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BWO and Insomnia - Independent Study.

  
  
  
  
  
  

Overview of study evaluating Brainwave Optimization (HIRREM) for individuals with insomnia

 

Tegeler, C. H., et al.  2012. Open label, randomized, crossover pilot trial of high-resolution, relational, resonance-based, electroencephalic mirroring to relieve insomnia. Brain and Behavior; 2(6): 814-824.

 

Introduction.  Insomnia is the most prevalent sleep disorder and is associated with a significant impact on health and wellness. Up to 50% of the U.S. adult population reports symptoms of insomnia on a weekly basis and approximately 12% meets criteria for a full insomnia disorder.  Approximately 40 – 60% of individuals with insomnia exhibit depressive symptoms, 10 –25% may have clinical depression, and 20 –30% have anxiety disorder. Long-term studies have found that chronic insomnia is a risk factor for heart attacks, depression, and mortality.

 

Brainwave Optimization (known in scientific research as High-resolution, Relational, Resonance-based, Electroencephalic Mirroring, or HIRREM) is a novel, non-invasive, computer-guided technology which supports the brain to relax and thereby move itself toward its own unique patterns of optimized activity.  This occurs on the brain’s own terms, as the electrical activity is simply mirrored in real-time through auditory tones.  As an indirect consequence, the brain may bring itself to greater balance between the two sides, as well as a more optimal ratio between the high and low frequencies.  Use of HIRREM has been associated with successful achievement of a variety of health objectives.  The aim of this pilot clinical trial was to evaluate the role of HIRREM for individuals with insomnia.

 

Methods.  A randomized, wait-list control, crossover study design was used.  20 participants with a diagnosis of moderate or severe insomnia were enrolled and randomly assigned to either the “HIRREM” group or a “wait-list” group.  This randomizing process helps researchers to avoid bias they might have if they assigned individuals to one group or the other.  While the HIRREM group was undergoing sessions, the wait-listed group changed nothing in their daily routine (this is called “usual care”).  After a waiting period of several weeks, the wait-list group was given an opportunity to “cross over” and undergo HIRREM.  Both groups were contacted by phone 4 weeks after the conclusion of their HIRREM sessions to track any ongoing changes in their insomnia symptoms.

 

Results.  Based on the changes in the insomnia severity score, use of HIRREM was associated with a significant reduction in insomnia symptoms.  After the waiting period, the wait-list group still reported symptoms of insomnia.  The standard effect size suggested that as applied during this study, HIRREM was associated with a strong effect.  Based on the late telephone follow-up, the improvements persisted. When crossed over to receive HIRREM, those in the wait-list group showed statistically similar improvements in their insomnia scores, with similar persistence of the effect on late telephone follow-up.  No adverse events or side effects were reported by any participants over the course of the study.

 

Illustrative charts of the results are provided below for the group that was randomly assigned to undergo HIRREM. 

Sleep Study

 

Having Problems Lossing Weight?

  
  
  
  
  
  

Take a look at the list of Fat Triggers below, maybe one or more of these triggers that are impacting your ability to lose weight.   

Fat Trigger #1: Chronic Dieting

Yes, dieting – that thing everyone does to lose weight – actually makes you fat. And the reason is simple: when you reduce your normal daily intake of food, your body enters a “famine state”. When you’re on the type of diet that restricts you from certain types of food, your body becomes deprived of its natural nutrients and enters a “nutritional famine state”.  That is why people how lose weight by dieting end up putting on more weight than before because when you come off the diet your body forces you to keep eating until you consume the nutrients your body is starving for. 

Fat Trigger #2: Lifestyle Stress

You know stress is unhealthy, but did you know it also makes you fat? Regardless of whether your job or personal life is bombarding you with emotional stress, physical stress, mental stress or subconscious stress, your body reacts to it in the same way: it releases a chemical called cortisol into your body, which makes you gain weight AND stops you from losing weight. 

Fat Trigger #3: Emotional Trauma

If you’re not careful, your thoughts can turn to fat. Self-defeating emotions like powerlessness, insecurity and not being able to say no to people result in stress, which in turn releases the fat-promoting chemical cortisol into your body.

How important is your emotional health? Studies show that people who were optimistic – i.e. in good emotional health – were 14 percent more likely to live longer, and 30 percent less likely to die from heart disease compared to those who were negative. 

Fat Trigger #4: Inadequate Nutrition

This one’s no surprise – a bad diet can give you massive weight problems! More specifically, inadequate nutrition leads to a form of insulin resistance that impairs your digestion and thrusts your body into a nutritional famine. When this happens, your body will tell you to keep eating until you get the nutrients you need.

