Brainwave entrainment is a good example of technology positively affecting biology to intentionally synchronize our brainwave frequencies with an external stimulus. In our case, this stimulus is sound. We use Brainwave Entrainment to align thought patterns for different purposes. For example, to improve sleep, feel less stressed and calm or be more focused. There are various technologies available such as Binaural Beats or Isochronic Tones, that are each described in detail in the Knowledge Pyramid on www.sonictonic.io. This article will tell you about the different types of brainwaves and what they do.
What is Brainwave Entrainment?
Brainwave entrainment is the synchronization of the two hemispheres in the brain. Therefore, brainwave entrainment is also referred to as hemispheric synchronization. Using technical methods, it is possible to influence and reconcile the brain waves. Sound waves for instance are nothing more than vibrations of air. These little waves pulsate in a certain rhythmical pattern, that is being adopted by the brain waves. Like stomping your foot to a beat that is being played.
If you are very tense and need to concentrate, your brain will work in the gamma frequency range at 40 Hz (40 cycles per second). The dreamless deep sleep phase takes place in the delta frequency band – your brain waves then oscillate between 0.1 and 4 Hz.
By specifically influencing the brainwaves, you can control the individual activities in the brain itself. These states can be initiated entirely without the aid of technical means. For example, if you want to relax, or go to bed: if you live well, you will come to sleep without any aids.
How does Brainwave technology work?
Stimulation of the brain waves causes certain states of consciousness. The brain is consciously directed to the appropriate work mode in which it works best.
It can be proven that brain waves can be influenced if you provide the brain with opportunities that it understands. Since the brain waves move in the frequency range between 0.1 and 40 Hz, it just needs these frequency bands to address the brain directly. Problem: Human hearing perceives sounds that range from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Outside this frequency range we cannot hear any frequencies. Brainwave technology, however, knows ways to circumvent this.
Firstly, it is important to know that humans display five different types of electrical patterns or “brainwaves” across the cortex. All brainwave entrainment increases the growth of new neural pathways, and improves the communication between the right and left hemispheres.
From high to low frequency, the brainwaves are:
Gamma 31 Hz -100 Hz, Beta 14 Hz -30 Hz, Alpha 9 Hz-13 Hz, Theta 4 Hz -8 Hz, and Delta 0 Hz – 4 Hz. The brainwaves can be observed with an EEG (“electroencephalograph”) – a tool that makes brainwave patterns visible.
Each brainwave has a specific purpose and allows for optimal mental functioning. Our brain’s ability to become flexible and to transition through the various brainwave frequencies plays a large role in how successful we are at managing stress, focusing on tasks, or getting a good night’s sleep.
If one of the five types of brainwaves is either overproduced or under produced in our brain, it can cause us problems. For this reason, it is important to understand that there is no single brainwave that is “better” or more “optimal” than the other. They all have their purpose at different times. By exposing ourselves to specific frequencies, we can influence the way we think and feel. Let’s take a look at the individual frequencies.
- Delta Waves |(0 Hz to 4 Hz) (Slowest)
These are the slowest recorded brain waves in human beings. They are found most often in infants as well as young children. As we age, we tend to produce less delta even during deep sleep. They are associated with the deepest levels of relaxation and restorative, healing sleep. They have also been found to be involved in unconscious bodily functions such as regulating heart beat and digestion. Adequate production of delta waves helps us feel completely rejuvenated after we wake up from a good night’s sleep. If there is abnormal delta activity, an individual may experience learning disabilities or have difficulties maintaining conscious awareness (such as in cases of brain injuries).
Lack of Delta Waves can cause: Inability to rejuvenate body, inability to revitalise the brain, poor sleep
- Theta Waves |4 Hz to 8 Hz (Slow)
Theta is the best state for memorisation and creativity. In the Theta state the brain activity has slowed below Alpha (at approximately 4-8 Hz) and an even greater connection occurs between the conscious and unconscious mind. It is here that intuition and spontaneity happen, and creative problem solving can be well-utilized. The Theta state is often suspected to be the resource of great artists and thinkers. If you need to memorise a lot of information – history, formulas, etc., Theta may be your best bet. Theta waves are connected to us experiencing and feeling deep and raw emotions. Too much theta activity may make people prone to bouts of depression and may make them “highly suggestible” based on the fact that they are in a deeply relaxed, semi-hypnotic state. Theta waves can help us to improve our intuition, creativity, and makes us feel more natural. They are also involved in restorative sleep and daydreaming. As long as Theta isn’t produced in excess during our waking hours, it is a very helpful brain wave range.
Lack of Theta Waves can cause: Anxiety, poor emotional awareness, stress
- Alpha | 9 Hz to 13 Hz (Moderate)
The Alpha state occurs when brain activity slows just below the normal waking state of Beta (14-30 Hz). In Alpha, the mind and body are relaxed but a level of focus is easily maintained. Modern brain science has shown that only 1 of 6 of our brain’s processing methods happen on the conscious level, so there is certainly a benefit in engaging the deeper parts of the brain, while taking in information. This frequency range bridges the gap between our conscious thinking and subconscious mind. In other words, alpha is the frequency range between beta and theta. It helps us calm down when necessary and promotes feelings of deep relaxation. If we become stressed, a phenomenon called “alpha blocking” may occur which involves excessive beta activity and very little alpha. Essentially the beta waves “block” out the production of alpha because we become too aroused. There is also a greater link between the conscious and subconscious mind in Alpha, meaning that while one is consciously learning, their brain is also unconsciously processing what one is learning.
Lack of Alpha Waves can cause: Anxiety, high stress, insomnia, OCD
- Beta 14 Hz to 30 Hz (High)
These are known as high frequency low amplitude brain waves that are commonly observed while we are awake. They are involved in conscious thought, logical thinking, and tend to have a stimulating affect. Having the right amount of beta waves allows us to focus and complete school or work-based tasks easily. Having too much beta may lead to us experiencing excessive stress and/or anxiety. The higher beta frequencies are associated with high levels of arousal. When you drink caffeine or have another stimulant, your beta activity will naturally increase. Think of these as being very fast brain waves that most people exhibit throughout the day in order to complete conscious tasks such as: critical thinking, writing, reading, and socialization.
Lack of Beta Waves can cause: ADHD, daydreaming, depression, poor cognition
- Gamma | 31 Hz to 100 Hz (Highest)
There is also great value in producing Gamma waves, as these, more than the other brainwaves, have been directly linked to increased IQ, enhanced cognitive function, and improved memory. If you need to learn something new, I would recommend Alpha, as the relaxed yet focused mental state will make it much easier to stay interested and process clearly. It also wouldn’t’t be a bad idea to listen to some Gamma brainwave entrainment audios on a semi-regular basis when one is not actually studying to help boost IQ and cognitive functioning. Gamma waves are involved in higher processing tasks as well as cognitive functioning. Gamma waves are important for learning, memory and information processing. It is thought that the 40 Hz gamma wave is important for the binding of our senses in regards to perception and are involved in learning new material. It has been found that individuals who are mentally challenged and have learning disabilities tend to have lower gamma activity than average.
Lack of Gamma Waves can cause: ADHD, depression, learning disabilities