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What Are Brain Waves (Theta, Delta, Alpha, Beta Brain Waves)? What Is Brainwave Entrainment?
What is the definition of "brain waves"?
The brain constitutes of a countless amount of neurons, which all communicated with each other. That electrical activity can be measured with special equipment, the EEG. The EEG (electroencephalogram) measures the electrical activity over an area of the brain. The resulting map is called a “brain wave pattern”, because the neurons use brain waves for communication. Brain waves are measured in Hertz (Hz).
There are several different brain wave types, which will be discussed in this article. Different types of brain waves are associated with different states of consciousness (e.g. being asleep or awake or even meditative states). Brain waves are also associated with different benefits for the body and for the mind. For example, the human growth hormone, HGH, is normally released in sleep. The HGH is very important, because is needed for bone growth, hair growth and for the body in order to grow at all! This can also be induced with the help of binaural beats (will be discussed later) without being asleep. Another benefit is that very to extremely relaxed states of body and mind can be induced. There are, of course, countless other benefits and association of brain waves. For now, let’s take a look at the different types of brain waves and when they normally are produced by the brain.
Beta brain waves - "thinking waves"
Beta brain waves range from 12.5 Hz to nearly 40 Hz. Your brain produces many beta waves during your waking state. When you are solving a math problem, reading or focusing on any kind of problem which requires a thinking process (in words) your brain produces beta waves. That means beta brain waves can be imagined as the “working brain waves”.
They can be also produced when someone is angry, since this leads to an increase in certain parts of the brain.
Having too many beta brain waves during the day will eventually become very harmful to a human being, since other brain waves, such as alpha brain waves, are not produced or just a too little amount. People often encounter health issues such as stress, unconcentration and even depressions. Depressed people show a very unhealthy amount of beta brain waves in an EEG.
More can be read in the full beta brain wave article.
Alpha brain waves - "relaxation waves and gate to other brain waves"
Alpha brain waves are the other brain waves, which people have in a normal waking state of consciousness. They range from 12 Hz to 8.5 Hz. They tend to occur more often, when people are relaxed rather than when they are focused on a task. Alpha brain waves can be thought as the “chill brain waves”.
Having a healthy amount of alpha brain waves is very important! There needs to be a balance between beta and alpha brain waves, otherwise, the individual will encounter different mental and physical problems.
By inducing an alpha brain waves state of mind, one feels more relaxed and the emotional well-being is supported. Also, the heart rate slows down, which is healthy for the heart and the body is able to “recover” itself more easily than in a stressed-out beta state.
Another very important aspect of the alpha brain waves is that it is a “bridge” to your subconscious mind. This is especially important in meditation. If a person has a so called “alpha block” (someone, who does not produce alpha brain waves or only a little amount) he will have the feeling that there is something deep inside him. This can be, for example, inaccessible creative power or an emotional issue which is in the subconscious mind and cannot become really conscious.
In meditations, it is important to have enough alpha brain waves, a bridge, which can make the deep experiences become conscious and actually remember them.
So, stimulating alpha brain waves with binaural beats is often very beneficial for anyone, be it a person with an emotional issue, a meditator and so on.
There are far more benefits of increasing alpha brain waves than mentioned in this article. For more information and how to induce those brain waves, read the full alpha brain waves article.
Pure theta waves
Theta brain waves - "creative waves"
Theta brain waves are associated with the subconscious mind. They range from 8 Hz down to 4.5 Hz. Theta waves do not normally occur in a waking state. They are often associated with sleeping and dreaming. Musicians, painters and other people who do a creative work tend to have more theta waves and produce even more theta brain waves when they are, for example, playing on the piano or painting.
So, theta brain waves not only have to do with sleeping and dreaming, but also with creativity and with spirituality. Stimulating your brain to produce more theta waves with binaural beats does increase creativity and can enhance learning. There is also a term called “super-learning”. It has been shown that people, who have a lot of theta waves (for example, after a deep meditation) can learn information at a much faster rate than usual.
In meditation, people access the theta brain wave state eventually. There are numerous results. One of them is that people gain more personal insight. They learn more about themselves and might be confronted with issues lying deep inside a person’s mind. This can be revealed as a picture or a scene – it’s different in every person! Once again, if there are not enough alpha brain waves at the end of a meditation, one will most probably forget it right away and will not have enough time to write them down in a journal to make the experience fully conscious.