Insulin resistance causes extreme highs and lows in your blood sugar, which gives you irresistible sugar cravings and hunger pangs sooner and more often than you would get if your blood sugar was stable.

There are three main nutrients lacking in modern diets: protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and live foods. Not having enough of them is what switches on this particular Fat Trigger.

Fat Trigger #5: Poor Digestion

What you put in your body is one thing – but how it’s processed is another. Poor digestion makes you under-nourished, dehydrated and lacking in friendly bacteria and digestive enzymes, quality Pro-biotic and digestive enzymes are recommended to support your instinctual track.  It is said that your second brain is in your gut.  

Eating foods that are molecularly altered, pasteurized, preserved, microwaved, burnt or over cooked wreak havoc on your digestion and lead to diseases like obesity, thyroid problems, diabetes and heart disease.

Fat Trigger #6: Toxicity

Your body is exposed to toxins every day, and this can make you fat. The majority of harmful toxins come from medication, alcohol, cigarettes, and pesticides found in non-organic produce and manufactured grain products. In other words, many of the things you come into contact with every day.

How does this make you fat? Well when your body can’t eliminate toxins, it stores them in your fat cells. This layer of fat then becomes a buffer between the toxins and your body. And since the fat is protecting your body, your body’s natural reaction is to protect itself by not burning the fat

Fat Trigger #7: Limiting Beliefs

If you’re not at your ideal weight, your beliefs could be the culprit. One of the most common limiting beliefs that can sabotage your weight is having an overweight family member, and believing it’s in your genes to be fat. When you think this way, you’re eliminating personal responsibility and rejecting the possibility of being slim. 

Your beliefs shape your reality – and if you don’t believe you can lose weight on both a conscious and subconscious level, you won’t.

Fat Trigger #8: Harmful Medication

The medication that’s supposed to protect you may also be making you fat. Studies have shown there are over 50 common medications that cause weight gain, including anti-depressants, insulin, cortisol, steroids, hormone replacement and birth control. Sometimes the effect is so intense, you can gain up to 10 pounds a month.

But how can you avoid taking your medication? Many people find that by making a positive change in their diet and lifestyle, and by adopting specific mind-body practices, they’re able to stop relying on medication with no harmful consequences.

Fat Trigger #9: Sleep 

People say sleeping too much makes you fat, but the opposite can also be true. Not getting enough sleep or shallow and interrupted sleep can cause weight gain.

Lack of sleep makes you more irritable, releases cortisol into your system, and makes you prone to negative emotions – another Fat Trigger.

Brainwave Optimization - 101

  
  
  
  
  
  
In January of 2013, a team of researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine published a paper in the Neurology journal Brain & Behavior describing the methodology of HIRREM™, the process more commonly known as Brainwave Optimization®. The HIRREM methods paper offers a thorough and precise description of the process, what it does and how it does it. It’s an invaluable resource for those who want to learn more about Brainwave Optimization, but be warned: it gets a bit technical. With sentences like, “Relaxation of neural oscillations through HIRREM appears to permit auto-calibration toward greater hemispheric symmetry and more optimized proportionation of regional spectral power” it’s not exactly light reading.
 
Fortunately, you don’t need a degree in neurology to understand how this process works. Everything you need to know is right there in the name HIRREM.
 
HIRREM stands for High-resolution, Relational, Resonance-Based Electroencephalic Mirroring. Let’s take each of those terms one at a time. For the sake of clarity, we’ll be taking them out of order.
 
Electroencephalic – We'll take the biggest, ugliest word first. Electroencephalic refers to the electrical activity generated by the brain in the form of neural oscillations or brainwaves. Like any waveform, brainwaves have a frequency. EEG sensors placed on the scalp are designed to read these brainwaves across a broad spectrum of frequencies.
 
High-resolution – If you’ve bought a digital camera or a television or a computer monitor in the past decade, then you are probably already somewhat familiar with the concept of high versus low resolution. A digital image is composed of rows and rows of tiny squares. Each square is a single color. The more squares you can fit into a smaller space, the higher the resolution. The higher the resolution, the clearer the image. We don’t take pictures during Brainwave Optimization, but our sensors do gather a lot of data about your brainwave activity. To ensure that our computer has the clearest possible image of your brainwave patterns, we collect and analyze that data at the highest possible resolution. It requires extremely sensitive equipment and enormous processing power, but to do what we do we can’t afford to settle for anything less.
 
Relational – Not a commonly used word, but the root should look familiar—relate. So, the question is, what is being related to what?  Brainwave Optimization matches (or relates) a given dominant brainwave frequency to a particular musical tone. During a Brainwave Optimization session, you listen to these musical tones. In essence, you are hearing your own brain activity in real-time.
 
