The Use of Isochronic Tones in Meditation
Meditation clearly requires a completely focused state of mind, free of distractions.
Yes, initially it seems a little tough but with time (and practice!) it gets much easier to stay focused consistently while meditating.
It’s in this context that isochronic tones have proven to be especially useful. So what exactly are isochronic tones?
Well, before I get into what isochronic tones are, it would be useful to bear in mind that they are not binaural beats ie they do not require a different frequency to be played into each ear.
Instead, isochronic tones play a sound pulse to both ears simultaneously. Unlike binaural beats where the resultant brainwave entrainment occurs thanks to the sub harmonic binaural frequency that is created, with isochronic tones an entrainment response comes with the tempo of the sound being played. In layman’s terms, listening to the sound played at a particular frequency causes the brain to repeat the frequency by creating waves in the same range, thus entraining the brain.
In the case of isochronic tones, this brainwave entrainment is particularly pronounced since there is a direct stimulation of the thalamus, thanks to the stark contrast between the sound pulses and the intermittent silences that the brain perceives.
Typically, isochronic tones have varying tempos, with faster ones more easily leading the brain to a higher frequency as opposed to those with slower tempos.
The end result is that there is a more direct impact on the mind as far as getting into a meditative state is concerned. After all, there is only a single tone being played at a time which makes auditory processing simpler and more straightforward. This is a major reason why isochronic tones are popular for meditating.
Moreover, with isochronic tones playing only a single tone at a time as mentioned, there is no compulsion for headphone usage unlike binaural beats. Although, having said that, we would recommend that you do use them. People around you may not want to hear calming or relaxing sound frequencies …
At the same time, it is also true that this experience of listening to a monotone repeatedly may not be a very pleasant one. That is the reason MeditationMonk often combines a variety of ambient sounds such as soothing music or sounds of nature, along with the isochronic tones, which provides a more pleasurable listening experience.
Here is a link to one of our Day Dream meditations which has an Alpha frequency through it. Listening to it should make you feel as though you’re daydreaming, so don’t listen to it if you have to do anything else, like drive or operate machinery.
Try it for yourself, and let us know in the comments what you think.