Some historians claim sound therapy goes back 40,000 years, when the Aboriginal people of Australia first used ancient didgeridoos to mend bones and heal illnesses. And for centuries, Tibetan monks have used singing bowls to help them enter meditative states. More recently, the British Academy of Sound Therapy (yes, really) claims 95 percent of its clients felt calmer following treatment. In the Somadome's case, we're talking binaural beats, which Dr. Gerald Oster first described in his 1973 paper in Scientific American called "Auditory Beats in the Brain." Oster found that when the right and left ears hear sounds at different frequencies, the brain produces a third, inaudible beat that can produce five different brainwave states.
Depending on the brainwave's frequency, your brain marches to a beat that can, for instance, hone cognition (gamma waves), increase concentration (beta), boost creativity (alpha), speed up learning (theta) and help you relax and heal (delta), If you have an important project coming up, you'll want something that triggers gamma or beta waves, Want to really relax? Then delta's the top 5 iphone screen protectors brainwave for you, "If I want to be more creative, I listen to alpha," says Kelly Howell, the mindfulness expert who voiced the soothing guided meditations in my ear, "If I have trouble sleeping, I tune into delta."Light therapy is a big part of the experience, too, Somadome cites research that says light helps regulate the autonomic nervous system, which controls bodily functions like breathing, heart rate and digestion..
Each Somadome session (it's $45 for my 20-minutes in Ojai) begins and ends with white light, to "promote balance, increase harmony and contribute to overall healing." Violet contributes to "spiritual insights" and boosts immunity. Green stimulates "inner peace" and strengthens the nervous system. Dark blue eases stress while turquoise "improves intuition and sensitivity."A 20-minute session with something like a Somadome is great. But what to do on a daily basis? Sure, you can go on retreat — vacations at the beach, tickets to a football game, or a night in binge watching Netflix. Or maybe take the occasional mental health day off from work.
It turns out, there are plenty of iOS and Android apps and gadgets to ease anxiety and help us relax, Apple -- with its free Apple Watch app called Breathe — wants you to remember to, well, breathe, Biofeedback apps usually rely on wearables or other sensors that detect things like our temperature, respiratory rates and heart rates and then suggest ways you can chill, Unyte's biofeedback hardware (currently $219 on Indiegogo) clips to top 5 iphone screen protectors your ear, while Muse is a $249 headband that monitors your brain's electrical activity..
Of course, contemplating the beauties of nature can help you relax, too. "People meditating typically don't know if they're in a meditative state or not," says Unyte CEO Jason Tafler. "But it helps to know."Biofeedback uses several kinds of exercises, including deep breathing, guided imagery, tightening and then relaxing different muscle groups, and mindful meditation (focusing all your thoughts on your abdominal muscles as you breathe in and out, for instance). "This is a brand new idea that's 2,500 years old," jokes Richard Gevirtz, a psychologist, biofeedback expert and adviser to technology companies, including Unyte. When you inhale for about four seconds and exhale for six, you can change your heart rate and improve your mental and physical state, his research has found. "Clinically, we've seen if you [do this for] 10 minutes a day, you have some powerful changes in your body over the course of six weeks," Gevirtz says.