Alpha Waves - Alpha Brain Waves
Often when people ask, "What are Alpha Brain Waves?", they are
really asking, "What are Alpha Brain Waves good for?", and "What do Alpha Brain Waves
mean to me?" Answering the first question leads into the other two.
What are Alpha Brain Waves?
Alpha Brain Waves are one of four basic brain
waves [Delta Waves, Theta Waves, Alpha Waves, and Beta Waves] which
make up the EEG, which is short for electroencephalogram and also electroencephalograph.
The electroencephalograph is the recording device that produces the electroencephalogram. These 4 brain waves
are all oscillating electrical voltages in the brain, but they are very tiny
voltages, just a few millionths of a volt. The Alpha brain waves oscillate
about 10 times per second, and the range is 8-13 cycles per second. The
brain waves called "Alpha" were the first to be discovered (around 1908, by an
Austrian Psychiatrist named Hans Berger). That is why they are called
"Alpha waves", Alpha brain waves were discovered first. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, like
Many hundreds of scientists have spent a lot of time
studying these basic brain waves of the EEG, so there is a lot of basic
knowledge about what Alpha brain waves are and what makes them appear and disappear in
our brains. Yes, they appear and disappear. Alpha brain waves are not always present. For
example, in deep sleep there are no Alpha brain waves, and if someone is very highly aroused
as in fear or anger, again there are virtually no Alpha brain waves. Delta brain waves are seen
only in the deepest stages of sleep (Stages 3 and 4). Theta brain waves are
seen in light sleep and drowsiness (sleep stages 1 and 2). Alpha brain waves
are seen in wakefulness where there is a relaxed and effortless
alertness. Beta brain waves are seen in highly stressful situations, and where
there is difficult mental concentration and focus.
Delta waves are the slowest oscillating brain waves (0-4
cycles per second). Theta waves oscillate somewhat faster (4-7 cycles
per second). Alpha waves oscillate 8-13 times per second. Beta
waves oscillate still faster (13-40 cycles per second). There are many other
kinds of electrical activity in the brain, especially the short-lived evoked
potentials that occur when the brain responds to sensory input (like a sound,
or a touch, or a flash of light). However, the four basic EEG brain waves; Delta waves, Theta waves, Alpha waves, and Beta waves constitute the
standard lineup of EEG brainwave activity.
What are Alpha Brain Waves Good For?
discussion makes the point that each of the four basic EEG brain waves is linked to a
different state of consciousness. Each of the four types of brain waves (Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta) is good for
something different. However, we can get into trouble if we can not turn on the
type of brain wave needed for the task at hand. For example, if we can not turn
on Theta brain waves and Delta brain waves, we will suffer from insomnia, among
other things. On the other hand, people who can turn on the ideal brain waves
to deal with each and every situation are considered gifted.
One useful metaphor compares the four basic brain waves
(Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta) with the four gears
on a car. Delta brain waves (the slowest waves) are first gear. Theta brain waves are
second gear. Alpha brain waves are third gear. Beta brain waves are fourth gear. No one
gear is best for every driving situation, and no one brain wave is best for all
of the challenges of life. We get into trouble if one of the gears on our car
goes out, or if we forget to use some of the gears. For example if we drive our
car starting in first gear, and then shifting directly into fourth gear
(skipping second and third), we will have low gas mileage and high repair
bills. The same is true of our brains. Sadly, many people often skip their
second and third brain gears (Theta and Alpha brain waves). The
consequences of driving our brains in this manner are low productivity and high
medical bills. How does this happen?
The way this occurs in everyday life can be illustrated by
an example. People often wake up suddenly out of a deep sleep (Delta brain waves)
with an alarm. Then they immediately feel stress and anxiety (Beta brain waves)
about being late or being under time pressure. After insufficient sleep they
pour caffeine down their throats to force themselves into (Beta brain waves) wakefulness,
and the caffeine suppresses Theta and Alpha brain waves, while
promoting Beta brain waves. All day they work under stress, pressure, and time
urgency (Beta, Beta, and more Beta), until at night, they fall exhausted into
deep sleep (Delta brain waves), having spent too little time unwinding, relaxing, and
drowsing (which would have given them a bit more Theta and
Alpha brain waves). Thus many people shift their brains suddenly and forcefully from
Delta to Beta, and then back to Delta.
Alpha brain wave production is an innate skill of our brains,
but one consequence of the modern stressful lifestyle is that we forget how to
produce Theta and Alpha brain waves . Then we easily fall victim
to anxiety and stress-related diseases. Anxiety and stress measurably reduce
the strength of our immune systems. People who have more Alpha brain
waves have less anxiety. Thus having more Alpha waves could mean less
anxiety and, correspondingly, stronger immune systems, and this is good for
Creativity is another activity for which Alpha brain waves are helpful. Scientists have shown that highly creative people have
different brain waves from normal and non-creative people. In order to have a
creative inspiration, your brain needs to be able to generate a big
burst of Alpha brain waves, mostly on the left side of the brain. The brains of
creative people can generate these big Alpha brain wave bursts, and do so
when they are faced with problems to solve. Normal and non-creative people do
not produce Alpha brainwave increases when they are faced with problems, and so they can
not come up with creative ideas and solutions. Any time you have an insight or
an inspiration, you know your brain just produced more Alpha waves than
usual. Increased creativity is helpful for everyone. One way to increase creativity is to increase Alpha brain waves.
Peak performance is another activity for which Alpha brain waves are helpful. Recently sports scientists have shown that increases
of Alpha brain waves (often in the left side of the brain) precede peak
performance. One key difference between novice and elite athletes is in their
brain waves. Just before their best free throws, an elite basketball player will
produce a burst of Alpha waves on the left side of their brain. Just before
their best strokes, elite golfers will produce a burst of Alpha waves in their left
brain. Just before their best shots, elite marksmen and archers will produce a
burst of Alpha waves in their left brains. Novice and intermediate athletes do not
show this Alpha brain wave pattern. However, one study of archers training over many
weeks, showed that as they improved their performance, they gradually
increased the amount of left brain Alpha waves which occurred just before their best
shots. The Alpha brain waves seemed to be essential for peak performance
and were increased, albeit slowly, by the archery training.
What Do Alpha Brain Waves Mean to Me?
If you want to feel less stress and anxiety, you should increase the amount of your
Alpha brain waves. This may also improve the strength of your immune
systems, since stress weakens the immune systems. If you want to be more
creative, you should learn how to increase the amount of your Alpha brain waves. If you want to have more peak performance in athletic activity,
and in other areas of your life, you should learn how to increase the amount
of your Alpha brain waves. Some people are born healthy and mellow and gifted
with creativity and athletic prowess exemplified in peak performance. But what if you are not so lucky?
Is there a method to increase your Alpha brain waves?
Yes, you can increase your Alpha brain waves via brainwave biofeedback training using state of the art neurofeedback systems provided by the Biocybernaut Institute during brain wave training.
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This time you took me much deeper, to a problem that I have guarded my entire life. You exposed it and you made me deal with it.
In doing the chamber work I learned how to open my heart and let love flow and I learned unconditional love of myself.