIONAL benefits over entrainment.
     
  2. GilesC

    GilesC Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,856
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    I think, the moment you ask for "scientific evidence" you're stepping into a minefield.

    What evidence do you want precisely from science? What would you class as a "benefit" considering different people will experience different benefits depending upon their current life situation and needs.

    As for whether meditation offeres additional benefits over entrainment, I don't think you can do such a comparison. It's like comparing chicken to an apple. Each can provide different benefits, but each can also provide nutrition.

    Entrainment will provide a balance in the brainwave activity that we can use during our everyday lives, whether conscious, unconscious or in a meditative state.

    The practice of meditation brings us to the meditative state, and entrainment may be beneficial in reaching that state or maintaining that state due to it's effects on the brainwave activity, but meditation is possible without it. In the meditative state we can BEcome at one with our true Self, letting the thoughts and worries go and recognising something that is beyond words. This is not something you would likely experience from entrainment alone.

    Each have their benefits, and each can work together as well as having some common ground in terms of benefits.

    The only evidence you need is what you experience through your practice and use of these things.

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  3. Edwin

    Edwin Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,858
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Agreed. Both the chicken and the apple taste good by themselves, but when you combine them, that's where magic happens:

    Cooks.com - Recipe - Chicken With Slivered Apple Slices

    :D
     
  4. CharlieBrown

    CharlieBrown Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Mindsheep – if I may, I think you have the same “problem” I have, which is you are attacking meditation at too much of a scientific angle. I was doing the same, given I am a mathematician, and I get confidence from numbers and proofs. However, this is something completely different: try to take a relaxed approach, just experiment and listen to your body, without looking for proofs or evidence. If it is ok for you, your body will tell you, and if it is not, it will still tell you, so no reason to be stressed. Give it a try!
    Again, my two – newbie – cents.
     
  5. GilesC

    GilesC Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,856
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Good advice Charlie Brown.

    Like yourself and Mindsheep, I'm scientifically minded and like to reason things with logic (hey, that's what you get for being a computer software developer). I do have an understanding of all these things for myself, from all my studying of quantum physics etc. (I've got some great book by Richard P Feynman and others), but attempting to put together all that understanding of the different aspects to create one unified understanding that can be put into words is another matter and not an easy one. At the end of the day, you have to step into things with a little faith and see what happens and then you can gain your own understanding from it. I personally came into the field of complementary therapy etc. (my "other" job) with the attitude of "I'll give it a go. If it works then great. If it doesn't... well, I've not lost anything". Thankfully, it worked and here I am, years down the line, still avidly persuing this path.

    ;)

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  6. seatrend8899

    seatrend8899 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Hi mindsheep, (love the name!!!!!!)

    I, too, am of the scientific guild. For the first levels of LifeFlow I used an ikea chair that supports the neck. With the comfort level plus a deficit of night sleep I tended to fail asleep during sections of the 40 minute tracks. I then switched to the bed use as the household noise levels dictated that action. Yet, of course the "failing asleep" had a higher frequency.
    My question is not one that would require expensive study aspects with control groups of people over many years but is of a simple measurement nature. This question has been with me since the first time I viewed the PM website.
    If entrainment does "lock step" the brain into a frequency then what happens when we fall asleep? If the sleep state does comprise of many naturally occurring brainwave frequencies that cycle through what would we observe via an EEG in the "LifeFlow while asleep" mode? Could it be that there is a "natural overide" where the sleep cycle brainwaves start yet there is an observed constant "medium strength" level of the entrained frequency observed throughout the session?

    Really, really wondering about this................


    thanks for any insight folks...


    shine on :) :)

    jim
     
  7. CharlieBrown

    CharlieBrown Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    I would be very - very - surprised if something like this could happen. Once the stimula is over, I am positive that the brain will do the job it has been designed for and revert back to its regular sleep patterns; I don't see how it can be "locked" into the state created by the entrainment, once the entrainment input itself is over.
     
  8. seatrend8899

    seatrend8899 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    EEG testing

    Hi CB,
    My whole post refers to measuring the brainwave action via EEG while the track is being played.


    shine on :) :)

    jim
     
  9. CharlieBrown

    CharlieBrown Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    I missed that, apologies, my fault!
     
  10. Edwin

    Edwin Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,858
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    If entrainment would be that powerful, what use would meditation be ?

    Your statement is based on the assumption that entrainment "snaps" you into the right brainwave state as if it has an "on/off switch".
    Click!, and there it is ( wouldn't that be something tho ;)) !

    If you want scientific proof, first you have to rid yourself of any assumption or expectation, as the results of the investigation may be coloured, or even simply wrong because you based it on an assumption.

