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Brainwave entrainment in general refers to the repetitive use of an external stimuli in an effort to guide the brainwaves to a desired state and/or pattern. Sensory stimulation have been found to easily influence cortical activity due to the fact that sensory inputs typically access the cerebral cortex via the thalamus through an extensive system of innervations. Sensory stimulation particularly within the frequency range of 0.5 to 25 Hz has been observed to have the largest effect on brainwave activity. Across different forms of sensory stimuli, audio and visual are typically the easiest and most practical mechanisms of stimulation—thus audio-visual entrainment (AVE) is the most commonly used form of brainwave entrainment.
It has been observed that successful entrainment can lead the user to a meditative, peaceful and relaxing kind of dissociation; where cerebral blood flow is increased and changes in EEG can be found over the sensory-motor strip, parietal lobe and the prefrontal cortex. AVE has been used as a form of therapy for those with anxiety, ADD, seasonal affective disorder, PTSD, Fibromyalgia, and chronic pain. AVE has also been observed to improve mental performance in students and seniors—as well as physical performance in athletes.
A breakdown of the most commonly used Audio-Visual Entrainment (AVE) devices and their intended use can be viewed here: AVE Device Comparison Table.