There are 5 brain waves or electric pattern each person has. Namely, the Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta Waves arranged from fastest to slowest. It is important to our health and wellbeing to balance the time we spend in each brainwave. Constant subjection to alpha and beta range waves can leave us over stimulated and drained. The Alpha-Theta Border where you are in the middle of your conscious and subconscious mind reflects a “flow” state where constant creativity and optimal performance takes place. Many athletes and creatives thrive in this state because they can combine rapid decisions with creative insight that is not possible from the beta range. Nevertheless, if we are not taking enough time to retreat completely from everything going on in our environment our body loses the ability to heal and boost the immune system naturally -we never reboot, recalibrate, or fully rejuvenate.
At the root of all our thoughts, emotions and behaviors is the communication between neurons within our brains. Brainwaves are produced by synchronized electrical pulses from masses of neurons communicating with each other.
Brainwaves are detected using sensors placed on the scalp. Brainwave speed is measured in Hertz (cycles per second). The first brain waves ever detected were the Alpha Brain Waves which was discovered by Hans Berger on year 1929. They are divided into bandwidths to describe their functions (below), but are best thought of as a continuous spectrum of consciousness; from slow, loud and functional - to fast, subtle, and complex.
The low frequency waves are like a deeply penetrating drum beat, while the higher frequency brainwaves are more like a subtle high pitched flute. When there is a healthy balance these waves should sound like a symphony, the higher and lower frequencies meld with each other to create a lovely harmony.
Our brainwaves change according to what we’re doing and feeling. When slower brainwaves are dominant we can feel tired, slow, sluggish, or dreamy. The higher frequencies are dominant when we feel wired, or hyper-alert.
Brainwave speed is measured in Hertz (cycles per second) and they are divided into bands delineating slow, moderate, and fast waves:
Infra-Low brainwaves (also known as Slow Cortical Potentials), are thought to be the basic cortical rythms that underlie our higher brain functions. Very little is known about infra-low brainwaves. Their slow nature make them difficult to detect and accurately measure, so few studies have been done. They appear to take a major role in brain timing and network function.
DELTA WAVES (.5 TO 3 HZ)
Delta brainwaves are slow, loud brainwaves (low frequency and deeply penetrating, like a drum beat). They are generated in deepest meditation and dreamless sleep. Delta waves suspend external awareness and are the source of empathy. Healing and regeneration are stimulated in this state, and that is why deep restorative sleep is so essential to the healing process.
THETA WAVES (3 TO 8 HZ)
Theta brainwaves occur most often in sleep but are also dominant in deep meditation. Theta is our gateway to learning, memory, and intuition. In theta, our senses are withdrawn from the external world and focused on signals originating from within. It is that twilight state which we normally only experience fleetingly as we wake or drift off to sleep. In theta we are in a dream; vivid imagery, intuition and information beyond our normal conscious awareness. It’s where we hold our ‘stuff’, our fears, troubled history, and nightmares.
ALPHA WAVES (8 TO 12 HZ)
Alpha brainwaves are dominant during quietly flowing thoughts, and in some meditative states. Alpha is ‘the power of now’, being here, in the present. Alpha is the resting state for the brain. Alpha waves aid overall mental coordination, calmness, alertness, mind/body integration and learning.
BETA WAVES (12 TO 38 HZ)
Beta brainwaves dominate our normal waking state of consciousness when attention is directed towards cognitive tasks and the outside world. Beta is a ‘fast’ activity, present when we are alert, attentive, engaged in problem solving, judgment, decision making, or focused mental activity.
Beta brainwaves are further divided into three bands; Lo-Beta (Beta1, 12-15Hz) can be thought of as a 'fast idle', or musing. Beta (Beta2, 15-22Hz) is high engagement or actively figuring something out. Hi-Beta (Beta3, 22-38Hz) is highly complex thought, integrating new experiences, high anxiety, or excitement. Continual high frequency processing is not a very efficient way to run the brain, as it takes a tremendous amount of energy.
GAMMA WAVES (38 TO 42 HZ)
Gamma brainwaves are the fastest of brain waves (high frequency, like a flute), and relate to simultaneous processing of information from different brain areas. Gamma brainwaves pass information rapidly and quietly. The most subtle of the brainwave frequencies, the mind has to be quiet to access gamma.
Gamma was dismissed as 'spare brain noise' until researchers discovered it was highly active when in states of universal love, altruism, and the ‘higher virtues’. Gamma is also above the frequency of neuronal firing, so how it is generated remains a mystery. It is speculated that gamma rhythms modulate perception and consciousness, and that a greater presence of gamma relates to expansion.
How does this relate to health?
Our brainwave profile and our daily experience of the world are inseparable. When our brainwaves are out of balance, there will be corresponding problems in our emotional health and physical health. Research has identified brainwave patterns associated with all sorts of emotional and neurological conditions. Over-arousal in certain brain areas is linked with anxiety disorders, sleep problems, nightmares, hyper-vigilance, impulsive behavior, anger/aggression, agitated depression, chronic nerve pain and spasticity. Under-arousal in certain brain areas leads to some types of depression, attention deficit, chronic pain and insomnia. A combination of under-arousal and over-arousal is seen in cases of anxiety, depression and ADHD.
Let me say that again. Instabilities in brain rhythms correlate with tics, obsessive-compulsive disorder, aggressive behavior, rage, bruxism, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, migraines, narcolepsy, epilepsy, sleep apnea, vertigo, tinnitus, anorexia/bulimia, PMT, diabetes, hypoglycemia and explosive behavior. Look it up.
ALTERING YOUR BRAINWAVES
By rule of thumb, any process that changes your perception changes your brainwaves. The most common methods to alter brain function include chemical interventions such as medications or recreational drugs. Additionally; however subtle the language we speak is at the core of our perception. So, does our Grammar play a major role in sentencing us to terms within the alpha and beta frequency?
It is possible to control your brainwave through repetition and mind/body balance of diet sleep and exercise. To start compare what your brain is actually doing (how you are actually feeling) at any given moment to what you'd like it to be doing (how you would like to feel). Then, whenever your brain is nearing a more comfortable state, you are rewarded with a positive response from within yourself -because you’re getting what you want and aware of it. Over time, the sort of positive biofeedback self-rewarding system will train your brain to behave the way you want it to. Now isn't that music you your ears?
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