Mirroring - When you hear your own brain activity in real-time, the effect can be compared to a mirror. The brain now has away of perceiving itself, its own activity, its own function. if you've ever used a mirror when styling your hair or shaving, then you know what useful tool a mirror is for self-maintenance.

Resonance-Based – We may not use the term very often, but resonance is all around us. Think of the way a church bell continues to hum long after being struck. We even speak symbolically of a work of art or an idea resonating within us, as if we are a bell which has been struck. When physicists discuss resonance in terms of waveforms, this is the phenomenon they are describing. When we talk about resonance as a component of Brainwave Optimization, we are talking about the way that the frequency of the musical tones interact with the frequency of brainwaves. A resonance loop is created and the brain and its auditory reflection begin to harmonize with each other. This is where the change occurs and brain function is optimized.

This Process is Rated G: Appropriate for All Ages!

  
  
  
  
  
  

We're sometimes asked, who is Brainwave Optimization® designed to help? We sometimes joke that it's designed to help people with brains, but that's actually not an inaccurate statement. Anyone can benefit from Brainwave Optimization sessions. As a non-invasive, non-pharmacological, non-medical modality, Brainwave Optimization is a safe and holistic option for anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background.

Brainwave Optimization has been provided to clients as young as 2 years old and as old as 98. The process does require the client to set still for extended periods of time and to be able to follow simple instructions, but an experienced technologist can make necessary accommodations for nearly any client.

While the process itself remains largely similar regardless of client, the effect on the brain is somewhat different for children than it is for adults. Brainwave Optimization relies on an attribute of the brain called neuroplasticity. The brain has an amazing capacity to "rewire" itself to meet new challenges or demands. Throughout our lives and even over the course of any given day, our brain is continually creating new connections, forming new neural pathways.

Our brain is most plastic (able to change) when we are young. Have you ever wondered how you were able to learn and retain so much knowledge as a child while, as an adult, you can't even seem to be able to remember an email password? With age, the brain has a tendency to become less plastic, more set in its ways, more resistant to change. Part of this tendency is simply nature of aging, but another contributing factor is the effect of trauma on the brain. When one experiences a trauma, whether large or small, experienced in one sudden instant or accumulated bit by bit over a lifetime, the brain adjusts compensate and to cope. Under ideal circumstances, the brain will naturally return to its pre-trauma state once the traumatic moment as passed or the immediate threat has been removed. Often, however, the brain remains to some degree in its post-trauma condition long after the moment has passed. Brainwave Optimization facilitates the brain's auto-calibration, its self-adjustment toward more optimal function. 

Children enjoy a certain advantage over adults where Brainwave Optimization is concerned. Since their brains are more plastic and, for most, thank goodness, their exposure to trauma has been limited, Brainwave Optimization has a particularly dramatic effect on children. We have seen amazing results working with children suffering from focus issues, attention deficiencies, and learning challenges. Improvement is often observed after only a couple of sessions. Results for adults may be slower coming and less pronounced, sometimes not becoming fully apparent until two to three weeks after the completion of the Brainwave Optimization Intensive.

Don't you wish you were a kid again?

Cancer and the Brain

  
  
  
  
  
  

Lee Gerdes invented Brainwave Optimization® after a decade long fight with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. His invention helped him to reclaim his life and he devoted himself to refining and sharing this technology with others. In April 2013, Lee was faced with a new challenge for which no one can be prepared and one far greater than any he had previously faced--cancer.

 

On October 24th, 2013, Lee will share his personal story of hope and survival, from the devastating diagnosis, through the debilitating radiation and chemotherapy treatments, to his ongoing return to health. During this very special live presentation, Lee will open not only his heart, but also his brain, sharing actual brain scans from throughout his illness and recovery. He will show how the traumas inflicted by the cancer and by its treatments affected his brain activity and will explain how Brainwave Optimization® once again helped him to overcome the challenge of a lifetime.

Lee Gerdes, Brainwave Optimization Calgary, Brain and Cancer

Depression and Brainwave Optimization Calgary

  
  
  
  
  
  

Depression is not a sign of weakness.  It is a result of an imbalance in the brain. Depression refers to a persistent sad mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in most activities. 

