Entraining Brain Waves

One clear explanation for the powers of rhythmic sounds is that they dramatically alter brain-wave activity. Researchers have found that rhythmic clicks produce clear brain-wave entrainment throughout many parts of the brain—not just in those parts associated with hearing. According to anthropologist Michael Harner, scientists studying shamanic rituals have “found that drum beat frequencies in the theta wave EEG frequency range . . . predominated during initiation procedures.” So, simply by making a noise at a specific frequency, and making it rhythmically and repeatedly, you can alter your brain waves. With a simple drum, in other words, you can draw listeners downward from their waking beta rhythms into the relaxed alpha state, and even deeper, into the mysterious theta state—an ideal state for producing profound effects, through the telling of stories, the singing of songs, the casting of spells.

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