What are brain waves? Brain waves are manifestations of brain activity. But do we have different kinds of brain waves? Brain waves are a reflection of more or less brain activity and more or less synchronized that can involve any region of the brain.
Brain neurons use electricity to communicate with each other. This electricity can be recorded with a device called Electro Encephalo Gram (EEG). The brain generates different waves depending on the activity it is doing. Brain waves can, therefore, be used by scientists to obtain information on brain activity at a given time.
There is a complete and unitary consciousness even though there are different parts of the brain that work differently. That is to say, each region where is housed, for example, a sense, emits a different wave frequency and the brain collects all the data and simplifies them as single consciousness or individual information.
So where do they come from all those different kinds of brain waves? The answer lies in neuronal synchrony. The neuronal discharges of a cognitive or intellectual process are synchronized with each other forming transitional networks integrated into the neurological processes. These processes form an activity model capable of modifying the synaptic state or producing physical changes in a sustainable manner over time.
Consequently, any cognitive act involves the coordination of many neuronal regions and this coordination becomes evident when the neurons are synchronized, that is, when their waves “move up and down” at the same time and at the same frequency.
This synchrony occurs in different parts of the human brain and explains the coherence and unity of mental processes, human consciousness being a fact that occurs between phases. That is why, right now, neuroscience is studying the mental processes that must or are related to mental training and brainwaves.
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1. Different Kinds of Brain Waves
Our brain keeps active 5 different kinds of brain waves throughout the day. Depending on what we do at a given moment, some waves will show greater activity in some areas of our brain and others will work with less intensity in other areas, but none will be, so to speak, “disconnected” .
There are 5 different kinds of brain waves that work almost like musical notes. Some act at a low frequency, others at a higher frequency. However, together they are able to form a harmony where our thoughts, emotions, and sensations can reach a perfect balance so that we feel more attentive and receptive to everything around us.
*** Beta Waves
They have a frequency of 13 to 40 Hz. These are the fastest waves and reflect our mental activity when we have our eyes open and observe the outside.
They manifest themselves when we think and work normally. If we are agitated or nervous about thoughts, we say that we are in a state of hyperactivity. This state corresponds to what is commonly called a negative beta state.
On the contrary, when our brain is operating at high speed but with lucidity, we are then in a positive beta state, where the lucidity of the mind and the states of intuition are characteristic. In the beta phase, the mind remains awake, alert and focused on specific goals.
This is a state required for activities that require high levels of concentration (analyzing, organizing information, presenting an exam, playing, playing sports, etc.). If beta levels increase, the person may suffer stress and anxiety.
*** Alpha Waves
They are rhythmic and have a frequency of 8 to 13 Hz. They appear in the EEG of almost all normal individuals in a waking state or at rest with their eyes closed.
The imagination can be exercised very favorably when we enter the alpha waves. It is a state of the intersection with our psyche since from here we can come into contact with areas of our inner being of which we had no real consciousness and also with latent information.
The brain produces this type of wave when it is really relaxed. In the alpha state, fears, and worries disappear and a sense of peace and general wellbeing of the body is experienced.
The subconscious is activated and the creativity appears, which allows launching and to find new ideas to solve the problems that arise and to realize any project or objective in life.
Alpha waves appear in this intermediate twilight where calmness is present but not sleep, where we find relaxation and a state favorable to meditation. We can also experience them when we are on the couch watching TV or in bed, but without falling asleep.
*** Theta Waves
Theta waves have a frequency of 4 to 7 Hz. This is the area where a person is in a state of very deep relaxation. It is a condition used in hypnosis. This is the state of the people experienced in meditation.
An adequate level of theta waves promotes creativity, emotional connection, and even our intuition.
The solutions appear without apparent efforts, like an illumination. They are specific to the human subconscious and can transcend beyond the physical plane. The brain activity falls almost to the point of sleep. This state is ideal for mind programming, self-hypnosis and stress reduction.
The theta waves unveil the past and put us in contact with memories we had rejected, or they were deep inside us, memories of strong emotions, states of shock that had blocked certain situations, and so on.
