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Brainwave States

Certain ranges of brainwave frequencies occur naturally when you are in certain states of mind, performing certain activities, having certain kinds of thoughts, etc. Many researchers are linking the production of certain neurochemicals with specific brainwave patterns. For instance, increases in alpha, theta, and delta brainwaves increase the production of DHEA and melatonin, anti-stress and anti-aging hormones. More specifically, a 10 Hz signal (alpha) boosts the production of serotonin which increases relaxation and eases pain. A 4 Hz (theta) signal boosts catecholamines which are vital for memory and learning. And in delta, the brain is triggered to release quantities of healing growth hormone. This suggests the brain’s internal communication system is based on frequency. Your brain may talk to itself in brainwave-ese.

An interesting side note is the effect of nicotine on brainwave patterns. EEG stimulation provided by nicotine is variable. The evidence indicates smokers generally use nicotine to moderate or normalize their states — to arouse themselves from boredom or calm themselves from over-stimulation. In other words, people get high on uppers, low on downers, and medium on nicotine.

Today, brain wave states are generally categorized as follows:

Gamma which ranges from 32 to over 100 Hz:

This is a newer area of research. Some states are related to anxiety and stress, while some are related to higher states of functioning.

 High Beta which ranges from 28 to 32 Hz: 

This is the state of “overdrive:” stress, anxiety and self doubt. It can be highly unfocused and confusing. It can create muscle tension and insomnia. It is associated with high blood pressure and addiction. 

You are in high beta when you are up-tight. You may remember negative experiences from the past or project a fearful type future. You engage in irrational thoughts and self defeating self talk.


Beta which ranges from 14 to 28 Hz:
This is the most common waking state. It is considered the brainwave state of normal waking consciousness — logical thought, analysis, concentration, alertness, and problem solving. It is the state of goal setting and action, and is associated with positive thinking.

You are in beta most of your waking hours when you are thinking, speaking, and doing, and when you are reading this information. In beta, you discern, compare, judge, and criticize.

Alpha which ranges from 8 to 14 Hz:

This is the brainwave state of pleasant feelings:  relaxation and creativity, automatic and routine activities (non-thinking activities), freedom from pain, physical healing.

You are in alpha when you are feeling soothed and calm, relaxing, letting your mind wander, daydreaming, bathing/showering, meditating, praying, letting go, dissolving into the environment, drifting off to sleep, being in a twilight state.

In alpha, you have rapid assimilation of facts with heightened memory 

Alpha is associated with enhanced creativity, increased creativity, and peak physical performance. 10 HZ  is the state professional athletes are in just before peak performance.

Alpha is the doorway to the nonconscious. It is conducive to creative imagery and personal psychotherapeutic insights — the “awakened mind.” You may experience an altered sense of time, free association (non-logical), and extrasensory perception.

It is the first state of healing. 10 HZ is the state of positive thinking and feeling and an overall sense of wellness.

Theta which ranges between 4 and 8 Hz:

This is the brainwave state of deep meditation, sleep and sleep-like states, dreaming sleep.

You are in theta when you are in deep reverie. When awake, it brings quietness of body, emotions and mind and builds a bridge between the conscious and nonconscious. This waking state is associated with creative people and hypnotic susceptibility.

Delta which ranges between .5 and 4 Hz:

This is the brainwave state of deep dreamless sleep — a deep trancelike non-physical state. If you’ve been awakened from this state, you probably feel irritable, confused and disoriented. People with Delta waves while awake are more empathic. They are often in the helping professions, and often experience burn out, as they are feeling others feelings a lot.