    As pleasurable as a good discussion is, Project Meditation suggests you meditate with LifeFlow for best results.
    Even Project Meditation is convinced that LifeFlow works best as a meditation aid. With the exception of creative flow and optimal learning of course, but usually these are listened to when ingaged in activities that are a lot like meditation.

    With PM meditation comes first, LifeFlow second.
    With your assumption, LifeFlow/entrainment comes first, meditation second.

    should actually be the other way around:

    Is there any scientific evidence that entrainment offers ADDITIONAL benefits over meditation.

    See what I mean ? :)
     
  11. Itlandm

    Itlandm Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Mindsheep:
    I don't think there is much, if any, difference between the physiological effects of meditation and a brainwave entrainment that is performed in a state of deep inner calm. (You cannot actually force your brain into entrainment if you harbor strong disruptive feelings or concentrate deeply on something else. It is not that powerful.)

    There are however spiritual, or at least transpersonal, benefits that belong with meditation, not entrainment.

    To the paper, a circle is a circle regardless of whether it is part of a sphere. Likewise, to the body, a certain brainwave frequency is the same regardless of whether it is part of meditation.

    Brainwave entrainment draws the circle, but seeing the sphere is a further step. However, doing so does not negate the circle. It is still there and it is still circular.
     
  12. Itlandm

    Itlandm Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Jim,
    if you continue to play the sounds that induce entrainment, they will influence the brainwave patterns during sleep. There is a widely circulated quote from Dr. Arthur Hastings, in a paper called "Tests of the Sleep Induction Technique", about this.
    "We were able to test the effects of the sleep tape on brain waves with an EEG machine through the courtesy of the researchers at the Langely-Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute, part of the University of California Medical School in San Francisco. Dr. Joe Kaniya, Director of the Psychophysiology of Consciousness Laboratory, monitored the brain-wave frequencies of one subject as he listened to the sleep tape.

    The chart recording showed a typical sleep onset pattern: initial alpha waves, then a slowing of the brain waves with sleep spindles, and finally a pattern of stage 2 and 3 sleep brain waves in the low theta range . . . the patterns in the various stages suggested that the tape was influencing the subject’s state.
    "

    It is because of this effect that I don't recommend starting a long session of alpha as you go to bed, because it may interfere with your natural and much deeper delta sleep which occurs mostly in the beginning of the night. It will not halt your natural sleep cycle completely, in my experience, but it is still probably better to only have a shorter track if you use it for falling asleep.
     
  13. mindsheep

    mindsheep Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thanks for everyone's answers, I'm learning more about this everyday :)

    No I haven't made that assumption and recognize entrainment's role in assisting meditation (not causing it) - check the second paragraph of my original post.

    I've read a few posts you've written before on that early on so know not to make that mistake ;)

    I understand this, as entrainment simply helps make meditation easier. But what I don't understand is how the two actually differ because the scientific research and information I've seen both discuss that the two effect brain waves, and essentially have the same effect.

    Entrainment causes brain wave changes, release of good hormones, brain synchronization, as does meditation.

    As I mentioned before the difference between the two seems to be that with meditation...

    "...your mind begins to release negative emotions, which if you don't resist, will be freed from your mind.

    However, this final benefit does not have any scientific backing to the best of my knowledge, which leaves me confused about how the results of meditation are that much different to entrainment."


    Other ones people have mentioned are being at one with themselves, spiritual feelings etc. But the differences are quite abstract and vague and I'm yet to have found a concrete answer on how the effects are different without it being opinion or hearsay.

    Not that I'm attacking entrainment or meditation, I've found a lot of supporting scientific evidence for both being very beneficial (and no evidence to suggest otherwise).

    It doesn't really matter to me which way round the question is, I mainly just want to know the difference. So I'll rephrase:

    How are the effects and benefits of entrainment vs. meditation different?

    I KNOW there is a difference, I'm just not sure what that difference is and was wondering what is coming out of the scientific community on that.

    The more I look at scientific studies the more similar the effects of entrainment and meditation become.
     
  14. Edwin

    Edwin Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,858
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    You are right, both meditation and brain entrainment aim for the same goal.

    Traditional meditation is designed to trancend the mind, ultimately leading to enlightenment. However! Some people meditate up to 30 years and haven't transcended the mind at all. Even the brother of the Buddha took 30 years to reach enlightenment. There are a ton of meditation technique's out there, and not all are equally effective. And it is easy to get distracted by mind, to lose yourself in a daydream.

    Entrainment does the exact same. However! Entrainment is quite useless when the mind keeps getting stimulated by external sources. Listening to it in busy environments like workplace, in the street and while actively engaged in activities has little effect.
    When sitting still ( not even meditating yet ) or when doing a hobby like drawing, painting, sculpturing, miniature trains or whatever, it can be quite effective. This is for instance why there are mandala's Mandala - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia .

