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What Is Holosync?

Meditating guyI must confess to a very strong sense of curiosity with alternative self-development and Life Coaching methods.

That’s why I asked Craig to write the ‘What Is The Sedona Method?’ post a short while ago and the reason I asked Joely Black of Amnar fame if she’d tell me (and you) more about Holosync. I have heard some great reports, but don’t know that much about it other than it involved binaural beats.

I’m also keen to run posts on EFT, The Silva Mind Control Method and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. So if you, or anybody you know, is an expert in one of those areas or anything similar, please let me know. In the meantime, if you have had any experiences, either positive or negative using binaural beats, please let me know in the comments.

What Is Holosync?

This is the danger of Twitter. You can be happily tweeting away one minute, and the next Tim Brownson is demanding answers to big questions like “Why is the sky blue?” and “Where is my hair going?” or “What is Holosync?”

That was what happened to me last week. After two years using the brain wave entrainment program, Holosync, I was building a daily blog based on my experiences for the benefit of myself and anybody else who was curious.

I had a number of people following my personal blog solely for my Holosync related posts, so it wasn’t just a case of imposing my mental incontinence on the Internet without reason.

So, what exacatly is Holosync?

Well, it’s one of a huge range of programs that use sounds at particular frequencies to ‘entrain the brain’. Thanks to a man called Gerald Oster, who first published a scientific paper on the impact of binaural beats on the brain, the 1970s and 80s brought the ancient art of meditation into the twentieth century

The Monroe Institute and various others produced tapes and then CDs which took the brain artificially into alpha and theta states, mimicking the patterns observed in monks who had been meditating up mountains for decades.

In the spirit of the We Want It Now! West the idea of going and sitting in Tibet for most of your life being the slow and boring approach to being enlightened, so brain wave entrainment allowed people to start experiencing states of heightened awareness by just listening to a CD.

The design of Holosync, which was designed originally by Bill Harris and his postgraduate friends, was slightly different. Rather than just sending meditators into a state of heightened awareness in the moment, the program was designed around a series of levels.

The brain eventually adjusts to the input from the binaural beats, and although users of brainwave entrainment CDs find themselves better able to cope with life and calmer, eventually the effects wear off. The trick of Holosync was to keep altering the frequencies used to create the binaural beats.

Now, you only need inspect the Wikipedia page on binaural beats to see that this technology, despite its age, is still quite controversial.

Traditional meditators sometimes think it’s cheating, some people regard it as dangerous because a few people report extreme side effects, and Jesus freaks think it’s been designed by Satan.

However, there are plenty of people who report that it works. By that they mean that they start to feel calmer, better adjusted, less depressed and anxious and more able to cope with life. But how does it work?

Brain Stuff

This is where it gets complicated. I could write a series of articles on brain waves and the various ways that Holosync and indeed the other entrainment programs function. However, I don’t have a whole series to work with and others have been there before me. Instead, I’ll focus on how it feels, and what the daily experience of using these programs tells me what it’s doing.

Essentially, by daily exposure to binaural beats that send you into deep meditation, over a long period, the two hemispheres of the brain become more balanced. People are supposed to experience the effects of years of traditional meditation, which is known to create a calmer, more balanced person, but in far less time.

In terms of actual experience, Holosync drags up all the emotional, internal crap hiding away in the subconscious and says, “Hey look at this! Isn’t this crazy? Why don’t you deal with this?”

Anything you’ve buried, avoided, numbed yourself to is suddenly obvious. This usually results in a lot of feeling unpleasant at first (unless your either lucky or already enlightened when you start). The survival mechanisms that originally led you to live in any dysfunctional way tend not to like it when something tries to change things, and they react to protect you. This can come out in emotional outbursts, mental chatter, even physical effects like twitching.

Thankfully, it also seems to make you more aware, so you start to see this stuff coming, and work through it before it becomes problematic. And the more aware you get, the more quickly and easily you stop doing all the dysfunctional things you used to do to avoid life (like eating ice cream, watching too much TV or indulging in addictions). One of my big breakthroughs came recently when after fifteen years of being addicted to Pepsi Max, I woke up one day with no taste for it, and moved on to tea, instead.

Which System?

