The science behind brainLight

Background – How did the brainLight-Systems come about?

Neuroscientific research has shown that the brain’s neurological processes are so closely connected to our thoughts that the neurons not only “know“ in advance how we are about to act or decide but exert an unconscious, positive influence. Our mind and consciousness are integral elements of our physical being. The mind constitutes the output of evolved neural systems to such an extend that the enormous plasticity and adaptability of the human brain, is arguably the most important discovery made by modern neuroscientists.

The brain’s activity is able to adapt spontaneously to outside frequencies, producing its own frequency to match the incoming impulses. Deep relaxation can ensue, breathing slows down and becomes more even, muscles relax. As the brain waves begin to subside and balance out, a person’s capacity to focus and concentrate is raised: the mind is more receptive to the processes of learning. When the left and right hemispheres of the brain begin to work in concert with each other, even the most difficult problems are understood more easily.

There are two important known scientific facts:
1. Rhythmic repetition alters brain wave frequency.
2. Pulses of light at decreasing intervals induce relaxation.

In the 1960s, Robert Monroe developed the theory of FFR, the “Frequency Following Response“, in the USA. FFR theory states that the activity of the human brain is entrained by sustained acoustic or optical signals to which it is subject, so that its electrical waves eventually begin to follow the wave pattern, or frequency, of the/said signals. According to anthropologist Michael Harner, researchers studying shamanistic rituals found that monotonous drumming induced theta brainwaves during initiation ceremonies. The implication is that the sound of a drum being beaten in a certain acoustic frequency and with rhythmic and continuous repetition will cause brainwave frequency to alter. The same applies to light pulses at a fixed frequency perceived by the eye.

Modern research exploring the effects of rhythmical light and sound began in the 1930s. At that time, scientists discovered that the brain’s waves followed the rhythm of stimulant flashes of light. The process is called coupling. For example, when a stroboscope is directed towards the eye at a frequency of 10 Hz, an EEG will show that the subject’s brainwave frequency has also adjusted to this 10 Hz frequency. It has been known since antiquity that both phenomena can be combined to induce a trance state. The traditional rhythmical drumming, rattling, clapping or singing in combination with flickering light from a camp fire, candles or torches etc. has now been replaced in the modern technical world, with microelectronics, revolutionizing said trance inducing knowledge.

Microelectronics meant that the time was right in the 1980s for the first generation of today’s brainLight-Systems. The brainLight equipment with its rich combination of sounds, chords and frequencies can take the user into states which differ according to the choice of program, ranging from gentle relaxation through a meditative state to heightened consciousness.

The current generation of these brainLight-Systems adapts to the frequencies of music played in synchrony, to achieve an increased intensity and greater therapeutic usefulness.

The electrical activity of the human brain operates in four brainwave regions and can be measured by EEG (electroencephalogram). The neurons in the brain are discharged electrochemically and an electromagnetic field is generated at oscillation frequencies between 1 and 40 Hz. The numbers represent the oscillations per second. The electrical activity as a whole is what constitutes the brainwaves. In daily life, the rapid beta waves are predominant. The user of the brainLight-System comes to experience the slower types: the alpha, theta or even delta waves. When the neurons are oscillating at these slower frequencies, the body regenerates and the mind is freed in the best possible way for learning.

The technology used in the systems for children’s learning and relaxation is state of the art in neurotechnology. It is based not only on more than 23 years of brainLight experience in the field of relaxation technology but also on the knowledge and skills of Dr. Rayma Ditson-Sommer (Arizona, USA). Dr. Ditson-Sommer is internationally recognized. She is an advisor, mentor, lecturer and researcher in biofeedback, neurolearning and brain plasticity. For more than 25 years, Rayma has been investigating, developing and successfully applying a variety of therapy types to increase the intellectual performance and behavioral development of children and adults.

Mental Systems – How do they work?

How does a system work that helps us achieve the mental state of a chosen frequency range? A tiny, complex computer at the heart of the system is used to produce optical and acoustic signals in a stimulating sequence. Headphones and visualization glasses transmit the optical and acoustic rhythms by which the user is drawn away from the stressed (beta) state and led, for instance by ever slower patterns of flashing light,into to an alpha state.

After a few minutes, the users of the mental systems feel themselves becoming calm and deeply relaxed. Breathing decelerates and becomes more regular. Images and thoughts may appear, gently rolling across the user’s field of perception like a movie; the user may feel as if s/he is floating, with exciting colors, shapes and patterns emerging in front of the inner eye.

