Frequency Following Response and Your Brain
Frequency following response (FFR) is the tendency for our mind and body to be affected and synchronised by an external source – such as sounds and rhythms.
This frequency following response is a prime factor in brainwave entrainment.
Thus, brainwave entrainment happens when; internal processes mirror an external stimulus within the brain. For example, mirroring can produce certain brain states combined with sound or vision.
The effect of nature on our brainwaves
The roar of ocean waves, the rumble of thunder, the constant flow of rivers, and even the majesty of a symphony orchestra inspire us all. These rhythmical and sometimes melodic waves align our bodies and minds.
In the late 1600s, Christian Huygens discovered that two pendulum clocks hanging side by side on a wall would begin to swing in synchronicity.
But, if he moved one of the clocks to the opposite wall, synchronicity did not occur between the two clocks.
The lack of synchronicity meant that the vibrations on the shared wall affected how the two clocks communicated and synchronised their movement and speed.
Studies (Atwater, 1997; Rosenfeld, Reinhart, and Srivastava, 1997) have shown that we also experience this “entrainment” process. Thus, like the pendulum clocks, humans have various rhythms present in our bodies.
These vibrations and rhythmical movements are present in our heart rhythms and brainwave patterns.
So, suppose we introduce an appropriate external rhythm that vibrates our body or the auditory system. In that case, we will experience the same entrainment as the pendulum clocks.
We call this brainwave entrainment (BWE).
Thus, exposing the brain to a specific frequency, say 4.5Hz, your brainwave pattern would start to mirror or shift toward that frequency.
Advantages of the frequency following response
Frequency following response (FFR) is a significant factor in brainwave entrainment. It’s also a way to change your brainwave state on demand.
We can use the frequency following response to produce frequencies called Binaural tones. Binaural tones can help change specific brainwave patterns.
A relaxed person 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, your brainwaves are likely to follow the tone’s frequency, helping you relax.
So listening to a binaural tone can alter the dominant brainwave frequency. This frequency will lead you into a deep state of relaxation or meditation.
Of course, binaural frequencies can also create other altered states of consciousness. For example, relaxation and deep sleep and speed up and deepen meditation.