[LINK] digital drugs: real or not?
Jim.Birch at dhhs.tas.gov.au
Fri Aug 13 16:37:20 EST 2010
Binural beats have been around for a few years. They were a bit of a
peripheral, possibly new-ageish, thing as far as I know. They've been
studied by psychologists a little bit. They work a bit.
Basically, you play one frequency in one ear with another slightly
different one in the other ear using headphones or buds. This can
produce a beat the same frequency as alpha/beta/gamma/theta brain waves,
from a few Hertz to like 40 Hertz. This beat isn't heard in the
conventional sense since it only occurs in the brain where the signals
mix. Commercially, it is mixed with new age music and maybe relaxation
or "affirmation" messages, but this isn't necessary to get the effect.
The brain waves tend to entrain with the recording beat frequency so you
produce a deep or REM (-like) brain state. A track might start at a
waking frequency 30 Hz and ramp down to a deep sleep 5 Hz to put you to
sleep, or to a meditative frequency 10 Hz for a bit of R&R. Don't quote
me on the frequencies. I'm not sure why (or if) just listening to the
beat in mono wouldn't have the same effect but they say it doesn't.
There's a couple of US companies selling sets of recordings who claim
that you can achieve the power meditation of a wizened Indian mystic in
matter of minutes. They also claim you should start with low end stuff
and build up as the periodic CDs turn up and significant payments come
off your credit card. You can DIY - without the New Age music and the
affirmations - with a free copy of Audacity and the binaural plugin. I
made recording that ramps slowly down to deep sleep over 20 minutes and
fades out. I listen to it on my phone at night sometimes if I can't
sleep. It seems to work, not 100% reliably, but better than listening
to Mozart piano sonatas. Mind you, Mozart is interesting.
I guess the iDose uses a more revved up frequency and you play it a big
volume. The credit card effect is probably similar. It probably does
something vaguely like what a drug does - ie makes you feel funny - in
addition to wrecking your ears. I expect it would use some music like
the stuff they play at high volume at raves which has a known drug-like
effect (or it may have been the drugs; I wasn't sure when I woke up in
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