Understanding Brain Waves
Our brains operate on frequencies, these frequencies have designations called waves. These waves are separated in to form and function. Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta and Gamma waves all operate to serve us during circumstances that we create for them. Understanding how these operate will give you a clearer idea of how we can use manipulation of these to create a more favorable environment for growth and productivity.
Beta waves have a low amplitude but are the fastest of the four brain waves. We emit Beta waves when the brain is aroused and engaged in mental activities. For example when we are in conversation with another person we would be in a Beta state. If we were teaching, speaking, or engaged with our work these would all be Beta states. Typically Beta waves will range in frequency from 15 to 40 cycles a second.
According to frequency order Alpha brainwaves are next. They are much slower than the Beta waves and have a higher amplitude. Alpha waves represent non-arousal and calmness. When someone takes time out to rest or meditate they are typically in an Alpha state. It is when we calm our mind and feel peaceful. Alpha waves can range in frequency from 9 to 14 cycles.
Theta waves are even slower than the Alpha waves and have higher amplitude. Theta waves can be difficult to accomplish because they require a complete break from our conscious reality. Sometimes when we daydream we are in a Theta state. Most of us have experienced times when we simply blank out from the world, where we are daydreaming or perhaps driving and suddenly realize we can’t remember the last ten minutes of the drive. Theta waves are often induced by things of a repetitious nature when our actions become so automatic that our mind disengages. Often great ideas will flow while experiencing Theta waves and there are many positive healing benefits to being in a Theta state. The frequency range of Theta waves is typically between 5 and 8 cycles per second.
We experience Delta waves when we are in deep dreamless sleep. Our brain frequency in this state is very slow and of the greatest amplitude.The frequency range is usually somewhere between 1.5 to 4 cycles per second. To give you an idea of how low of a frequency this is… if the frequency should reach zero we would be brain dead. So it is about as slow as one can get without damage to our brains.
Some researchers do not distinguish gamma waves as a unique class but instead include them in with beta brain waves. In the past gamma waves were not researched to the same extent as the other four brain waves. Today they have gained more popularity and are known to be associated with perception and consciousness. Gamma waves can be between 26 and 70 Hz but most often corresponds to frequencies of 40 Hz or higher. It has been shown that gamma waves are typically present during the process of awakening as well as during active rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
During the day we are usually in a Beta state. When we go to bed and possibly read a book for awhile we will likely be in a low Beta state. Once we turn the lights off and close our eyes our brainwaves will begin to descend from Beta, to Alpha and eventually to Theta. Once we fall deep asleep we will experience the Delta waves. Gamma waves are present when we are awakening from sleep as well as during REM sleep.
Once you have knowledge of the specific brainwave states you can then make use of them to your benefit. For example we now know that our most active work needs to be done in the Beta state but our most creative work will likely be most productive while we are in the Alpha state.
Many people want to experience the Theta brainwaves on a regular basis. The shift in consciousness that occurs while in this state and the abundant healing properties of Theta waves are enough to make any person want to be able to experience them “on command’. Unfortunately they are not so easy to achieve. Many years of practicing yoga or meditation has been known to help many experience Theta brainwaves. This however takes a lot of time and discipline.
So, what is the significance to brainwaves and training? We can program our brain waves while training to optimize concentration and focus on the mind-muscle connection with Binaural beats.
In order to really be able to optimize the affects of this type of training, we must make slowing our mind a priority. Binaural beats will only work so well if the “noise” in our own head is so strong that you are unwilling to slow it down and switch from complete distraction, to complete focus. You may feel focused when your in the gym, but getting into the zone when you are pissed, or have lots of stress going on in the rest of your life only serves to propagate distraction because you are basically distracting yourself from distraction. It may feel good, but the autonomic part of the body is responding in the fight or flight mode, and wreaking more havoc inside your body than you realize. Athletes tend to “guard” physically and emotionally so much when focusing on a something specific, like a competition, that you can’t feel when something is going wrong in your body, until its too late and a few months or years later serious issues start to take form, you need to stop distracting yourself and start focusing on being aware of yourself.
Binaural Beats work like this. One frequency of a tone goes in one ear, another frequency goes into the other ear. In the equilibrium of the auditory control center of the brain, the two frequencies align to enhance a particular frequency in the brain. These work best when wearing headphones. Once you put the beats on, give it a few minutes and the outside world will start to fade away, it feels almost like you go into your own bubble of reality, its only you, and your focus is on whatever it is you want to think about. At the gym, as you begin your workout, and that level of focus with no outside distraction, allows the concentration to be much higher on the weights and muscle contraction. This concentration allows for stronger nerve impulses to signal from the brain to skeletal muscle, allowing for deeper and more intense contractions that you have ever experienced. It is amazing how intense this zone can be, and you wont even realize it while your in it, time almost ceases to exist, it all becomes about getting the most compete and intense muscle contraction possible. Try this a few times, these beats can also be used for studying, helping with insomnia to go to sleep, or any time you need a stress reliever. Use this method in combination with the breathing technique I outlined in the self-awareness section, and you are heading to the next level my friend.
You can search on YouTube for binaural beats, I suggest trying the ones designed for concentration and focus in the gym, they have all types, search with whatever keyword fits your circumstances and give it a shot. Be sure to give it a few times, it will bring you outside your comfort zone especially if you live a very distracted life, once you get into that zone though, you will understand the power of true concentration.