Frequency Following Response and Your Brain
Frequency following response (FFR) is the tendency for our mind and body to be affected and synchronized by an external source – such as sounds and rhythms.
Frequency following response is a prime factor in brainwave entrainment. This happens when; internal processes are mirroring an external stimulus within the brain. The result of this mirroring can be excited by sound and vision to create certain brain states.
The effect of nature on our brainwaves
We are all moved by the beautiful sounds of nature – the roar of ocean waves, the rumble of thunder, and the constant flow of a river, as well as the majesty of a symphony orchestra. These rhythmical and sometimes melodic waveforms constantly move us into the conscious awareness of the relationship of body and mind.
In the late 1600s, a Dutch Scientist named Christian Huygens noticed that two pendulum clocks hanging on the same wall began to synchronize the swing of their pendulums to the same angle and rate of speed. However, if he moved one of the clocks to the opposite wall, synchronicity did not occur between the two clocks. This meant that the vibrations on the shared wall created how the two clocks “communicated” with each other, and so, “entraining themselves to the same pattern of movement and speed.
There are studies (Atwater, 1997; Rosenfeld, Reinhart, and Srivastava, 1997) that have shown that we also experience this “entrainment” process. Humans, just like the pendulum clocks, have various rhythms present in our bodies. These vibrations and rhythmical movements are present in our heart rhythms and brainwave patterns. Therefore, if we introduce an appropriate external rhythm that vibrates our body or the auditory system, we will experience the same entrainment as the pendulum clocks. This is called brainwave entrainment.
This means if your brain is exposed to a certain frequency, say 4.5Hz, and your brainwave pattern would start to mirror or shift toward that frequency, bringing about a state of deep relaxation and meditation.
The advantages of frequency following response
So, in summary, Frequency Following Response (FFR) is a primary factor in brainwave entrainment, and brainwave entrainment is a method of influencing your brainwave pattern, thus changing your state on-demand.
What makes this exciting is we can take advantage of the frequency following response by creating frequencies (Binaural tones) that can help induce specific brainwave frequencies. We know, for example, that someone who is deeply relaxed may have a dominant brainwave frequency of 10 to 6 Hertz (10 to 6 cycles per second). So if you listen to a binaural tone of 10Hz – 6Hz subharmonic frequency, your brainwaves will begin to follow the tone’s frequency and eventually adjust themselves in sympathy.
Induce relaxation instantly
So listening to a binaural tone can be used to alter the dominant brainwave frequency of your own brainwaves. This will lead you into a deep state of relaxation or meditation. Of course, binaural frequencies can also create other altered states of consciousness, like relaxation and deep sleep, but are commonly used to accelerate and deepen meditation dramatically.