Audio-Visual Entrainment: History and Physiological Mechanisms

In Articles, Entrainment, Healing, History, Intelligence, Research, Trance by Dave Siever

Since the discovery of photic driving by Adrian and Matthews in 1934, much has been discovered about the benefits of brain-wave entrainment (BWE) or audio-visual entrainment (AVE) as it is commonly known today. Studies are now available on the effectiveness of AVE in promoting relaxation, hypnotic induction and restoring somatic homeostasis, plus improving cognition, and for treating ADD, PMS, SAD, migraine headache, chronic pain, anxiety, depression and hypertension.

History

Clinical reports of flicker stimulation appear as far back as the dawn of modern medicine. It was at the turn of the 20th century when Pierre Janet, at the Salpêtrière Hospital in France, reported that when he had his patients gaze into the flickering light produced from a spinning spoked wheel in front of a kerosene lantern, it lowered their depression, tension and hysteria (Pieron, 1982). Then, in 1934, Adrian and Matthews published their results showing that the alpha rhythm could be “driven” above and below the natural frequency with photic stimulation (Adrian & Matthews, 1934).

This discovery further propagated dozens of small physiological outcome studies on the “flicker following response” by many well respected researchers (Bartley, 1934, 1937; Durup & Fessard, 1935; Jasper, 1936; Goldman, Segal, & Segalis, 1938; Jung, 1939; Toman, 1941). However no one considered the subjective and behavioral effects of photic stimulation. Finally in 1956, W. Gray Walter published the results on thousands of test subjects comparing flicker stimulation with the subjective emotional feelings it produced (Walter, 1956)…

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