How does the Dreamachine work?

Pulsing light alters our brain’s natural electrical frequencies and our brain begins to mimic this frequency (Landgraf, 2003). This is called brain entrainment. The entrainment principal is the tendency for any two oscillating bodies to synchronize.

When our closed eyes receive 10 flickers per second, the optic nerve triggers signals in the cortical region to induce Alpha waves.

What are the stages of consciousness?

There are three states of consciousness; wakefulness, sleeping and dreaming.

Hypnagogia is the state between wakefulness and dreaming. Many artists have utilized hypnagogic consciousness from Nostradamus, Edison, Dali, Purkinje to Paul McCartney.   

What is the hypnagogic state?

The hypnagogic state and is defined as the place the mind travels between sleeping and ordinary consciousness.Some artists believe that the dreamachine helps to rearrange patterns of the unconscious mind and bring the practitioner to a place between memory and pure consciousness.

This region of consciousness has been referred to in the writings from Aristotle to Edgar Allan Poe.

How is mindfulness meditation similar to the Dreamachine?

Meditation and the Dreamachine are both practices that promote brain entrainment. The practice of mindful meditation and the Dreamachine are not goal oriented.

Brain entrainment practices create different neural pathways and strengthen our cortex fibers.

What are the different type of brain waves?

- Delta- (0-4 Hz) This frequency is associated with deep sleep. This wavelength occurs in the frontal brain region. Some believe that the human growth hormone is released during this frequency and often healing occurs.

- Theta- (4-7 Hz) This wavelength has been connected to dreaming, stress reduction, creativity, meditation and consciousness. Sometimes we experience this frequency when we are awakened in a dream (lucid dream). This is the range where learning and memory occurs. Extended periods of Theta waves strengthen pre-frontal cortex fibers.

- Alpha- (8-12 Hz) This frequency is associated with conscious awareness, meditation, deep relaxation, and is a doorway towards deeper states of consciousness. It also corresponds with the same resonant frequency of our planet’s electromagnetic field.

- Beta- (13-40 Hz) Beta waves are connected to our task oriented concentration. They also correlate to intense concentration, alertness, and optic clarity. Nobel prizewinner Sir Francis Crick believed that this frequency corresponds to the act of cognition.

- Gamma- (40-100) Gamma waves are hypothesized to be important in uniting our conscious perception. It has been thought that these waves begin in the thalamus and jumps between various neural circuits. There is no definitive scientific consensus on these brain frequencies at present (Lieberman, 2009).

What does a mind machine do?

A mind machine combines the effect of photic stimulation and sound. Using brain entrainment to help solve problems, relax, enhance creativity and expand imagination through unconscious pathways.

The dreamachine uses brain entrainment to bring you to a meditative state without effort.

Why App uses Blue?

Our eyes have developed specialized receptors located in the retina. They are called ganglion cells and they are very sensitive to the color blue.    

The color blue is associated with feelings of calm. This is because when we look at the color blue, our ganglion cells decrease blood pressure, heart rate and create a natural relaxation. 

Who has used the Dreamachine or alpha and hypnagogic states?

Artists believe that the Dreamachine rearranges patterns of the unconscious mind and brings the viewer to a state between memory and pure consciousness.

-  Roman mathematician and astronomer Ptolemy
-  The French visionary Nostradamus
-  Czech physician and physiologist, Jan E. Purkinje
-  Neurophysiologist Dr. W. Grey Walter
-  Notable artists Brian Jones, Paul McCartney, Kurt Cobain, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs

What is mindfulness meditation?

Mindful meditation is the conscious practice of attending to our breathing. The mind during mindfulness meditation is aware of its flashing thought process; whether we notice our waves of breath, the space between sound and silence or the distinction between sensation and numbness.   

These mental aggregates or mind manifestations are all composed of an action or non-action, an on and an off switch, an inhalation and an exhalation, a stimulus and response.

What are brain waves?

Brain waves are the observable electric, neural activity that we refer to as “thinking.” When we ‘hear’, ‘see’, ‘touch’, and ‘taste’, our neural waves change frequencies. Every second of every day, our brains are filled with this bustling electrical activity.

Brain waves can also be understood as the on and off firings of billions of neurons.

Brain waves are alert whether we are sleeping or resting, moving or thinking. Frequencies are the brain waves’ speed and are measured in hertz (Hz). As we engage with the environment, our senses transmit data through electrical signals to our brains.    

We understand these signals as information. In our daily lives (99% of awake activity) our brain stays within the Beta and Gamma bands. Before we slip into sleep, there is a brief moment in time when we relax and enter Alpha wave activity.   

Researchers utilize EEGs (electroencephalography) to record brain waves. To produce a “brain print,” or EEG reading, electrodes are placed on a special hat that measures wave frequencies.

Can I practice mindfulness in combination with the Dreamachine?

Of course. Rather than replacing your meditation practice, the Dreamachine can enhance your practice. The pulsing light will sharpen your attention and relieve overcrowding thoughts.

