What is Audio-Visual Entrainment (AVE)?
AVE is a technique that uses sounds and light pulses at particular frequencies to delicately guide your brain into varying brain wave patterns. By changing your brain wave frequencies you are then able to improve your mood and sleep patterns, sharpen your mind and also be able to relax better. Most Audio-Visual Entrainment units are very simple to operate.
Audio-Visual Entrainment (AVE) is capable of producing brain wave frequencies appropriate for specific situations through the process of entrainment (physiological processes mirroring environmental stimuli.) Audio-Visual Entrainment also increases blood flow in the brain (cerebral blood flow) and increases the metabolization of glucose in the brain for improved neuron function. These processes provide improved mental performance. AVE is an effective, inexpensive alternative therapy that can help you with anxiety, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), PTSD, Fibromyalgia, and chronic pain. Most AVE devices (like the one we use on our patients) are also used to boost athletic physical performance, academic performance for students, and cognitive performance for seniors.An important objective of audio-visual brain entrainment is to produce a dissociative state, which is a meditation-like state of deep relaxation. It is the brain/body rehabilitative benefits produced by this deep trance-like state that makes AVE so useful for so many different conditions (like anxiety, brain fog, memory, etc.)
The dissociative state can be first observed by noticing deep breaths. Your hands and feet become warmer as arteries dilate, your skin color will become pinker as blood flow increases throughout your face and body (blood flow will increase in the brain as well.) You will also experience feelings of profound relaxation and contentment as neurotransmitters are released into the brain. When in this deep state, parasympathetic hormones (the brain/body’s regenerative repair chemicals), serotonin, endorphins and dopamine (stabilizing neurotransmitters) are released, which restore proper brain function. AVE contributes to this restoration by providing a stress-break, increasing cerebral blood flow and encouraging impaired neuronal firing which allows the brain to return to normal function.
When the body-mind effects from experiencing AVE are fully appreciated, the experience becomes as regular and beneficial as many other life essentials such as good nutrition, quality sleep, clean pure water, and exercise. Sleep is another area where AVE has been shown to be beneficial, contributing to the natural regenerative process of the body and brain. There are many things that are going on when you are using an AVE unit, such as your EEG activity is being altered: as the AVE frequency changes, so does the frequency in your brain – it’s that easy! For example, the Feeling Better sessions we offer with our Mindalive David Alert Audio-Visual Entrainment re-stabilize brainwaves by suppressing left frontal alpha waves while boosting right frontal alpha brain waves to normal levels. You are being dissociated.
When using AVE, you get drawn into the present moment and let go of thoughts relating to your daily hassles, hectic schedules, paying bills, worries, threats, or anxieties and stop the unhealthy mental “chatter.” Dissociation involves a “disconnection” of self from thoughts and body awareness, as is experienced during deep meditation. Dissociation begins in four to eight minutes from properly applied AVE. Your limbic system is being stabilized, your body is calmed, your breathing becomes rhythmic, your hands warm, and your muscles relax. A number of neurotransmitters are being produced. People with a depressed mood have low levels of serotonin and norepinephrine. AVE boosts brain levels of serotonin and norepinephrine to improve overall well-being. Your cerebral blood flow is being increased (CBF is associated with many forms of mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, attentional problems, behavior disorders, and impaired cognitive function.) CBF tends to lower as we age often causing cognitive decline. People experiencing a depressed mood usually have lower levels of CBF in the left frontal and prefrontal lobes.
For more detailed information, read Dave Siever’s Harvard-published article Audio-Visual Entrainment: History & Physiological Mechanisms.
Dustin has been passionate about holistic health since he met his wife, Dr Mallory Ranem (Conners) almost 20 years ago. As the Digital Media Manager, he coordinates content across Conners Clinic’s large online presence, including written, video, and audio.