Monday, January 24, 2011

Our Emitting Power : Literature About Brainwaves

Whether we are mentally active, resting or asleep, the brain always has some level of electrical activity. The study monitored the frequency and location of electrical brain waves through the use of EEG 
(electroencephalography). EEG electrodes were placed in standard locations of the scalp using a custom­made hat.

In the late 1960's and 1970's it was learned that it was possible to recondition and retrain brainwave patterns. Some of this work began with training to increase alpha brainwave activity to increase relaxation, while other work originating at UCLA focused on uncontrolled epilepsy. This brainwave training is called EEG biofeedback or neurofeedback. Brainwaves occur at various frequencies. The classic names of these EEG bands are alpha, beta, theta and delta.
  1. Delta – sleep state (0.5 to 4Hz)(0.5 to 4 cycles per second)
  2. Theta – between sleep and awake(4 to 8 Hz)(4 to 8 cycles per second)
  3. Alpha – relaxed state (8 to 12Hz) (8 to 12 cycles per second)
  4. Beta1 – focused concentration( 13 to 30Hz) (13­30 cycles per second)
    • Beta2 – alert state
    • Beta3 – very alert, vigilant
    • Beta4 – Hyper vigilant
Theta : Relaxed:  Indicates deep relaxation and occur more frequently in highly experienced meditation practitioners.
Alpha : Calm: Allows the mind to relax and get ready for different mental tasks. It is also a state important for contemplation, planning, inspiration and learning facts fast.
Beta1:  Focused: Allows paying attention to a specific task, while offsetting distractions. 
Beta2:  Alert: Allows fast response when the need to react quickly is required. 

Best For Concentration

The findings also showed that individuals with attentional deficits exhibit excessive amounts of slow brain wave activity, especially Theta waves. Joel Lubar, a pioneer in this field, demonstrated that treatment modalities focusing on enhancing the Beta1/Theta ratio, have been very effective in treating children with attention deficits and learning disabilities, which usually resulted in improved school performance and better behavior control. 
During Neurofeedback sessions, the person wishing to enhance concentration uses feedback coming through an EEG machine to enhance Beta1 and decrease Theta. After a certain amount of training, typically between 40 and 60 sessions, the individual is able to produce more Beta1 at will. Lubar also proved that all children experiencing any form of learning disabilities demonstrated low amounts of Beta1 waves and that many of the symptoms diminished after a process of brain wave training. 

Because the most effective brainwaves are alpha and beta according to the association level with the mental activities, the data acquisition device technologies are especially developed for extracting and catching them. Neurofeedback training is brainwave biofeedback. During typical training, a couple of electrodes are placed on the scalp and one or two are usually put on the earlobes. Then, hightech electronic equipment provides real-time, instantaneous audio and visual feedback about your brainwave activity through these alpha and beta waves. So along the various companies, there are some developed hardware as this electronic devices, which is connected to the brain through a part of head as indicated before(brain skin or earlobes) to extract the brainwave data and to visualize them for different psychological purposes. So in our project we will try to extract these alpha and beta brainwaves as muchaccurate as we can, and accordingly we will create some control mechanisms to use this resulting data.

Brain Waves and Age

The table below tells the patterns of brain wave activity across different ages and states of awareness with the number of repetitions required to learn new behaviour patterns.
AgeBrain waveCycles/sec.Usual state for adultsNo. of repetitions required for new behaviour
14+Beta14 - 21Normal awakeThousands
7 - 14Alpha7 - 14Light sleep, meditation21 (approx.)
4 - 7Theta4 - 7Sleep, 'fight or flight'1 or 2
0 - 4Delta0.5 - 4Deep sleep-
NB. the repetitions are for new behaviour not information but information is also absorbed quicker in lower brain wave patterns.
From birth to four, babies' brains operate in the delta state, with brain waves running below 4 cycles per second. In adults, this level of brain wave activity is experienced in the deepest levels of sleep.
From four to seven, children operate in theta state, with brain waves running between four and seven cycles per second. In adults, this level of brain wave activity is experienced during sleep and also during states of fear when the body goes into a 'fight or flight' response. This is a powerful level from which to initiate change. In this state, we only need one or two experiences of learning to change behaviour.
From the ages seven to fourteen, we live in the alpha state of seven to fourteen cycles per second. In adults, this is associated with light sleep, meditation, or eyes closed relaxation. At this level effective learning can take place after about 21 repetitions. Practice a new behaviour for 21 consecutive days and that behaviour becomes a habit. Research has shown that strong levels of physical healing can take place when the brain is at 10 cycles per second.
From puberty through adulthood the brain operates in the beta state, 14 - 21 cycles per second. This is experienced in the normal state of eyes open, awake and alert. In this state it may take many thousands of repetitions to learn a new behaviour. To create significant change in our lives at this level takes extensive deal of time and effort. (This section on age comes from )

