Our brains produce “sweeping” electrical charges. These charges create a rhythm know as brain wave patterns. These patterns are observable through electroencephalograph (EEG) instruments. EEGs record and measure large amounts of neurons firing in unison. Brain wave patterns are commonly grouped into four different categories: beta, alpha, theta and delta. Each of these brain wave patterns is associated with various states of mind.
Beta waves are quick, low amplitude waves of 14 to 40 times per second (Hz). Beta brain wave patterns are generated naturally when in an awake, alert state of consciousness. Beta waves are produced when you perform any task that requires you to concentrate.
Alpha waves oscillate between 8 and 13 Hz. Alpha waves occur during sensorial rest (eg. when the eyes are closed), intellectual relaxation, deep relaxation, meditation or quietening of the mind. Alpha waves are the desired results of meditators. Traditional methods of meditation may require 10 years of practice to produce good alpha waves.
Alpha brain wave rhythms produce:
(1) peaceful feelings
(2) warm hands and feet
(3) a sense of well-being
(4) improved sleep
(5) improved academic performance
(6) increased productivity in the workplace
(7) reduced anxiety
(8) improved immune functioning
It is believed that many creative geniuses, such as Einstein, were in a semi-permanent alpha state. Most of these insightful people had poor grades in school and were thought to be slow learners. Perhaps they were too busy creating to pay attention in class.
These sessions are the Schumann Resonance and the State Five Meditation. At the Alpha/Theta border (7 to 8 Hz), exceptional insights and personal transforming experiences happen. Anger, resentment or buried, troubling memories from childhood dissolve more quickly.
Theta waves are between 4 and 8 Hz. This is commonly referred to as the dream or “twilight” state. Theta is associated with hypnogogic states, REM and dreaming. Memory development is enhanced in this state. In the theta brain wave state, memory is improved (particularly long term memory), and access to unconscious material, reveries, free association, sudden insight and creative ideas are increased. It’s a mysterious, elusive state of mind. For a long time researchers couldn’t study this brain state because subjects had difficulty maintaining this state for any period of time without falling asleep (which generates large amounts of theta).
This rhythm is observed when in a sleeping state. As we fall asleep the dominant natural brain wave becomes delta. Delta waves are the slowest of brain waves spanning from 1 to 4 Hz in frequency. There is growing evidence that individuals may maintain a slightly conscious state while in delta.
All brain wave states serve important mental functions. However, research has shown that the natural, healthy alpha rhythm is very close to 10 Hz. In today’s lifestyle, the return to a peaceful, mind/body way of being has become difficult to achieve and maintain for any period of time. This difficulty causes disease, maladies and disorders in the body and mind. This is why it is so important for us to relearn or retrain our brains to get back to higher levels of alpha. Slow alpha, alpha/theta border and theta can indicate slow brain wave mental disorders. Closed-head injury, fibromyalgia, and cognitive impairments all contain excess levels of these slow brain waves.