Understanding The Benefits Of Brainwaves
If like me you have been interested and active in the mind-body-spirit movement for any length of time I’m pretty sure that you have used creative visualisation. Most likely you have heard about or used some form of brainwave entrainment too.
So what are brainwaves?
Brain is made up of billions of brain cells called neurons, which use electricity to communicate with each other.
The combination of millions of neurons sending signals at once produces a significant amount of electrical activity in the brain, which can be detected using sensitive medical equipment such as an electroencephalogram (EEG). This electrical activity of the brain is commonly known as a Brainwave pattern, because of its cyclic, ‘wave-like’ nature.
We can train and make our brain healthy by learning meditation and relaxation techniques with sound exclusively composed sound frequencies.
Binaural beats allows us to rapidly enter states of relaxation, focus, high-energy, or meditation whenever we want.
The Five Categories of Brainwaves
Delta (0.1-3.9 Hz )
Human growth hormone released
deep, trace-like, non-physical state, loss of body awareness
Access to unconscious and “collective unconscious” mind
Theta (3.5 -7.9 Hz )
deep relaxation, twilight state
Increased production of catecholamines ( vital for learning and memory ), Increased creativity
Integrative, emotional experiences, potential changes in behaviour, increased retention of learned material
Hypnagogic imagery, trance, deep meditation, access to unconscious mind
Alpha (8-13.9 Hz)
Relaxation, super learning, relaxed focus, light trance, increased serotonin production
beginning of access to unconscious mind
Beta (14-30 Hz alert, focused)
Concentration, arousal, alertness, cognition
higher levels associated with anxiety, disease, feelings of separation, fight or flight.
Gamma (40 Hz)
Having high levels of intelligence
having high amounts of self-control
having greater than average feelings of natural happiness.
Increased awareness through your five senses
(0.1 to 3.5 Hz deep)
This is the slowest band of waves that our brains produce and they occur when we are in deep, dreamless sleep. These waves are very beneficial for the body which restores and heals itself when in this state. The delta state releases anti-aging hormones, including melatonin and DHEA. Human growth hormone (HGH) is another anti-aging hormone that is increased when delta brainwaves are occurring inside the brain, due to the stimulation of the pituitary gland. HGH maintains the skin, bone density, cartilage, and the joints in your body as well as speeds up the healing process of joint and cartilage injuries. HGH can also help heal physical pain.
n healthy amounts, delta brainwaves can also cause a person to have an advanced state of empathy, understanding, and compassion for others.
Delta is the place of deepest relaxation, deepest healing, deepest spiritual connection and deepest connection with the subconscious mind. It is considered to be the gateway to the unconscious mind and the collective unconscious, bringing access to the universal psyche or mind.
(3.5 -7.9 Hz )
Theta brainwave states have been used in meditation for centuries: It is common for people to feel as if they are in a trance, where the mind feels as though it may have gone to sleep although it is conscious of what is happening around it. Theta induces a capacity for prolonged daydreaming, where a loss of time may be experienced.
Theta waves are also conducive to visualization and creativity and the mind in this very relaxed state is highly receptive to direct suggestion under hypnosis. As with Alpha, in Theta our brain hemispheres are synchronized and we experience whole brain functioning.
Features and benefits of Theta brainwaves
- Increased sense of inner peace and emotional stability
- Deep relaxation
- Improved memory
- Heightened intuition and inspiration
- Calms the chatter of your mind
- Increased psychic abilities and sense of spiritual connection
Health benefits of Theta brainwaves
- Speed healing, improved physical healing
- Sleep onset and better more restful sleep
- Release beneficial hormones related to health and longevity
- Reduce mental fatigue
- Reduction of anxiety and stress
NOTE: Research has proven thirty minutes a day of Theta meditation can dramatically improve a person’s overall health and well-being. Theta meditation has also been known to result in a reduced need for sleep.
These are lower frequency waves: The state is generated when our thoughts are really not concentrated and our minds wonder freely, or we are in a relaxed state such as meditating or daydreaming. We also experience Alpha Brainwaves when we are gently busy with routine tasks like pottering in the garden, taking a shower, putting on makeup, doing light housework. Alpha is considered to be the bridge between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind.
Features and Benefits of an Alpha State
- Our brain hemispheres become naturally synchronized, or in-phase with each other.
- Relaxed detached (absent-minded) awareness and daydreaming mind.
- Enables us to remember our dreams and meditative states.
- Link between conscious and subconscious mind, gateway to meditation.
- Receptive to casual and auto – suggestions (hypnosis state)
- Increased vividness benefits creative visualization and triggers imagination
- Increased memory retention , concentration & focus for super learning
Health benefits include:
- Reduced anxiety
- Alleviates stress and depression
- Reduces chronic pain
- Reduction of high blood pressure
- Increases athletic performance
- Increased cerebral blood flow
- Increased motivation, energy, and happiness
(14-30 Hz alert, focused)
Beta is the most common brain wave pattern: Beta brainwaves are produced when we are wide awake, alert, active and engaged in mental activity, usually involving more the rational, reality-oriented left hemisphere of our brain. When beta wave activity becomes very intense, our brain hemispheres become less synchronized. Beta state is required to function properly in your everyday life.
Features and Benefits of a Beta State
- This is the brainwave for the fight-flight response
- Increased concentration and alertness
- Improved logic, reasoning and critical thinking
- Feelings of anxiety, stress, scatty unfocused thought
NOTE: Excessive Beta brainwaves are also a feature of insomnia
Gamma brainwave states are the most rapid in frequency. The brainwave that is able to link and process information from all parts of the brain is Gamma waves. It is the frequency that brings with it the ability to process large amounts of information in relatively small amounts of time. Think of generating more Gamma activity as getting a processor upgrade for your brain.
Unfortunately Gamma brainwaves have received the least attention and research, although more attention is currently being paid to them.
Having high amounts of Gamma Brainwave activity has been associated with:
- Having high levels of intelligence
- Being compassionate
- Having high amounts of self-control
- Having greater than average feelings of natural happiness.
- Increased awareness through your five senses
Research has indicated at moments when bursts of precognition or high-level information processing occur, your brainwaves briefly reach the Gamma state.
Each of us can use brainwave to achieve a variety of results. You may want to target a specific brainwave frequency range to help you relax, On the other hand you may want to increase your creative energy, improve your memory, deepen your sleep or get better results when playing a sport.
What are the benefits of modifying our brainwaves?
In general, we are accustomed to being in the beta brain rhythm. We are in a Beta brainwave pattern when we are consciously alert. It is the default and dominant brainwave for most of us most of the time. We are in Beta when we feel agitated, tense, hurried, pressured, afraid and stressed. The frequencies range from 13 to 60 pulses per second in the Hertz scale.
When we learn to use brain in rhythm to alpha, we are slowing our brainwaves down. The benefit of this is that we put ourselves in the ideal brain state for optimal performance and super learning. We become better at analysing complex situations, learning new information, memorising data, and performing elaborate tasks some forms of meditation, relaxation exercises, and activities that enable a sense of calm, also naturally create this alpha state.
According to neuroscientists, the effect of decreasing the brain rhythm from beta to alpha via deep relaxation techniques and the use of binaural beats brain entrainment, changes the levels of certain beneficial brain chemicals.
Studies show that alpha states significantly increase beta-endorphin, norepinephrine and dopamine. These naturally occurring chemicals are linked to feelings of expanded mental clarity and generate an internal environment for new learning and accessing previously learned information. This positive effect lasts for hours and even days.