Holosync is one of a whole range of systems that progressively balance the brain. Most of the others take little more than a year to complete, whereas Holosync is remarkable in the fact that it can take up to ten years to progress through all thirteen levels.

Of all of them, Holosync is the trundling behemoth of brainwave entrainment systems. Listen for an hour daily, and you are taken through alpha, theta and down to delta wave states and then held in the delta state, where apparently all the big magic happens. Other systems incorporate isochronic tones or train to alpha for the first levels, theta for the next and finally delta at the end.

Because I haven’t used the other systems, I can’t comment on their effectiveness. The newer systems tend to advertise themselves as taking very little time, probably because one of the big turn-offs to using Holosync is the time it takes, although the price also plays a part. This does assume that you only benefit at the end, whereas my experience suggests that you benefit as soon as you approach the whole thing in the right way.

Dremel For The Mind

How you approach brainwave entrainment when you use it will affect the outcome you get. Aside from extreme reactions (which I’ll get to in a minute), it’s understanding your responses and using Holosync as a tool rather than a magic bullet that creates real change. It’s a bit like buying a hammer and then expecting it to put up shelves all by itself.

The problem is, all these programs are sold as miracle cures. When I first started, I imagined all I had to do was listen and I’d be miraculously transformed from a depressive, ex-anorexic struggling with severe self-esteem issues, into the confident, outgoing person I could only ever be in interviews. It didn’t work like that. It was only when I realised I had to actually engage during meditations, really explore the material coming up, that anything improved.

Does it work?

That is a really difficult question to answer. Holosync, and every other brainwave entrainment program for that matter, faces the same problem that doctors do with medications.

People are affected in very different ways by the same thing. I’m allergic to SRI anti-depressants and certain common antibiotics, for example, but many people can take them without issues.

I think the same thing applies to Holosync. It will affect everybody differently.

Since I first started using it – and writing about it – I’ve had people write to me asking if I think they should do it themselves. A number of friends have also been tempted. But I always sound a warning that just because I am having positive results, they shouldn’t expect the same thing. Some people feel nauseous, get leg twitches or become depressed.

As far as I can tell from my own experience, it does work. Just in the last few months I’ve experienced dramatic internal changes, having decided to make healing a full-time focus until I had resolved some of the deeply-rooted issues that had been bugging me.

I would welcome more large scale scientific study into the use of binaural beats in creating long-term positive change in people, but for the moment, I’m happy to rely on my own experience.

It hasn’t been exactly easy, but it definitely got easier when I started to engage with the process. I doubt very much whether I would have been able to resolve as much as I have as quickly without it. Of course, if my brain explodes tomorrow, it’ll be a word to the wise for everybody.

By the way, I ran a post some while ago called How Good Is Your Memory? I’d shelled out almost $400 to test the Posit Science brain training program. Well, to say it was a waste of time is an under statement I saw zero improvements. I’ve since found another system that is about 10% of the cost and much better in my opinion. I haven’t forgotten about this (what a brilliant irony that would have been), I’m just trying to figure how to get it into a post that may be interesting to people. Stay tuned.

12 comments to What Is Holosync?

  • One question – where do I start, how can I test it? ;)

  • I just love all the scientists hanging out in the lab. I was dying to know how you’d illustrate it!

    @Michael – You can find Holosync’s demo at http://www.centerpointe.com

  • @ Joely – Thanks for posting the link. When I read Michaels comment I thought “Whoops, never thought about that!”

    Also thanks very much for a cool insight into Holosync, I shall pester thee no more on Twitter ;-)

  • Ah, great post Joely!

    I’ve used Holosync, Meditation Machines, Binaural Beats, Isochronic tones and just about every other brainwave entrainment tool I can get my hand on.

    I’ve also brainwashed friends, colleagues and family members to try them out too. Almost universally, they seem to work… in fact, my father was the only person I know who HASN’T got good results from using them, and his main complaint was in the repetitive tones (now you can get MP3s with relaxing music over the top)

    For me, not only do the short term effects make the investment worthwhile (you feel amazing afterwards – relaxed, calm, positive), but the longer term benefits I’ve experienced include a better outlook on life; increased happiness; less stress. If I wasn’t scared of being mocked by this healthily sceptical crowd, I’d say that the right and left sides of my brain tend to get on better now too, resulting in quicker decision making and problem solving skills.

