The Magical Sine Waves
Oh, the magical sine waves!
Sine waves are the building blocks of sound. All other sounds we hear, whether they be a voice, an instrument, a crackling fire, a car horn, or even a rocket ship, are made up of a series of sine waves layered atop one another. Every sine wave has a frequency and amplitude. The frequency is the pitch. The amplitude is the volume. When multiple sine waves of different frequencies and different amplitudes are combined, they create the timbres that make up a given instrument or sound.
Just playing a single sine wave can have effects on the brain and on our health. There are a number of anecdotal and even some scientific studies which support this. Also, the field of cymatics shows us that playing different sine wave frequencies, for example, into a pile of sand or an aqueous solution, can change the arrangement of the sand or solution into any number of beautiful patterns, like a snowflake. As such, some people have endeavored to outline a long list of metaphysical properties of the different sine wave frequencies, whether they be based on resonances of the earth, resonances of space, or even numerology.
In sound healing, we use simple sine waves to help guide our brain into different states of consciousness using ‘brainwave entrainment.’ The reason is because the sine wave is a very forceful and hypnotic entity that has been scientifically shown through countless studies to have a direct impact on our brain. The most common types of brainwave entrainment are binaural beats and isochronic pulses. Both of these technologies manipulate sine waves to produce entrainment effects.
Binaural beats utilize two sine waves of two different frequencies played simultaneously, one through each ear. The brain interprets the difference in these frequencies and latches on to it. So, for example, if we play a 100hz sine wave in the left ear and a 108hz sine wave in the right ear, the brain interprets a ‘phantom’ frequency of 8hz. This can be perceived as the wave darting back and forth between your two ears at a rate of 8 times per second. There are endless studies showing that this coaxes the brain to ‘resonate’ and begin to output frequencies and overtones of 8hz on eeg equipment.
However, for some people, such as those who are deaf in one ear, binaural beats is not an option. For those, a newer technology called ‘Isochronic pulses’ has been invented. These utilize a single sine wave, which is turned on and off at a particular interval. So, for example, if we wish to synchronize the brain to 8hz, then we could use a sine wave of any frequency (for example, 100hz) and turn this sine wave on and off 8 times per second. The brain resonates with the switching and begins to show this frequency on an eeg monitor.
By selecting ‘carrier’ frequencies that resonate with purposes we wish to achieve (for example, 304.0hz, associated with headaches) and combining this with a binaural beat or isochronic frequency for another purpose (for example, 7hz associated with relaxation), we can create a tone that not only helps us with a headache but relaxes us at the same time.
Guided Meditation Treks has just released a new tool for iOS, called Binaural, which allows you to generate these frequencies and create combinations of binaural beats and isochronic pulses for your own use. The app refers to a library of different frequencies, and it allows you to directly enter the frequencies into the tool to see how they work for you. There’s no guesswork in what’s going into it, and no hidden or unknown effects of what goes into the tones because YOU are the creator.
Also released at the same time is an app-based version of Guided Meditation Treks, Volume 1. Four meditations of spoken word, binaural beats, isochronic tones, pink noise, and nature sounds help you connect to your higher self. The app allows volume control of each element as you take treks to “Meet Your Spirit Guide,” “Reprogram a Counterproductive Thought Pattern,” “Heal a Relationship,” and “Manifestation.” Every meditation has binaural beats and isochronic tones pre-programmed into them, and each frequency was selected with a specific purpose in mind, so all you need to do is sit back and relax while you connect to your higher self.
 Goodman, Reba, and Ann S. Henderson. "Sine waves enhance cellular transcription." Bioelectromagnetics 7.1 (1986): 23-29.