    I hope my explanation has been of help to you :)

    I don't think scientific proof is possible here. One can research the mind, study it and make conclusions based on it, psychology is based on that, but it is still impossible to understand the mind. The only way you can research this for yourself, is to try it: when a disturbing memory or thought comes up during meditation, you let it go. After that, it shouldn't come back anymore.

    In a sense, meditation is a scientific method that makes very unscientific things happen. The very thing that meditation aims for can't be described by the human mind, and science is based on how the human mind works. I sometimes wonder how an alien would view "science" compared to us :p.

    Same problem.
    A few years ago, a scientist found the exact hormone responsible for falling in love. He has a full physical understanding of what "falling in love" is, and what the hormone does to the body. So, the reporter asked this man if this changed the way he looked at falling in love, as the scientific proof that falling in love was chemical, not some spiritual thing.
    He answered " What do you mean, not spiritual ? The way I experience it isn't different ! Yes I know what causes these feelings, but that doesn't change the fact that I feel them !"

    Describing feelings is the most unscientific thing there is. How can you translate a feeling into words without losing the beauty of the feeling in the process ?
    You can only experience these feelings yourself. And in the process, you might come across some mind-shattering realisations, changing the way you percieve the world for the rest of your life.

    Modern day science is based mostly of the discoveries of Albert Einstein.
    How is it that Albert Einstein, who's understanding of the universe was so deep that he was able to make a formula that explained it all, still believed in God ? That his faith only deepened after having made the formula E = MC² instead of destroy his faith ? Believing in God is rather unscientific right ? However, his findings in science enlightened him.

    Check out this page : Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955 CE) | Rational Vedanta
    Especially the bottom of the page, with quotes on religion and time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
  15. GilesC

    GilesC Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,856
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    I would say you've almost answered your own question there.

    In terms of brainwaves; the physical nature of electrical impulses firing across the synapses of the brain; entrainment and meditation will offer great similarity i.e. changes of the states of the brain, just as food, sleep, exercise etc. can to differing degrees.

    Practically, you can use brainwave entrainment whilst being completely awake and doing things e.g. I could listen to the Creative Flow track whilst I'm doing my work, whereas for meditation, it's no so easy to do at the same time as other things as we are aiming to enter and remain in those deeper states.

    So, as I see it...

    Entrainment can help to "re-wire" the brain, and allow us to get to different states of brainwave activity more easily.
    Meditation allows us to get into the different states (perhaps assisted by entrainment), where we become more "aware". This awareness is not necessarily related to any physiologically measurable thing (it's possible to be completely aware whilst awake as well as during meditation) but the quietened state of mind assists us to get back to this awareness. In vedic teachings this awareness is called the Aham, also known as the "I am" or True Self. Having awareness of what we are and what we are not, thus leads to progression of enlightenment. I call it "progression" because we take it in small steps... becoming aware of what we are not... and thus allowing us to deal with those things ("issues" or "beliefs" if you like) that make us believe we are those things.

    So, in summary...

    Entrainment is a tool to "re-wire" the brain for different brainwave states.
    The practitice of Meditation is a tool to take ourselves into different physiological states, to the point where we aim reach the "meditative state" of complete awareness.
    Awareness is where we become at one with the True Self, recognising that thoughts, memories, feelings etc. are not our True Self, but are merely creations of the mind. (*1)

    (*1) When the True Self (Aham) becomes attached to things in the creation (Kara in Vedic teachings) (and I don't mean creation as in religious creationism, but creation as in physical, mental, emotional things), this creates the Ahankara, known to us in the West as the Ego. Ego is the attachment of the True Self to the Creation.

    As for any scientific evidence of this... I guess we'll have to wait until science can measure beyond the creation. ;)

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  16. oneflewover

    oneflewover Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Originally posted by Edwin.........

    'Modern day science is based mostly of the discoveries of Albert Einstein.
    How is it that Albert Einstein, who's understanding of the universe was so deep that he was able to make a formula that explained it all, still believed in God ? That his faith only deepened after having made the formula E = MC² instead of destroy his faith ? Believing in God is rather unscientific right ? However, his findings in science enlightened him.

    Check out this page : Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955 CE) | Rational Vedanta
    Especially the bottom of the page, with quotes on religion and time.[/quote]'




    This brings to mind a quote of Einsteins, which i think is relevant to both sides of this debate :

    'Science without religion (faith) is lame. Religion (faith) without science is blind' ( my italics)

    His science was of the first and third person it seems ;)

    This quote may be included in your link Edwin...... Ive just checked and it is ! But worth quoting twice i think :)

    Graham _/\_
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009

Share This Page