Brain waves represent patterns of electrical activity produced by the brain. The brain is made up of billions of neurons that use electrical signals to transmit information. When groups of neurons fire together in a certain way to send signals to other groups of neurons, the resulting patterns are known as brain waves. These electrical patterns are associated with different types of activity in the brain as well as different states of consciousness.
What are brain waves, and what do they do?
Brain waves are oscillating electrical voltages in the brain measuring just a few millionths of a volt. There are five widely recognized brain waves, and the main frequencies of human EEG waves are listed in Table below along with their characteristics ( r )
1. GAMMA Brain Waves
Gamma waves, which measure between 40 and 100 Hz, are the fastest wavelength brain waves that are linked to activities such as learning, problem-solving, information processing and making associations between phenomena. A brain producing lots of gamma waves reflects complex neural organization and heightened awareness.
Gamma is associated with very high levels of intellectual function, creativity, integration, peak states and flow states. Gamma waves flow from the front to the back of the brain about forty times per second; scientists have noted that bursts of gamma rays may exceed the speed of light and cause time-reversibility.
“Gamma brain wave states are associated with many beneficial changes in our bodies. A frequency of 75 Hz is epigenetic, triggering the genes that produce anti-inflammatory proteins in the body (De Girolamo et al., 2013). On the lower end of the gamma spectrum, a frequency of 50 Hz results in the body increasing its production of stem cells, the “blank” cells that differentiate into muscle, bone, skin, or whatever other specialized cells are required (Ardeshirylajimi & Soleimani, 2015). The frequency of 60 Hz regulates the expression of stress genes, those that code for stress hormones like cortisol. The same brain wave frequency also activates a key gene called Myc that in turn regulates around 15 percent of all the other genes in the body (Lin, Goodman, & Shirley‐Henderson, 1994).” - Dawson Church, Ph.D.
2. Beta Brain Waves
Beta is required for processing information and for linear thinking, so normal levels of beta brain wave states are fine.
The next fastest wave is beta (12 to 40 Hz). Bet is often divided into two main branches, high beta and low beta. High beta (15-20Hz) is the wave often witnessed as high anxiety, frustration and stress; essentially the peaking monkey mind. The higher the stress, the higher the amplitude of the beta waves produces (peaks and valleys between each oscillation). In high beta, we become overly-focused, overly-obsessed, and overly-analytical. In this highly aroused state, we usually experience emotions such as anger, aggression, guilt, blame, fear, shame, pain, and general low moods.
We live in a culture where high beta has become normalized, and this state is in now way a state that we can reside in long term, without reaping repercussions of dis-ease. When in high-beta for extended periods, rational thinking, clarity, decision making, memory and intuition shut down. Studies show blood flow to the prefrontal cortex, the “thinking brain,” is reduced by up to 80%.
In low beta (12 to 15 Hz), we may experience alertness, clear thinking, and creative thinking. The lower frequencies within beta are closer to alpha waves, therefore the creativity is more amplified, than high beta. When we need a focused mind to solve a problem, do accounting or particular calculation, low beta is vital as its a focused mental state. Once stress and anxiety are infused into the equation, our alarm system is switched on and we experience flares of high beta.
3. ALPHA Brain Waves
Alpha (8 to 12 Hz) is often the feeling we get when we’re falling asleep, yet are mildly awake. A state of relaxed awareness. Alpha is the great bridge, where we experience deep creative states and higher frequencies, yet have the thinking mind of beta. When in Alpha, we experience several health benefits, such as the secretion of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. A pioneering study exposed DNA to various brain wave frequencies. It found that the alpha frequency of 10 Hz resulted in significantly increased synthesis of the DNA molecule (Takahashi, Kaneko, Date, & Fukada, 1986).
4. THETA Brain Waves
Theta waves (4-8Hz) are activated when we are being insightful, creative and deeply relaxed. This is a step deeper from the ‘awake-sleep state’, or the ‘in-between state’, often felt in Alpha. Within the spectrum of Theta, it is often described as being in a light sleep. Studies have also shown that Theta is the frequency when we dream vividly and experience rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Theta waves are the dominant frequency in healing, high creative states, of people under hypnosis, trance, when in deep remembrance of emotional experience (good and bady), memory retrieval and when encoding new memories into thoughts. The fact that these waves have been visible in both light sleep states, and while a person seems awake and focused, is what makes it fascinating.
Theta has many beneficial changes in the body. A group of researchers found that electromagnetic fields between 7.5 Hz and 30 Hz were able to enhance molecular bonding, enhancing DNA repair and more (Tekutskaya, Barishev, & Ilchenko, 2015).
5. DELTA Brain Waves
Delta waves (0.5 - 4Hz), are the slowest frequency measured in human beings and occur during deep states of dreamless sleep. They are found most often in infants and young children, and are associated with the deepest levels of relaxation and restorative, healing sleep. Delta waves predominate in those who are in dreamless sleep, or non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. Healthy amounts of Delta brain wave production assist us in deep restoration and feeling rejuvenated - supporting healthy immune function and healing.
“Very high amplitudes of Delta are also found in people who are in touch with the nonlocal mind, even when they’re wide awake. Delta is the wave that we see in EEG readouts when people are having a sense of connection with the infinite. They typically report mystical experiences in which the local self merges with the nonlocal self. Meditators with large amplitudes of delta feel connected to all of nature, to other human beings, and to the infinite. They lose the sense of being an isolated individual, or what Albert Einstein called the delusion of separateness. Instead, they experience oneness with all that is.” Dawson Church, Ph.D. Mind to Matter: The Astonishing Science of How Your Brain Creates Material Reality.
To keep reading more about how Brain Waves can exalt everyday reality, and assist shifting into higher states of consciousness, read an excerpt of Dawson Church’s excellent book here. Other authors that cover the vast and mystical knowledge of brain waves, is Dr. Joe Dispenza.
Composed of relaxing allies such as blue lotus, lavender and chamomile. Alongside the nourishing magic butterfly pea, and coconut milk. A delicious and relaxing moon milk to enjoy before bed or meditation.
Photos by Sarah of @sculptedkitchen
1tsp Blue Lotus petals
1tsp Chamomile (whole)
A dash of Lavender (whole)
¼ tsp Butterfly Pea (powder or 1tsp whole)
1tsp Coconut Cream Powder or nut butter of choice
4oz Hot water
4oz Warm milk
½-1tsp Maple Syrup, Honey or choice of sweetener
Add the blue lotus, chamomile and lavender into a tea strainer, place in your mug or tea pot, and pour about 4oz of hot water over them. Allow it to steep for about 3minutes. Add in your choice of warm plant-based milk (and coconut cream powder - optional for extra creaminess) and sweetener. Remove the strainer, and use a hand blender (or whisk) to mix and froth your elixir. Sip immediately, and enjoy!