Many things in our lives are uncertain. For many, dealing with this uncertainty is normal, and doesn’t really affect that much. However, there are those whose feelings about uncertainty get amplified: At best, it is moderate worry and unease, at worst it can be crippling fear and panic. These are the characteristics of anxiety disorders, it is a serious issue that many people face today. This is where binaural beats can be of help.
What exactly is anxiety, and anxiety disorders?
Simply defined, anxiety is a human emotion that people experience when faced with situations and moments of uncertainty, like a very difficult life decision, a critical problem at work, a difficult exam in school, or deciding on the course of a relationship. These are just a few examples, but there are other, smaller ones that may also trigger anxiety. As mentioned above, most people who deal with this can do so normally, but those with anxiety disorders may find feel so much anxiety that it disrupts their capability to have and live a normal life. So the main goal of any treatment to be employed is to lower the anxiety levels to normal, thus returning normal mental function and the ability to go on with their day-to-day lives.
Examples of anxiety disorders
- Panic disorder – very unpredictable, panic disorders can strike without warning and may include physical symptoms like chest pains and palpitations, accompanied by difficulty in breathing and sweating.
- General anxiety disorder – similar to panic disorder, and may sometimes lead to it. It entails exaggerated worry about even the smallest things.
- Social anxiety disorder – an introspective anxiety disorder, this involves being hyper self-conscious about being judged, mocked, criticized and ridiculed by others, which affects their responses to social situations or everyday actions.
- Phobias – certain fears that involve specific objects or situations, usually at a disproportionate level causing impractical reactions.
These are just general examples of anxiety disorders. Generally, these will cause everything from the mental (sleeping problems, excessive sweating, being unable to be calm and at peace) to the physical (palpitations and breathing issues, nausea, headaches, muscle tension, numbness, or tingling) in varying degrees, along with the feelings of panic and dread. So you can imagine how a disorder affects the victim so much that normal situations become much more complicated and difficult for them to deal with.
Binaural beats as a treatment
As previously discussed, the benefits of binaural beats are the ability to make the listener feel relaxed, calm, and have peace of mind. This is done by affecting the specific brainwaves whose domains involve relaxation, in addition to the audio therapy brought about by the tones themselves. Alpha waves (at 8-13hz) in particular, whose spheres of influence include body and mind relaxation, and Delta waves (0-4hz) whose domains are that of sleep, healing, and involuntary bodily functions, are examples of brainwaves that are stoked by binaural beats to achieve relaxing effects. A good balance of all the brainwaves (Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Theta, and so on) is the key to achieving the desired effect when using binaural beats as a tool to aid in dealing with anxiety.
There have been many scientific studies and research groups conducted to seek the validity of the use of binaural beats as anxiety and depression treatments, and virtually of them succeeded in showing results in varying degrees.
For instance, a study done by Peniston and Kulkosky in 1989 showed positive results in dealing with anxiety from alcoholics, showing only a 20% relapse rate for an experimental group who were regularly exposed to 20-minute sessions of Alpha and Theta binaural beats, versus an 80% relapse rate for a control group who were sent to a regular 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program.
Another study from the Alternative Therapy Health & Medicine in 2001 used binaural beats to treat people with mild anxiety, five times a week over a whole month. Patients who received the treatment showed a significant reduction in their anxiety, and have been able to perform normal everyday functions at an increased capacity. Many more studies have been conducted; these are just a couple as examples.
How to use binaural beats for anxiety treatment
Using binaural beats for anxiety treatment, at home, is quite easy, as we previously discussed here. But some conditions, when met, can make the experience much better. Specifically…
- Prepare a relaxing area for the listener – a room with little noise, a comfortable chair or bed, and even aromatic candles or incense can be very conducive to relaxation and anxiety reduction.
- Use the proper audio equipment – some binaural beats tracks don’t require headphones, but most do, as this is how binaural beats work, by directing two different tones, one in each ear. So make sure you have the right audio equipment depending on the track you’ll use.
- Have the right binaural beats track – certain tracks will have specific functions. Make sure to get tracks that specifically deal with anxiety and depression. And make sure that these tracks are of a good bitrate quality: a lower bitrate has lower yield and effects.
- Do it consistently – binaural beats therapy, like any other form of therapy, is not a one-hit magic pill. While the effects of tracks can be potent, it has to be done consistently, like how it was done in the scientific studies mentioned above. Devote the time for the treatment, and the benefits will come in spades!
Here’s an example of a binaural beats track for anxiety and depression, which you can use for yourself or for a friend who needs it.
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