What Are Alpha Brain Waves? Benefits and Effects of Alpha Waves in Meditation and Binaural Beats
Table of Contents
- Occurrence, Effects and Benefits of Alpha waves
- Alpha waves in Meditation (Alpha images vs Theta images)
- Specific frequencies of Alpha waves and their effects on humans (frequency list)
- Alpha Block
The brain is made up of an uncountable amount of neurons, which all communicate with each other via electrical impulses. These impulses result in waves, which can be detected and measured with an EEG. That's why our brain always is in a certain brainwave state. These brainwave states can be altered, which will be discussed later in this article.
During the day, when we are awake, there are two brain waves that dominate most of all. These are beta and alpha waves. During a thinking process (working, reading, calculating, talking etc.) our brain waves are mostly beta brain waves. When we relax or do an activity that doesn't need much thinking (like watching TV) the brain enters the alpha brain wave state.
Quick overview of brain waves
Occurence, Importance and Benefits of Alpha waves
All brain waves are important and there needs to be a healthy equilibrium. Too much beta results in extremely stressed persons and in a deficit of other brain waves. Too much alpha waves are not that good either, because individuals might "become slower".
Alpha waves can be seen as the "relaxing waves". Besides being quite relaxing, they also have an extremely important role to play in the human mind. They work as a bridge between the subconscious part of the mind (theta waves) and the conscious part of the mind (beta waves).
Information, feelings, creativity, memories, which are deep down in one's mind, cannot become conscious if there is no bridge (no alpha waves), between the two states of mind.
There is a phenomenon, which is called "Alpha Block". It will be discussed later.
Alpha waves typically occur, when someone is lying on his couch with closed eyes and simply takes some time for him or her. They also occur in early stages of meditation. Alpha waves can also be induced or stimulated to be produced more frequently and easily with alpha binaural beats (see below).
There are a number of benefits of alpha waves. The most obvious are that you become calmer and more relaxed. It has also many effects on the body. For example, it slows down the heart rate, which can be effective against heart problems, the body finds more time to regenerate and it even has a very positive effect on learning speed and memorization.
Alpha waves in Meditation
Alpha waves occur at the beginning of a meditation, when you clear your mind. The deeper you go the deeper states of mind you can achieve. In terms of brain waves, these are theta waves and in rare cases delta and epsilon waves. When you return from a meditation, you surely want to remember the meditation, the feeling, the experience. Without alpha waves at the end of a meditation, you will have a very hard time remembering it (making it conscious). I recommend that you tell yourself you are ending your mediation and breathe quite fast a few times. This induces many alpha waves and you can make your experience conscious by keeping a meditation diary or by talking of it, thinking of it and so on.
During a meditation you might have flashes of pictures in both alpha and theta state of mind. There are some differences:
Alpha images vs Theta images
not that sharp
easy on command (e.g. during sensualization)
not possible on command
less meaningful; not from deep within
very personal; can be surrouneded by light; unexplicable knowledge of having to do something; feels like divine inspiration/gift; blue & violets colors indicate strong theta activity
What do you think of this Alpha brain wave article?
Specific frequencies of Alpha waves and their effects on humans
I will provide you with an overview of all frequencies of alpha wave and their most important effects on the human mind and the body. Moreover, there are linked youtube videos, which can be listened to in order to increase alpha waves. The science behind it are binaural beats. Two beats have a specific amplitude and the brain creates a third beat, which is the difference of the two beats in the track. The brain assimilates the third tone and tunes into the frequency.
For example, first beat is 220 Hz. Second beat is 210 Hz. The created alpha wave is 10 Hz.
12 Hz - mental clarity; "doorway" to all other frequencies; association with throat chakra
11.5 Hz - association with increased intelligence and mental efficiency
11 Hz - achieve "relaxed yet alert" state
10.5 Hz - activity, energy, freedom; ability of achievement; improves immunity, body healing, lowering blood pressure
10 Hz - mood elevator; universally beneficial; good for learning; good against a hangover or jet lag; increased alertness due to several chemicals being produced in the body; improvement in memory, spelling and reading; can be used as a treatment against ADD and ADHD (consult your doctor first)
9.5 Hz - bridge between subconscious and conscious minds
9 Hz - balances they body and makes aware of imbalances; association with the Sacral chakra
8.5 Hz - no studies have shown a specific effect, though I had users, commentating that it is their favorite frequency
The alpha block occurs, when someone only has very little or no alpha wave activity. This is often the case, when you are too stressed out over a longer period of time. People have the feeling that they know that there is something deep inside them, but they simply cannot access it at all. This can be unfulfilled creativity, a very personal memory about something very bad (like child molestation, alcoholic parent(s), a dramatic event and so on).
If one would measure his brain waves with an EEG, it will show that there is a lot of theta brain wave activity going on (because there are so many unfulfilled subconscious need or locked away memories) and a lot of beta brain wave activity. But barely no alpha waves.
This individual will not be able to access that deep lying information. He will need to increase his alpha waves with brainwave entrainment or other methods.
There we see the importance of alpha waves as a bridge!
All Alpha Waves (12Hz - 8.5Hz) with progressive increase (Binaural Beats)
How to increase Alpha waves
People, suffering from an alpha block or who desire having more alpha waves, can do the following techniques:
- Sometimes, it can be very helpful to simply relax the tongue! The tongue is associated with talking (obviously) and talking means active brain activity. By relaxing the tongue, the mind normally calms down too. This is usually experienced as being relaxing, which increases alpha waves activity. I recommend that to do at the beginning of a meditation or when you are simply lying and/or listening to some relaxing music of your choice.
- An extremely effective approach to cultivate more alpha waves is to listen to "guided fantasy meditations". Normally, it's a YouTube video (or a mp3 file), in which a person is talking to you and telling you what to imagine. You are required to use as many senses as possible in order to imagine as vividly as possible. There are other fantasy guided meditations that help you increase theta brain waves activity. There are lots of different YouTubers making such videos. Look for someone with a nice, calming voice and follow the instructions.
- There is also an alternative to this. You can, for example, imagine your day in the mornings. Do not use any words, use your other senses and use as many as possible. I noticed that for many people it is quite easy to do so while taking a shower in the morning.
- Another way to increase alpha waves in your brain is to listen to alpha binaural beats on a daily basis.
How often do you listen to Alpha binaural beats?
When I first read about them, I only thought of them as relaxing waves. Theta, delta, gamma waves and so on seemed much more exciting to me and I didn't spend much time with alpha waves. Later, I read a scientific book ("The High Performance Mind") and the author explained the importance of alpha waves very good and successfully conveyed the importance of alpha waves to me.
Even though other brain waves are a lot more exciting (in my opinion), you should never forget about the importance of alpha waves. Unmistakably, they cannot be neglected as the waves that connect your subconsious mind with your conscious mind!
Book Reviews (regarding Brain Waves and Meditation):
- The High Performance Mind
- Awakening the Mind
Nikola Tesla on Alpha Waves
© 2013 Slaven Cvijetic