Brain Waves: How They Change With Meditation

Brain Waves: How They Change With Meditation

Have you encountered the terms alpha, theta, delta, gamma and beta in relation to brain waves and meditation? 

Maybe you asked yourself, “What are brain waves all about? Or, “How can they help me understand meditation?”

Research shows that meditation changes brain waves, and the longer you practice the bigger the change. 

You can view proof of these changes in brain maps, where you can see shifts in your brain wave patterns over time.

Or you can also compare your brain map with that of a non-meditator to see the difference meditation makes.

No matter what meditation style you prefer, if you are consistent, your brain wave patterns will change and you will begin to benefit from all that meditation has to offer.

And if you use Synchronicity’s High-Tech Meditation soundtracks, you will find these changes occur a lot faster—in fact four times faster—than if you choose more traditional styles of meditation.


What are Brain Waves?

Colorful chart of different brain waves

Your brain is an organ that contains billions of neurons. These neurons communicate with each other using electrical impulses generated by neurotransmitters, which are brain chemicals.

The electrical impulses produce measurable waves and we can view their patterns using equipment called a brain monitor.

Your thoughts, emotions and behaviors correspond to different brain wave patterns. 

These patterns also reveal if you are a meditator and can indicate how long you have had a meditation practice.

How Do We Measure Brainwaves?

Woman in blue attached to brain monitor

We measure brainwaves:

  • By their frequency (or speed) in cycles per second (Hz).
  • By their amplitude (height)

There are five types of brainwaves, beta, alpha, theta, delta and gamma.  However, the first four are the most relevant for understanding the relationship between brain waves and meditation.

All of these brain wave states are universal in the human species and are consistent across all cultures. 

And while one brain wave may predominate at any given time (depending on your activity), the remaining four brain states are always present and part of a mix.

Beta Brain Waves

Man in pink shirt working at desk

Your brain generates beta waves when it is actively engaged in mental activities. Beta brain waves have a relatively low amplitude and are one of the fastest of the five types of brain waves. Only gamma waves are faster. Beta's frequency varies from about 14 to 35 Hz.

Beta is your normal thinking state. It reflects the active thought processes that you experience from day-to-day.

In fact, your world is beta dominant.  You need beta to function in the world, to think logically, solve problems and confront whatever is happening out there.

However, this beta dominant world is a stressful external place, full of activity and information.

And it places all of us at risk.

Excess beta causes significant problems like serious muscle tension, raised blood pressure and increased anxiety.


Low Beta Brain Waves

Low beta (13-15.5 Hz) is sometimes given its own category and called SMR (Sensorimotor Rhythm). 

When the parts of the brain that coordinate touch and gross motor movements (called the sensorimotor cortex) are less active—like when you are meditating—low beta increases. During this time your brain can access subconscious and unconscious databases thanks to an increased awareness that comes with meditation.

Brainwave patterns of advanced meditators often show a bulge in this area.


Alpha Brain Waves

side view of man meditating in chair

 

Whereas beta represents arousal, alpha represents relaxation. 

If you are a thinking type and perpetually mental in your focus, you can bring balance and relaxation to your experience by emphasizing alpha brainwaves (8-12.5 Hz). 

Do this by focusing the mind—as in concentration—or by sitting or reclining with your eyes closed.  Or try day dreaming or engaging in deep introspection.

Better yet, give Synchronicity alpha technology soundtracks a try.

Alpha is mostly produced by the brain in bursts, but meditators (especially if they are advanced) often produce long “trains” of alpha waves.

When your brain produces alpha frequencies, you experience a pleasant, comfortable, relaxed yet wakeful state of awareness that is stress free and euphoric.

The more you produce alpha brainwaves during ordinary states of awareness, the easier it is for you to access deeper meditative states. 

Alpha serves as a bridge between beta and theta brainwaves and allows the conscious mind access to the experiences of the subconscious and unconscious

Theta Brain Waves

A drop of water on a deep blue lake

Our brains produce theta waves in the frequency range of 4-8 Hz. 

Whereas beta activity is considered the conscious mind, theta is the sub-conscious mind. Slower than alpha, and present in dreaming sleep, theta provides the experience of deep meditation.

Like alpha, theta is characterized by a blissful state of well-being.  However, in theta, you may have an increasing experience of being at one with everyone and everything.

During this time some meditators may also experience a variety of inner images and visions.

Theta brainwaves engage the subconscious where we hold memories, sensations and emotions.  The alpha-theta border brings creativity, intelligence, detachment and deep relaxation.

Delta Brain Waves

buddha head in deep meditation

Delta brainwaves (0.5 – 4 Hz) correspond to our unconscious minds and are associated with deep sleep. They are the slowest of human brain waves.

But when present in combination with other brain waves in the waking state, delta acts as a form of radar. 

It seeks out information and helps you understand, at the deepest level, things you can’t access through your thoughts. 

Usually, only the most advanced meditators remain wakeful while producing delta brain waves.  Experiences, such as intuitive urges, occur at the deepest levels of delta brain wave frequencies.

Gamma Brain Waves

You may also have wondered about gamma waves (32-100 Hz), which lately have received a lot of attention.

Gamma waves rapidly traverse your brain and influence its functions. When you activate an area of your brain, like when you have a thought or experience an emotion, you generates gamma waves.

The harder your brain works solving a problem or learning something new, the higher is gamma’s amplitude.

In meditation, your brain produces gamma waves during different aspects of your experience. A few examples might be ecstasy, hyper-wakefulness, spiritually based emotional and visionary experiences, or differing levels and depths of meditation.

However, gamma amplitude is not a reliable indicator of how meditatively advanced you are.

The more you experience a particular state of being, the less your brain has to work. If you experience high-gamma amplitude in meditation, it is because your brain is working hard helping you experience or understand something new.

The longer you meditate the less your brain has to work and the less gamma it produces.

Synchronicity High-Tech Meditation vs Traditional Techniques

man with glasses and headset preparing to meditate

Synchronicity High-Tech Meditation soundtracks slow your brain waves and directly entrain them into alpha, theta and delta patterns. As a result you can easily and precisely experience the benefits of deep levels of meditation.

You can achieve the same results meditating with traditional “low tech” methods.

However, our research shows that with High-Tech Meditation you will experience these deeper meditation states much faster. 

While the Synchronicity soundtracks directly entrain balance in the alpha, theta and delta ranges, they indirectly entrain beta and gamma waves. In addition, they help expand your awareness and encourage the two hemispheres of your brain to sync so they work more effectively together.


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