The Sensorimotor Rhythm (SMR) is a brainwave frequency between 12-15 Hz, which sits along the borderline between alpha and beta.

It can be described as the “sweet spot of focus” where we have enhanced executive functioning and are able to control our attention better.

Neurofeedback specialist Dr. Andrew Hill described the sensorimotor rhythm as:

“If you’ve seen a cat on a windowsill watching a bird then you’ve seen SMR. It’s this liquid, still-body and laser-like focus.

A still body and focused mind is advantageous because you can jump into action much easier from relaxation than tension.

These brain waves are produced when your body is completely still and your mind is focused on a single task.”

The Benefits of Sensorimotor Rhythm Training:

Training the sensorimotor rhythm with neurofeedback protocols has been found to be highly effective for improving focus, mood and attention span, particularly for people who have been diagnosed with:

  1. Insomnia [1]
  2. Anxiety [2]
  3. ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) [3].

The SMR brain wave frequency has also been found to be related to automaticity during skill action execution. A study on improving golf putting performance using SMR neurofeedback training found it can enhance focus and sports performance [4].

Neurofeedback clinicians are also using SMR brainwave training to assist with epilepsy, depression, stress and autism. It has also been found that the improved ability for sustained focus and concentration in the SMR frequency range of brain waves improves learning, reading speed and energy levels.

The main drawback of neurofeedback training for optimizing sensorimotor rhythm control is that it can be very expensive, ranging from $5,000 – $10,000+.

A more affordable alternative may be to use binaural beats.

Binaural Beats For The Sensorimotor Rythmn:

If you aren’t familiar with binaural beats, they are an emerging form of sound therapy that uses brainwave entrainment frequencies to alter your brain waves.

While there hasn’t been a lot of research into binaural beats as a treatment for medical conditions,  judging by their popularity on YouTube, millions of people use them regularly to help with focus, creativity and relaxation.

A number of research studies have found that binaural beats improve cognition and mood while there has been found to be little evidence of adverse side effects [5].

While binaural beats may not provide the same effectiveness as professional neurofeedback training, they are something worth exploring for the self-directed biohacker simply because in 5-10 minutes of listening you can experience the effects for yourself.

While some people find they aren’t effective at all, many others find them extremely effective so it’s best to take a do-it-yourself approach exploring the different brain wave frequencies and what they can do for your focus and attention to see for yourself.

I have found that listening to binaural beats tuned between 12-15 Hz in the sensorimotor rhythm to be extremely effective for improving my ability to stay focused and concentrate for long periods of time.

When I listen to sensorimotor rhytmn binaural beats using my headphones, I feel a sense of physical and mental calm, which helps improve my energy levels and control my distractibility.

I also find them effective for training the single-minded focus necessary to drop into the flow state, which emerges when we go deeper into alpha brain waves.

Try These SMR Binaural Beats:

Here are some freely available binaural beats and similar isochronic tones that can help you experiment with the SMR frequency.

1. Sensorimotor Rhythm (SMR) Mental Training For Insomnia:

2. Sensorimotor Rhythm For Anxiety And Depression

3. Calm Chill Mix for Focus, Stress and Anxiety with SMR Isochronic Tones

References:

[1] Enhancing sleep quality and memory in insomnia using instrumental sensorimotor rhythm conditioning

[2] Sensorimotor rhythm neurofeedback training relieves anxiety in healthy people

[3] Comparison of Sensorimotor Rhythm (SMR) and Beta Training on Selective Attention and Symptoms in Children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A Trend Report

[4] Sensorimotor Rhythm Neurofeedback Enhances Golf Putting Performance

[5] Auditory Beat Stimulation and its Effects on Cognition and Mood States