Again, more information on theta brain waves, their benefits, how to access them and more, can be found in the full theta brain waves article.
Delta waves - 1.05 Hz (special frequency that stimulates the Pineal Gland)
More binaural beats tracks can be found on my YouTube channel.
Delta brain waves - "intuitive waves"
Delta brain waves are associated with the unconscious mind. They have a range from 4 Hz to 0.5 Hz. Delta waves occur in deep dreamless sleep. They never occur in a waking state and it is very hard to maintain fully conscious in a meditation if someone actually manages it to go that deep down.
Delta waves are also associated with intuition, empathy, hormones, such as the human growth hormone (HGH) and more. Stimulating the brain to increase the production of delta brain waves can be done with binaural beats, for example. Delta binaural beats are the most relaxing of all. People often feel calmer, happier and also more emotionally connected to other people and they can understand other people’s feelings better in general. Also, the production of hormones, such as Serotonin, which makes you feel happy, and HGH is increased. Exposing the brain to delta binaural beats for a longer period of time during the day can result in a better general well-being and understanding of emotional depth. Also, likewise in the theta state, learning also becomes easier.
Delta brain waves have far more associations and benefits than mentioned here. Sometimes, it is not recommended to increase delta waves in your brain. For more information, read the full delta waves article.
Those four brain wave types are the four “main” brain waves. There are rather extraordinary brain waves, which have been discovered recently.
Pure epsilon waves
Special brain wave types (Gamma and Lambda & Epsilon waves)
Gamma brain waves
Gamma brain waves tend to occur more often in very smart people, when they are doing something, what they enjoy very much. For example, when Albert Einstein was working on his relativity theories, he must have had a lot of gamma brain wave activity.
Gamma brain waves range from 40 Hz to 100 Hz. There is a subtype of gamma waves, namely “hyper gamma waves”. Their frequency is 100 Hz and more!
I like to call them “the genius brain waves”. They are also extremely fast and reach all parts in the brain.
People, who practive the “loving-kindness meditation” (Metta meditation) also seem to have a lot of gamma brain wave activity. They often feel a universal connection, but also a deep feeling of inner peace and unconditional love.
Gamma brain waves are something very exciting. More can be read in the full gamma waves article!
Lambda and Epsilon brain waves
Lambda and epsilon brain waves are the most recent brain waves to be discovered. Lambda brain waves have an extraordinarily high frequency, namely 200 Hz and more!!
Epsilon brain waves are at the exact opposite brain waves spectrum. They are 0.5 Hz and below. They are slower than delta brain waves! For example, they were found in Buddhist monks, which were in an immensely deep meditation.
Lambda and epsilon waves occur together in an “out of body experience”. In an EEG, it seemed as if the lambda waves were riding on the epsilon waves. But these waves are still quite mysterious to humans, since they normally occur under very, very special states of consciousness.
Binaural Beats and brainwave entrainment
In this article, I have often mentioned the term “binaural beats”.
In a nutshell, it is an audio file. This audio file is purely made of 2 beats. Those beats of course have a certain frequency. Headphones are needed to experience all the benefits from binaural beats, because on the right ear a beat is heard, and the other beat is heard on the left ear.
For example, the right binaural beat has a frequency of 120 Hz. The left binaural beat has a frequency of 125 Hz. When one listens to them, they sound like “woop-woop-woop” and so on. The brain is directly influenced by them and creates a third beat. The third beat is the difference of the two beats. This means, the third beat has a frequency of 5 Hz.
And what does this exactly mean? The brain is stimulated by the third beat (5 Hz) and the brain waves start to have 5 Hz as their frequency. And as we now know, this is the frequency of the theta brain waves. The brain is simulated in the theta brain wave state of mind!
That way, one can take advantage of the theta waves benefits! Of course, there are other conditions to fully benefit from them. For example, one would need to calm down first and so on. There is a more elaborate article, which explains how to benefit from certain brain wave states as good as possible.
Brainwave entrainment means that a human being listens to one kind of brain waves (or to several) over a longer time and stimulates the brain to produce the desired brain wave state naturally.
Quick summary of the definition of brain waves
Book Reviews (regarding Brain Waves and Meditation):
- The High Performance Mind
- Awakening the Mind
© 2013 Slaven Cvijetic