Even though the dangers of brainwave entrainment are fairly minimal, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful with this technology. Personally I don’t think there are any major dangers to be concerned with unless you are: prone to seizures, under 18, or pregnant. If you are prone to seizures, you should NOT use this technology in the first place as it may trigger one. Most people will be able to tolerate this technology well though.
When I used it awhile back, my therapist inquired about any potential risks and dangers. I then worked with her and emailed several neurologists about the technology and asked for their opinions. Nearly all of them responded by saying there really isn’t any major cause for concern. One did say something about the technology maybe changing a developing brain, but he didn’t think it would necessarily be a bad change – he just said there may be some sort of an effect.
Common Dangers of Brainwave Entrainment
The top concern is individuals that are susceptible to seizures (i.e. epileptics). This technology can trigger seizures in those who have epilepsy and should not be used; pretty simple concept.
2. Developing brains
There may be a cause for concern in younger individuals with developing brains. This may not be an ideal technology to use on children or teens. It is recommended that this technology be limited to responsible adults (at least 18 years of age). If you want to be on the safe side, don’t use this technology until you think your brain is fully developed.
3. Lack of research
Although there is a lot of research in the field of brainwave entrainment, most of it has been done by people developing products to sell to people for self help. That doesn’t mean it’s bad research, but there needs to be more peer reviewed journal articles discussing the side effects and implications of this technology.
Obviously you should NOT be operating a motor vehicle or heavy machinery while using this technology because it may cause drowsiness.
5. Altered state of consciousness
Finally the only other thing that I can think of that may not feel comfortable is being temporarily stuck in an altered state of consciousness. In other words, you may feel “weird” and like you want to return to normal. This isn’t the same thing as a trip on a drug, but some people experience feeling strange and want to get back to the way things were. Stop using the technology, give it a few days or weeks and things will return to normalcy.
If you experience unwanted side effects…
If you experience unwanted side effects from brainwave entrainment, your best bet is to stop using it and give it a break. If you overdo it, the worst that’s going to happen is you may end up stuck feeling a little weird for awhile in an “altered state of consciousness.” I have personally used alpha entrainment and there were a couple of sessions that left me feeling a little out of sorts, but I eventually returned to normal.
So if you feel weird, just play the waiting game: let time pass, don’t use entrainment for awhile, and you will feel completely normal again. There typically aren’t any negative permanent side effects from having used this technology. With that said, further research is warranted in this area of experimental therapy.
Really the only major danger is seizures – and that will only happen if you are naturally prone to them. All the other side effects aren’t much compared to major pharmaceutical drugs. In fact I would argue that there really aren’t side effects other than changes in brain activity.