Meditation has many benefits on the mind and body. Advanced technology can now show the affects of meditation on our brainwaves. More importantly, we can now identify which brainwaves are the best for different states of meditation.
In this article we are going to begin identifying the different types of brainwaves and states of consciousness.
We then explore how the different levels of meditation relate to each type of brain wave.
Finally we will look at which the very best brain waves for meditation and how to achieve them.
What are Brain Waves?
Brain waves are fascinating.
They are not physical, rather a measure of the amount of activity going on inside the brain.
We measure brain waves with advanced technology like electroencephalograms (EEG for short). The EEG monitors the electro-chemical activity produced by the brain in cycles per second or Hertz (Hz). The measurements are known as 'frequencies' and displayed by the EEG in the form of waves on a monitor - hence the name 'brain waves'.
Historically brainwaves could only be monitored at scientific or medical facilities. However, technology is advancing with smaller and more affordable options. Devices, such as the Muse Headband, are allowing people to bring technology into the home to discover what is happening inside their head.
Different Types of Brain Waves and Consciousness
Let's take a look at the types of brain waves you typically experience in your daily life.
Although not shown above, Gamma Brain Waves are present when the brain is producing frequencies of around 40 Hz. You experience Gamma waves when you perform high-level informational processing activities. You may also see them, while learning new skills and activities for the first time.
Beta Brain Waves (15 - 30 Hz)
Probably the most common brain wave experienced by people in their normal waking life. Beta brain waves are present while you are conscious and going about your daily routine.
Beta brain waves occur when your brain performs familiar mental activities. As opposed to instances when you are learning a new skill for the very first time - this is when Gamma brain wave activity would be present.
In fact it is likely your brain will be producing Beta brain waves while you are reading this article.
Alpha Brain Waves (9 - 14 Hz)
Alpha brain waves are typically present when you are calm and laid back state.
A recent study conducted by neuro-scientists discovered a correlation between increased Alpha brain waves leading to decreased depression symptoms and increases in creative thinking.
it is important to note you are not asleep. Rather you are resting both your mind and body and not engaged in any formal activities.
Alpha brain waves can occur while you daydreaming or 'spacing out' as some might refer to it. Or you can experience Alpha brain waves when you are practicing mindfulness or light meditation.
Theta Brain Waves (4 - 8 Hz)
Theta brain waves occur during the stages of light sleep, such as REM sleep or when you dream.
This is where your subconsciousness is most active and where some theorize that you can experience deep spiritual connections.
It is during this stage, where your body is in a deep relaxation, however your mind is still aware of it's surroundings.
Many artists and musicians claim to have created their best work while experiencing Theta brain waves. The reason is because it is at this point where your mind is at it's greatest potential.
Delta Brain Waves (1 - 4 Hz)
Delta brain waves are the slowest of the frequencies. You will have experienced Delta brain waves during deep sleep.
While your brain is producing Delta brain waves, your mind is in an unconscious state. It is also at this point where the body and mind are able to rest - a critical part of the healing and regeneration process.
Meditation and Brain Waves
Now you are familiar with the different types of brain waves let's take a deeper look at the relationship between brain waves during meditation.
You are likely reading this article because you want to find out the answer to the question 'What are the very best brain waves for meditation?'. However the answer is....it depends.
It depends on the type of meditation that you aim to achieve.
It depends on how deep you want to meditate for.
As you may have gathered from the section above, different brain waves correlate with different levels of consciousness.
Let's look in more detail at the relationship between meditation and the different levels of brain wave frequency.
By the end of this section you will know which type of brain waves will be right for you.
Meditation and Alpha Brain Waves
People generally associate meditation with Alpha brain waves, as it is the easiest frequency to achieve in meditation. This is due to the alpha frequencies being the closest to conscious awareness.
Alpha brain waves are present during light meditations and mindfulness activities.
You will also see Alpha waves at the very beginning of a session as you progress into deeper levels meditation.
If your meditation goal is for a short session to refresh the mind and body, relieve symptoms of anxiety or to enhance creativity you should aim for ALPHA BRAIN WAVES.
Meditation and Theta Brain Waves
Theta brain waves occur when you have achieved a level of meditation where it is less likely distractions will pull you away from your objective.
It is a state where you are in control of your reactions to incoming and outgoing stimuli, including thoughts.
As this is a deeper level of meditation, it takes practice and discipline to achieve Theta brain waves. It is this frequency that many beginners aspire to achieve and associate with inner peace.
If your meditation goal is to achieve a sense of inner peace and calmness, connection with oneself or achieve inspirational creativity you should aim for THETA BRAIN WAVES.
Meditation and Delta Brain Waves
As we mentioned earlier, Delta brain waves exist when someone is in deep sleep and an unconscious state. In terms of meditation, you would need to be in a deep meditative state to produce Delta frequencies.
individuals experienced in the art of meditation claim to still be conscious when in deep meditation. However this level of skill requires many years of practice.
Studies have shown practicing Delta wave meditation actually helps us to achieve better Delta sleep. This facilitates the period when our body can rest, restore and regenerate.
If your meditation goal is for restorative and healing abilities, you should aim for DELTA BRAIN WAVES
What are the Very Best Brain Waves for Meditation
Below is a quick reference table showing the which brain waves are the best for different types of meditation.
BEST Hz FOR MEDITATION
Brain Wave Frequency
Best for Meditation Type
Alpha brain waves
Best for light meditation and short sessions to re-energize and refresh.
Theta brain waves
Best for meditating for periods of 60 minutes or longer. Suitable for relaxation purposes and to re-center yourself.
Delta brain waves
Best for long deep meditation sessions. Ideal for healing and restorative purposes of the body.
Binaural Beats and Meditation Benefits
Now you know the type of brainwaves you need to achieve and the benefits that meditation is going to give.
Now the big question....HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE THE VERY BEST BRAIN WAVES FOR MEDITATION?
You can practice for hours upon hours, day after day. And with enough determination and consistency you will get there.
However this only works if you have the time to dedicate so many hours.
Luckily there is a way to achieving the same result, but quicker.
The answer is Binaural Beats.
In a nutshell, binaural beats is a form of brain wave entrainment with the use of sound technology.
Without getting too technical, binaural beats audio feed two different sound frequencies into each ear via headphones or earphones.
The difference in frequency between the two sounds causes your brain to produce a third frequency, known as the a binaural beat.
By controlling the distance between the two frequencies, you can influence your brain into producing specific frequencies. This means you can listen your way to Alpha, Delta or even Theta frequencies.
Further Reading - Binaural Beats and Meditation
If you are interested in learning more about how binaural beats can help you achieve the right brain waves during meditation check out our other articles:
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