Please check out our guide on how to maximize the dream machine and your current meditative practice.

How does meditation change brainwaves?

In a recent meditation study, electrical brain waves were measured using an EEG. This study at Sydney University in Australia compared meditative practice to relaxation (only eyes closed). Brainwave activity was monitored in the delta, theta, alpha, and beta bands. 

During meditation, it was determined that Alpha and Theta waves were active in the frontal and middle parts of brain. Alpha waves are elicited in the posterior of the brain during meditation.

Increased alpha wave bands led to a relaxed brain state. It has been found that people who practice meditation demonstrate increased frequency of these particular brain waves (The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 2010).

Dartmouth researchers suggest after reviewing neuro-imaging studies that our brains are constantly searching for patterns. The default brain activity of the brain is spontaneous wandering. It is thought that this mental processing helps us to reframe memory, add emotional color and search for order.

As previously mentioned, we activate Beta waves when we begin to think of our to-do list, plan an action, create a goal or look back upon a pertinent event or topic. It has been shown that very few Beta waves are generated during meditation. This is because non-directive meditation helps the brain relax by letting thoughts, to-do lists, emotions pass without direct attachment (The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 2010).

Increased activation of Alpha and Theta waves has been found in people who have strong meditative practices. It has been implied that meditation changes the way our brain allocates attention.

Cahn and Polich (2006) compared neural electric results with neuro-imaging binding images. They determined that meditation has an effect within the Alpha band as both a state and a trait effect.

A state change refers to an alteration of self-referential, cognitive, and sensory awareness that arises during meditative practice, whereas dimensions that persist after practice is referred to as trait (Cahn & Polich, 2006). This means that Alpha band frequencies are increased during and after meditation.

Clinical application of meditation in conjunction with other forms of therapy could have a strong collaborative effect. Meditation clearly affects CNS functioning, however, the exact neural changes and differences from various practices are far from understood (Cahn & Polich, 2006).

Other measures that have not been determined are how individuals differ in neural electric changes; various individuals could have different degrees of constitutional practice.

Could the Dreamachine promote neural plasticity?

New experiences promote the formation of new neural pathways otherwise known as neuroplasticity. In essence as we stretch our comfort zones, explore new experiences, delve into virgin territory, and try new things our brains expand and develop and are pruned much like an ornamental shrub.   

While this is purely conjecture, increased Alpha wave bands incited by the Dreamachine could lead to a thicker cortex. Alpha bands may promote neuro-plasticity because we are engaging an electric response that is creating a new experience.   

In a recent study Dr. Marion Diamond conducted an experiment in which she exposed different groups of rats to different environments. In one environment, a group of rats were exposed to different settings and increased variables.    

The other group of rats had only one experience and only one environment. After technical analysis, it was found that the rats that were exposed to different environments had increased learning ability, brain mass, and dendrite growth than the control group. In addition, Dr. Diamond found a correlation between the cohort of rats that were stimulated by different environments and an increased immune response (Budzynski, 2010).

Mindfulness & Dreamachine Guide

  1. Darken the room, engage the Dreamachine and close your eyes.
  2. Watch your field of vision.
  3. Focus attention on the mind’s eye, otherwise known as the third eye chakra.
  4. Observe the color and light patterns.
  5. Observe the visual patterns in relationship to sound, breath, thought, and bodily sensations.
  6. Watch the geometric shapes as if you were watching a movie.
  7. Do not attach yourself to any particular shape.
  8. Watch the shapes as you would watch a flame, shadows from trembling leaves, or scintillations bouncing from the face of waves.
  9. Find flexibility with your attention. Flickering patterns are manifestations of the mind. Where is your breath? Where are your thoughts?
  10. Know that perceptions, thoughts, and emotions are just created by the mind and are filtered through perception.
  11. Perceptions are the patterns of our brains like the patterns of the recurring shapes.
  12. Identify the smallest point within your vision. Dwell there.
  13. Surrender to the flow.
  14. Where attention is focused, the emotions will dwell.
  15. After 20 minutes, return to the breathing and disengage the machine.
  16. Sit quietly for five minutes; follow your breathing, thoughts, emotions, and mind flickers.


  • Enhance the flicker effect by using Google Cardboard or a flickering flashlight.
  • Enhance your experience with sound, beats for music
  • Start w/ 6Hz for hypnagogic imagery
  • Try the Earth's vibration with binaural beats set at 7.83 Hz, i.e. the Schumann resonance.
  • Everyone has a unique Alpha sweet spot. When you find your sweet spot, you’ll notice that the visions and the clarity of the shapes behind your eyes will be sharper and the colors will be vibrant. we are all unique, so using flickering light and finding your sweet spot is a discovery process.
  • Experiment w/ different combinations of light and sound frequencies.
  • Begin with 10 Hz for enhancing Alpha brain wave activity asnd boosting creativity.
  • Darken the room, engage the Dreamachine and close your eyes