Think about the thousands of years that have past since the neolithic period. Throughout time, there have been very few constants outside of simple existence. Yet, almost every culture, religion, or race has had some form of shamanistic trance inducing method, primarily rhythmically. Modern terms would refer to this trance inducing method as auditory driving, where repetitive sounds and rhythms induce calmness and trance like effects. More specifically, some would refer to this as rhythmic induction.
We often see hypnotists while working play a low repetitive tone over and over again, meant to relax the mind so that they may better be able to induce hypnotic state for treatment.
Consider now the age of electronica, where synthesized computer generated sounds have replaced the ancient strings and drums. Consider the new messengers, the DJ's and the Artists. If associations between trance music and drug use weren't so strong, it might be safe to believe that this genre of music might easily be the most popular in the world, for people of all ages.
I often wonder myself, how I fall asleep in my music studio with music pounding. I sometimes lie down on the couch, not tired at all, close my eyes, and just listen to my track. Then, three hours later, I get up and the song is still pumping, still looping. As producers or DJ's, we accept and enjoy the music. By accepting it, we may be also self inducing trance like states for ourselves. Last week, I heard an Armin Van Buuren CD playing at a yoga studio across the street from me. Very interesting approach? Or possibly, are people coming to terms with the idea that trance music can serve other purposes.
As a producer myself, I never think that my music will induce trance like states. I never expect it to calm someone. I have friends, who only listen to my music because they know me, and think they like it. Sometimes I hear from them, telling me how they listen every morning in the car. I usually don't believe them, but am now wondering are they listening because it calms them. Is there some sort of hidden effect?
Such questions have been answered by some scientists. Those in the study of brain waves often refer to Theta Waves as being responsible for calmness or relaxation. What they have also noted, empirically, is that trance music of the modern era seems to stimulate this type of brain activity.