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Phuket Health: Food for thought – brainwaves decoded

PHUKET: In this first part of a two-part article, let me introduce you to your brain waves.

By Sarah Nockles

Wednesday 13 August 2014, 01:13PM

Brainwaves are both the product and producer of mind.

Brainwaves are both the product and producer of mind.

In this first part of a two-part article, let me introduce you to your brain waves. Responsible for encoding your thoughts on a cellular level. As we go about our daily tasks, the brain generates rhythmic fluctuations and electrical activity.

These frequencies are measured in cycles per second, otherwise known as “hertz”. It is possible to manipulate our brainwaves to promote a better level of overall wellness – or stronger connection among body, mind and spirit.

There are five different categories of brainwaves as follows:

1. Beta (12-30Hz): This is the frequency of conscious thought. We usually register this level of activity during the daytime, when being alert, applying logic and critical reasoning is required. If there is an over-abundance of Beta levels, stress, anxiety and over-analyzing occur. This has a flow-on effect of negativity, which can physically manifest into increased heart-rate and blood flow, and cause hypertension.

2. Alpha (7.5-12Hz): The Alpha state is that of the left brain – it is a combination of the conscious and the subconscious where relaxation and daydreaming occur. The Alpha frequency encourages imagination, concentration and visualization. Many successful people measure high levels of 8hz frequency, which is known as the Alpha-Theta border.

This is also seen as the entry point into the subconscious mind, and is the optimal frequency for mind programming and allowing the creative juices of your mind to flow. Whilst many of us see Alpha brainwaves as a utopian state to exist in, an excess of this activity is actually undesirable. It can cause depression, lack of attention span and the feeling of being ‘spaced out.’ Equilibrium is key here – we need our Beta waves too! It is important to encourage Alpha waves in order to have a greater sense of wellbeing. How to promote them? Yoga, meditation, breathing exercises and guided visualization.

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3. Theta (4-7.5Hz): Usually we only see Theta waves during sleep – light sleep to be specific. They occur during the dream phase (during Rapid Eye Movement) but also in deeply meditative or relaxed states. Theta waves allow the subconscious mind to take control and create ideas and visualizations. The conscious mind is mostly “switched off’ and the subconscious mind takes control. Theta is where ideas, visualizations and suggestions are more likely to enter the subconscious mind. Theta waves are known to be the state in which deep spiritual connections occur. An interesting fact about Theta waves is that they are also present when we suddenly retrieve information – i.e. when we have been struggling to remember something for ages, then it all of a sudden pops up!

4. Delta (1-4 Hz): Delta waves are present in deep, dreamless sleep, or in the deepest stages of relaxation when we are entirely detached from any form of awareness. This frequency is the slowest, but the highest amplitude – where we are entirely in our subconscious mind and information that our conscious mind would prohibit is processed. This is a deeply rejuvenating state where deep healing and regeneration on a cellular level occurs. It is also a state in which human growth hormones are released. As if we needed further proof that a good night’s sleep is essential to our body, mind and spirit being able to function as it should!

5. Gamma (30-100Hz): Here is where it gets exciting, and that is why I have left it until last! Gamma waves are the most recent discovery, mainly because they occur at a much higher frequency, and a much smaller amplitude, which was previously immeasurable by digital EEG (Electroencephalography) machines. Gamma waves are associated with peak concentration and cognitive function, and they facilitate the linking of information from all parts of the brain. The movement of the wave itself is quite peculiar; waves move extremely quickly from the front of the brain to the back, over and over again. Because of this action, when in this state we are able to reach mental and physical peak performance. Individuals measuring high levels of Gamma waves are smarter, happier and tend to be very disciplined.

Our minds are naturally controlled by environmental and situational factors, but it is possible to alter brainwave frequencies through artificial means. Listening to music, meditation, yoga, massage, reading and practicing random acts of kindness are all ways that we can increase our Alpha and Theta waves.

When we have more of this frequency in balance with our Beta waves, it is possible to create increased benefits for the body, mind and spirit. In the next article, I will focus specifically on Gamma waves, which can allow for true magic to happen!



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