Brain waves and Health

Delta & Theta brain waves are very good for health in general and are normally obtained by sleep but for students or others who work too hard, accessing them at the same time as other brain waves is rejuvenating.
An excess of Delta usually indicates depression, either physical or emotional and sleep problems.
Many researchers have noted a discrepancy between the EEG of subjects with learning disabilities or ADD and normal subjects. Typically, the ADD subjects were characterized by brain activity on the slower end of the frequency spectrum "The most important characteristic is either an excessive amount of theta activity, a lack of beta activity or a combination of these" Lubar, J. F. (1985). EEG biofeedback and learning disabilities. Theory into Practice, 24(2), 106-111

Specific Brain Frequencies

The information below shows the effects of specific frequencies within each brain wave frequency range:

Delta Brain Waves ( O.5 to 4Hz)

0.5 Hz - Relaxation, helps soothe headaches
0.5 - 1.5 Hz - Pain relief. Endorphin release
0.9 Hz - Euphoric feeling
1 Hz - Well being. Harmony and balance
2.5 Hz - Production of endogenous opiates (pain killers, reduce anxiety)
2.5 Hz - Relieves migraine pain. Produces endogenous opiates 
3.4 Hz
 - Helps achieve restful sleep
3.5 Hz - 
Feeling of unity with everything. Whole being regeneration
3.9 Hz - Self renewal, enhanced inner awareness
4.0 Hz - 
Enkephalin release for reduced stress 
4.0 Hz - 
Allows brain to produce enkaphalins, all natural pain killer
4.0 Hz - 
Full memory scanning. Releases enkephalins
4.0 Hz - Vital for memory and learning. Problem solving, object naming 
1 - 3 Hz - 
Profound relaxation, restorative sleep. Tranquillity and peace

Theta Brain Waves ( 4 to 8 Hz)

4.5 Hz - Brings about Shamanic/Tibetan state of consciousness, Tibetan chants.
4.9 Hz - Induce relaxation and deeper sleep
4.9 Hz - Introspection. Relaxation, meditation
5 Hz - Reduces sleep required. Theta replaces need for extensive dreaming
5.35 Hz - Allows relaxing breathing, free and efficient
5.5 Hz - Inner guidance, intuition
6.5 Hz - Centre of Theta frequency. Activates creative frontal lobe
7.5 Hz - Activates creative thought for art, invention, music. Problem solving
7.5 Hz - Ease of overcoming troublesome issues
7.83 Hz - Schumann earth resonance. Grounding, meditative, Leaves you revitalized
3 - 8 Hz - Deep relaxation, meditation. Lucid dreaming
3 - 8 Hz - Increased memory, focus, creativity
4 - 7 Hz - Profound inner peace, emotional healing. Lowers mental fatigue
4 - 7 Hz - Deep meditation, near-sleep brainwaves.