With regular use of the system, people achieve
–        deep relaxation
–        de-stressing and building of stress resistance
–        greater vitality and zest for living
–        increased creativity
–        intellectual clarity and alertness.

The latest equipment as represented by the brainLight-Systems combines a varied mix of sounds, chords and frequencies. Depending on which program is selected, the user will be drawn into different mental states extending from gentle relaxation through meditation to a peak of awareness. The present generation of brainLight-System equipment plays music in which the frequencies are adapted in real time to raise not only the intensity of the experience but its therapeutic value.

This is how the system works: starting with rapidly pulsing light (the beta brainwave stage), users are drawn away from their tense mental state into the alpha state by the ever slower pulsing of the light. Alpha waves (in the frequency from 8 to 13 Hz) are indicative of physical and mental relaxation. The frequencies at which a degree of healing and self-regeneration take place are in the delta phase (below 4 Hz), which can also be induced by the pulsing light. There is a broad range of indications for therapeutic use of the systems  

How the systems work – What frequencies do the systems use?

The systems could be called mind machines and to understand how they work it is important to take into account how the brain functions from the point of view of brain waves. “Different brainwaves“ are defined by the electrical oscillation of the brain that operates at frequencies which vary depending on a person’s current state of consciousness.

The electrical activity of a human brain is described as occurring in four ranges:
• beta waves     •alpha waves     •theta waves     •delta waves

A scientific study in which the brain waves of healers from all over the world were investigated produced a notable discovery. All the healers exhibited the same brain wave patterns when they were in their respective states of altered consciousness during a healing procedure. Regardless of the society in which they lived, the rituals involved in their faith/regardless of their societal and religious background and/or the healing methods they applied/employed – all the healers investigated showed a brain wave (pattern) of between 7.8 and 8 Hz when/while actively healing. Nuclear physicist, Dr. Robert Beck, made this remarkable discovery during his comprehensive investigations conducted between 1996 and 1988. His results were published in the Archeus journal, Vol. 4. During further research, Dr. Beck found that the brain wave of all the  previously investigated mediums and healers were in synchrony with what is known as the Schumann frequency, that of the earth, both in frequency and phase. Theta waves are the waves recorded when people are in deep meditation. Examples are certain yoga or Zen Buddhist exercises, self-induced autosuggestion states or other mental training states.

It is interesting to note in this connection that the EEGs of babies and toddlers are also dominated by theta waves at the growing stage. Human beings seem to lose the habit of such deep, attentive and sensitive feeling as they grow older.

Here are the details of the different brain waves:

1. Beta waves
The states accompanied by these brain waves extend from alertness to concentration and analytical problem solving and are marked by tension, stress, hectic activity and restlessness. The waves are those of a permanent state of “fight or flight”.

2. Alpha waves
People in the alpha state are their creative selves, at their most receptive for learning new things. The waves produce a calm sense of wellbeing. The alpha state is much quieter than the tumultuous beta state. These “stress-countering” alpha waves enable the body and mind to operate in tandem, encourage healthy functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system and harmonize the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Alpha waves serve to support the body’s own healing processes. They are particularly appropriate to rapid learning such as takes place in “super-learning” or the absorption of information.

3. Theta waves
Here, the subject will be in a meditative state. Theta waves arise at the stage when calm and relaxation are giving way to sleepiness, in the twilight state between waking and sleeping. The 4 – 7 Hz theta waves establish themselves during the process of falling asleep or at other times when we withdraw into ourselves. We begin to think “outside of the box“. The theta waves, if produced regularly over a period of time, serve to harmonize the two elements of the autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. The frequency of 7.83 Hz is an important frequency in the natural environment. Known as the Schumann frequency, it is the frequency of the earth and, as such, very appropriate to regeneration of the human body.

4. Delta waves
These waves arise during deep sleep. In this state, the body can heal itself. The waves are a pre-requisite for refreshing, regenerative sleep. The 0.5 – 3 Hz delta waves arise mainly during deep sleep and are rarely present during our waking state. The psychic states of relevance are: deep, dreamless sleep (non-REM sleep), trance, deep hypnosis, extrasensory perception. However, they also include healing and self-regeneration. The growth hormone becomes active during delta sleep and cellular regeneration takes place in this brain wave frequency range.