    Admittedly, I’ve been focussing on personal development and NLP a lot so this has to take some credit too, but binaural beats and all their curiously named brothers are well worth a look in my book.

    I’m actually about to start a second website focussed on brainwave entrainment – I want to convince the masses to give this affordable and potentially life-alterning technology a go. I’ve convinced so many sceptics to try this stuff and it really does seem to work – you can put it on your ipod too and listen on the go.

    My final thought is that Holosync is awesome but very expensive, and I get similar results with $10-$15 downloads from a couple of awesome online stores. With Holosync, I think you’re paying for the name (Bill Harris who runs the company was featured in Tim’s favourite, The Secret)

    Cor… rant over.

  • Hi Carl,

    It’s always great to meet another Holosync user who’s had massive benefits – and one who proselytises everybody he knows!

    I agree that Holosync is exhorbitant compared to every other alternative out there. I’ve reached the conclusion that what you’re paying for is the exclusivity factor. I’m sure you’ll know the marketing theory that you either price yourself just below the competition, or miles above as a “designer” effect. Amazingly, people will pay more because they associate paying more with getting a better product. And because it prices people out of the market – the ones to whom they want to feel superior.

    Not that that’s why Holosync users pick Holosync. I chose it simply because people I trusted used it. It’s always been hugely expensive and long before the Secret came out, people complained that it was expensive.

    I agree that it’s really worth a try for everybody. Please let me know when your site is up and running and I’ll promote it on Zen in Heels.

  • Sweet Joely, I just had a read through your blog and I really like it. I’ll probably invite you over to write a post on Holosync if you fancy when I’m up and running (gimme a couple of weeks!)… Together we can take over the brainwave entrainment world!!

    PS – I agree with your take on product positioning. Tim Ferris makes a similar point in the ‘Four Hour Work Week’ – price high and people assume you are awesome. I agree that Holosync does this well, but I imagine the cost is a massive barrier to entry to people considering binaural beats for the first time. As such, I feel my duty is to tell the world that you can get very similar results from $10!

    I genuinely believe the world would be a happier place if everyone used these crazy things. It might not cure world hunger, but it would probably stop people from being furious with their lot in life. I might even buy Tim some for Christmas, he’ll love me forever…

  • Carl,

    We’ll get Tim on board somehow…

    I’d love to do a guest spot for you, and I’m really glad you like the blog. Can’t wait to see your new site, as well.

    Yes, I definitely think people need to start with the cheap $10 versions. If they have somebody to give them a roadmap, that would make it easier to pick the right ones.

  • I am not sure if this has been mentioned yet – but – binaural beats work by sending two different frequencies. The frequencies are off by between 1-20 Hz, which is the frequency that the brain matches.

    If you are between 1-4Hz it is the Delta state (slow wave sleep), 4-7 is Theta (drowsiness – between sleep/wakefulness), 8-12 is Alpha (relaxation), and 12-30 is Beta (alertness/active concentration).

  • Very Interesting…thank you for sharing this information.

    My daughter was born with a lesion which blocks memories from recall once in long term memory in the brain. The learning specialist used a series of sound waves and very low dose Adderall, to train the brain to intake material through new avenues…the results were amazing…then we added using the cell phone and lap top into the process and Voila she is now a college graduate – and if she wanted to she could pass algebra too….probably not higher thinking maths…but what an opportunity …
    I love learning all these new things and I thank you for sharing them..
    Food has quite an affect on the brain also.
    Love the drawings…

  • Tim,
    Thank you
    I am now going to ask a favor. I have published a free ecookbook…for a UNICEF fundraiser. A local group challenged me to get 1000 reads of the cookbook (gifts from bloggers) by Sat. 12/5/2009 midnight PST and they will donate on Monday $1000 to UNICEF…
    Would you hope over to the Harvest Potluck icon on my blog and look at the ebook and download (if you want) for at least 1.5 minutes? I would certainly appreciate it..

    Thank you
    Feel free to pass this on. This group is going to read my dashboard analytics on Monday so you could go a couple of reads worth if that does not conflict with your ethics?