Alpha brain waves ( 8 to 12Hz)

8- 10 Hz Super-learning new information, memorisation, not comprehension.
8.22 Hz - Associated with the mouth. Brings creativity
10 Hz - 
Enhanced serotonin release. Mood elevation, arousal, stimulant
10 Hz - Provides relief from lost sleep, improves general mood
10 Hz - Mood elevator. Used to dramatically reduce headaches
10 Hz - 
Clarity, subconscious correlation. Releases serotonin
11 Hz - Relaxed yet awake state
12 Hz - Centering, mental stability.
11 - 14 Hz - Increased focus and awareness
12 - 14 Hz - Learning frequency, good for absorbing information passively

Beta brain waves ( 13 to 30Hz)

14 Hz - Awakeness, alert. Concentration on tasks, Focusing, vitality.
16 Hz - 
Bottom of hearing range. Releases oxygen/calcium into cells
12 - 15 Hz - 
Relaxed focus, improved attentive abilities
13 - 27 Hz - Promotes focused attention toward external stimuli
13 - 30 Hz - Problem solving, conscious thinking
18-24 Hz — Euphoria, can result in headaches, anxiety.
NB. Frequencies in italics cover more than one brain wave frequency range.


  1. hi, i would like to know if i can use a picture you used in your post? i am writing a post too that includes some info about brainwaves and i really like the picture with the musical waves around the blue head :) i also linked your post to mine because it has some great info on brainwave frequencies.
    does the picture have copyrights? if yes, are you the author and can i use it?

    my blog is at beginning and in my native language but you can check it out if you want

    1. Hi! I am not the author and I also retrieved the information and pictures from the internet. You can see my references at the end of the post. You should use them like me while including your web site :) What I mean is that you should include your references at the end of your posts as I did :) Have a nice day!

  2. Hello,
    I'm a neurobiology PhD student. I came across this post while preparing a class on neural oscillations and brain rhythms for a Neuropathology course. From my viewpoint, t's a shame that people use this kind of pseudoscience to make money or, as in your case, to get a graduation (what kind of studies ware you conducting?).

    If you are interested in brain activity, don't waste years' and thousands of people's serious research in this way. I would humbly reccomend you to read a lot more about brain activity (I mean, reliable information, not the first crap you find in the internet) before spreading your "knowledge" to others.

    To help you with that, you can start with Buzsaki's "Rhythms of the Brain". Maybe this way you will realize that we still don't know whether these oscillations are the cause or the consequence of brain's inner activity, nor are we in conditions yet to adscribe every single frequency detected to a concrete cognitive process in our brain. Many senior researchers, after tens of years of specialized studies, cannot be sure but only speculate about the function of oscillatory and rhythmic activies in the brain, and you come here describing at a resolution of 1 HZ what every frequency is causing on people's brain... (by the way, how the hell do you define "emotional healing", "activates creative central lobe" and many more non-scientific terms??). Don't mix scientifical terminology with this bullshit just to make it more attractive for people who know nothing at all about the subject, come on!!!

    Tanks for not contributing to science at all by using these pseudoscientific arguments. People like you is making science in general, and science communication in particular, much more difficult.



    1. First of all, what kind of PhD student are you that criticize smt with no background info? Did you know that I am a engineering student and have no background in neuroscience? Did you know that I had nobody from neuroscience field to ask about these information? Did you notice that I put my references at the end of my post? I DID put my references at the end of my post, because I did not trust all the info that I retrieved from as you think and so I had foreseen that this kind of problems about the info can arise. And now, you ask ME "how the hell do YOU define 'emotional healing', 'activates creative central lobe' and many more non-scientific terms"..

      If you think you have more reliable information and scientific facts, than you can blame the referenced web site admins! You, as an intellectual,should have warned me about the falsity in the presented information and should given me the correct info/your advice in a kind way after that.

      Obviously, you blame the reader, not the author! I can read lots of information around the internet. As a prospective scientist and qualified person on her subject, it is YOUR job to tell us the truths and lead us in a KIND way!

      Thank you only for your polite advice at the third paragraph of your post. Good luck with your academic career. In the future, I hope you do not charge your students to read a lot, instead lead them to read the correct ones in a gently way.

  3. brain waves certainly effect the usual life by influencing in various aspects and fields. proper and thorough learning can lead to the manifold stages of mind as you desire. surely, the science of brainwave epitomizes as the foundation of human conditions and psychological perspectives..