What are Isochronic Tones?
Artwork by Louis Dyer
Isochronic tones are an emerging brain entrainment technology that are reportedly helping many people improve their cognitive performance, enhance states of meditation, decrease anxiety, and increase IQ. This relatively new field can be compared with other effective brain entrainment tools such as binaural beats. Isochronic tones and other brain entrainment technologies help to rapidly alter your brainwave state to produce certain desired results. Different patterns and frequencies are emitted to incite your brain to produce either enhanced levels of gamma, alpha, beta, theta, or delta brain waves, each with their own unique benefits.
The concept of isochronic tones was first presented by Thomas Budzynski in the Journal of Neurotherapy in 1999. Dr. Budzynski conducted a case study with eight college students to test his theory.. His work has spread, making isochronic tones one of the fastest growing brain entrainment technologies for meditators, individuals seeking peak performance, or people who are simply seeking to improve their cognitive health and reduce anxiety.
In the simplest sense, an isochronic tone is actually just a single tone that is being rapidly turned on and off in particular patterns, designed for inducing different brainwave states. In between each tone, there is absolutely no sound being produced. There is just a single unchanging tone that is produced; what is unique is the rapid volume change of the tone. It goes from 0 to 100 and then back again in volume in an evenly spaced way. The distinctive pulses are designed to rapidly alter your brain activity. The most effective brainwave state isochronic tones help to produce is the alpha brain-wave state, which is often associated with meditation, focus, and clarity. Below is a simple graph to demonstrate how an isochronic tone works.
What are the benefits of isochronic tones?
While many people doubt the efficacy of isochronic tones and brain entrainment techniques in general, some evidence would strongly suggest otherwise. More than twenty one independent peer-reviewed placebo-controlled studies were conducted between 1979 and 2012, displaying a range of benefits achieved through the process of temporarily altering brain wave states. Some of the benefits included but were not limited to: cognitive enhancement after gamma wave stimulation, improvement in academics after beta wave stimulation, overrall increase of alpha waves during meditation, and the reduction of pain, anxiety, and improved sleep after delta wave stimulation. (1) Isochronic tones are just one of the many ways to stimulate and alter the brainwaves for desired beneficial results.
Here are some of the reasons people use Isochronic tones:
- Stress Reduction: Specific tones can be used to stimulate a more relaxed brain wave state that assists in stress reduction by reducing cortisol levels.
- Energy and Stimulation: Certain frequencies can help produce an alert, enlivened, and energized state. Isochronic tones can be an all natural caffeine-free way for people to become more motivated and action oriented towards their goals.
- Peak Performance: Many people are seeking hacks to achieve what is popularly known as “peak performance states”. Isochronic tones can be used to alter brainwaves in such a way so as to allow one to enter a “flow state”, a key to experiencing peak performance in work, exercise, and life!
- Positive Mood: Research has been demonstrating for years that brain entrainment techniques help improve mood by reduces stress and anxiety.
Isochronic tones are still a relatively new field of study, and so more extensive research specifically focusing on isochronic tones is needed to say anything conclusive about its effects. However, many who use isochronic tones report amazing cognitive enhancement benefits, and anxiety reduction. Individuals say that Isochronic tones are particularly good at stimulating the production of the higher brain wave frequencies such as alpha and gamma, while they may be less effective at producing the lower brainwave states such as theta and delta. Theta and delta are typically experienced in deep meditation or during sleep. Individuals say that it is the sharp nature of the tones, that make it difficult to induce the deeply relaxing or dream-inducing states, although research is not conclusive on this.
Isochronic tones can produce a quick and powerful shift in brainwave states to create beneficial results in one’s life. With the advent of brain entrainment technologies, we can all feel more empowered to transform our brain waves for better health, performance, mood, and long term memory.
 Huang, T. and Charyton, C. “A Comprehensive Review of the Psychological Effects of Brainwave Entrainment” (2008) Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, VOL. 14, NO. 5