They act as a security system, allowing or not to find the conscious memory of emotions and trauma already forgotten or rejected. In hypnosis programs, it is planned to reach this state and offer the possibility of unifying and cleaning these own but forgotten memory fragments. In metaphysics, they are called states of creative consciousness.
This type of wave is used in behavior modification programs, as well as in the treatment of addictions of certain substances such as alcohol or other drugs.
*** Delta Waves
Delta waves have a frequency of 1 to 5 Hz. They appear during sleep in adults.
Delta waves are those that have a greater wave amplitude and are related to deep sleep (but without dreams). It is also interesting to know that they are very common in babies and young children so that as we age, we produce fewer waves of this type. The truth is that sleep and our ability to rest are gradually lost over the years.
This type of wave is mainly related to body activities we are not aware of, such as the regulation of heart rate or digestion.
An adequate level of delta waves promotes and protects the immune system, our rest and our learning ability.
If the theta represents a security system, the delta waves open the way to the subconscious, to all the information accumulated during our life, consciously stored as unconscious. If our brain is synchronized with delta waves, we may be able to access that information and consciously “take it” to visualize it and think about it, about our real possibilities.
*** Gamma Waves
They have a frequency of approximately 35 Hz to 40 Hz. This is the only frequency group present in every part of the brain.
When the brain has to simultaneously process information from different areas, activation of a 40Hz frequency promotes information between the areas required for simultaneous processing. Good memory is associated with 40Hz activity, while a 40Hz wave deficiency creates learning disabilities.
This type of wave originates in the thalamus and moves from the back of the brain forward and at incredible speed. Gamma waves reflect the coordinated use of different regions of the brain.
They relate to our learning style, with the ability to establish new information but also with our senses and perceptions. For example, people with mental or learning problems tend to have lower than average gamma-wave activity.
States of happiness also show high peaks in this type of waves. The REM sleep phase is also generally characterized by high activity in this frequency range.
The senses, the intellect, the intuition, or even the memory are put harmoniously and synchronically at work. The emission of this type of wave, with rapid oscillations, would reflect in a way the full consciousness through the being. The production of gamma waves is evidence of intense neuronal and mental activity. We find the appearance of these fast waves during the creation phases, during the resolution of problems, or during sustained attention.
2. Productions and Manifestations of the Different Kinds of Brain Waves?
The different kinds of brain waves are produced by the synchronization of electrical impulses from different groups of neurons communicating and defining our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. They also feed on what we do and how we feel. When most of our brain waves are slow, we may feel tired, slow, or sleepy. On the other hand, high-frequency waves make us feel awake and alert. Brain waves are measured in hertz or cycles per second and all humans show five different types of these electric models: gamma, beta, alpha, theta, and delta.
Our brain emits these different kinds of brain waves, the result of an electrical activity whose frequency is measured in hertz. These are produced in a state of consciousness or not, or in a state of wakefulness as during sleep.
Each brainwave has a purpose and helps us to manage several situations, either to treat or learn new information or to help restore calm after a hectic day. It is important to mention that when we talk about experimenting with a certain mental wave, it is because it is the dominant wave.
The quantities to be taken into account on the waves are the frequency and its amplitude. High frequency is a reflection of a high trigger rate of neural action potentials or electrical pulses, while a high amplitude is a reflection of synchronized trigger activity. This means that the higher the frequency, the faster the neuronal triggering and the greater the amplitude, the greater the number of neurons activated at that moment. Changes in wave amplitude indicate changes in neuronal timing.
The frequency responds to the moment when the neurons are triggered while the amplitude responds to the number of neurons that trigger at that moment.
The brain has an electrical activity where, in the different areas of the brain made up of neurons, the nerve impulse functions in a relative coherence and in a balanced way. The neuronal cells activate together (more or less), like a pulse, then calm down and then activate again.
These cerebral rhythms are not stable, but they change as we grow, mature, and age.
There is no type of brain wave better than another or more unique compared to others. All are important because they are all the result of the electrical activity of our neurons and each of our mental states.