Some symptoms include the following: 

•  Apathy about things, people or activities that were once satisfying

•  Changes in appetite or weight

•  Restlessness or decreased activity noticeable to others

•  Loss of energy or feeling tired all the time

•  Difficulty in concentrating or making decisions

•  Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt

•  Haunting thoughts of death or suicide 

Of course, life includes problems we don’t anticipate or enjoy, and these problems can sometimes trigger depression.  But sometimes depression seems to sneak up on us out of nowhere.  Additionally, we know that for some people at certain times, depression can actually be a tool which their brains use to be more creative.  Many masters in various fields (music, art, science) throughout history have been depressive types of individuals – using depression to prepare their brains to be in a more creative state from time-to-time.  The good news is there is another way to enhance creativity and get one out of the state of depression at the same time. 

What about medications?  Pharmaceuticals used to treat depression work on the entire brain, when actually only a small part of the brain may need to be tuned-up in the depressed person.  Thus, drugs for depression may create side effects that are new problems to the individual user, and one problem is simply replaced by another.  

In many cases, Brainwave Optimization has been reported to enhance or replace anti-depressants, making the road to depression recovery much shorter.  A high percentage of our clients with depression have reported success after their Brainwave Optimization experience.

How Does Brainwave Optimization Work!!

  
  
  
  
  
  

Shocking!!!

When I first started providing Brain Wave Optimization (TM), I was working with an 11 year old girl who struggled with sleep difficulties, attention problems, anxiety, and a diagnosis of Asperger’s. During her first session, the anxiety was quite apparent; she had a million questions about what we were doing which were precipitated by a million worries flying around in her head.

Over and over and over, she would ask “Are you going to shock me?” even though by the fifth protocol it should have been apparent that wasn’t going to happen. (Or ,at least I thought so; it’s been a long time since I’ve been eleven.)

Finally, I asked her, “Why do you think I’m going to shock you?”

“Because you are putting electrodes on me. Electrodes mean electricity!” she said. Ok, that’s a pretty good rationalization, especially if you are 11.

Now, fast forward to two weeks ago. I was working with a 47 year old woman and the SAME question came up! Repeatedly! For several days, despite what I felt like were pretty thorough explanations, she expressed concerns about being shocked. (Ok, so this worry is not limited to 11 year olds.) She was afraid of what the sensors were “doing to her”. At one point, she told me that she was afraid that the process could give her cancer.

By this point, I was completely blaming “American Horror Story: Asylum”, “Clockwork Orange”, and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” for everyone’s anxiety about brain training. What to do?

In the interest of helping everyone feel safe and secure about the process of Brain Wave Optimization, I decided to do a little bit of electrode education here on the blog today.

When a person comes for either a Brain Wave Optimization assessment or training session, they are hooked up to our computer through five small sensors (electrodes). Our 11 year old was partially right about the meaning of the word electrode in that the function of it does involve electricity. However, where her error occurred was her assumption that the electrode was producing electricity. It is actually the opposite. The client is producing electricity. That’s right, YOU are producing electricity all the time, in the form of brain wave activity.

What the sensors are doing is reading the electricity that comes off the client. That data is then sent from the electrodes to the computer, which then analyzes the brain wave activity. That information is then provided in a report to the technologist in order to help him or her determine the appropriate training protocols to select for the next session.

Now, we get to the part where we answer the 47 year-old’s question: What are the sensors doing to you? The answer is nothing. When you come in for brain training neither the sensors, myself, nor the computer are doing anything to you.

So what’s going on then, if no one’s doing anything to you? Why would you come for sessions at all? What happens during brain training is this: After the data (in the form of electricity) is received from the sensors and analyzed by the computer, the technologist determines which brain waves need to be played back to the client.

Come again?

Yep, all that happens during brain training is that you listen to your own brain waves being played back to you in the form of musical tones. And what happens with that is truly amazing: your brain is able to “hear” the imbalances and corrects those imbalances on its own!

This is what “non-invasive” means. Nothing is happening to you during your sessions. There is no electricity being sent to you, no particles or chemicals being introduced into your system, and no modifications being made to you by someone else . Your brain is simply being shown what it is doing and then given the opportunity to correct itself of its own volition.

So, that’s the purpose of electrodes in Brain Wave Optimization. Nothing painful, nothing scary, and the only thing that’s shocking is learning that listening to your own brain can completely change your life for the better!!

*Have more questions about the process of Brain Wave Optimization? Shoot me an email at glenna.reid@shaw.ca or through the Contact Page and I would be happy to answer them!

What Eating Too Much Sugar Does to Your Brain?

  
  
  
  
  
  

I guess added sugar isn't so sweet after-all!!

The damage added sugar does to our bodies begins in our brains.

By David DiSalvo of Psychology Today
Overeating, poor memory formation, learning disorders, depression—all have been linked in recent research to the over-consumption of sugar. And these linkages point to a problem that is only beginning to be better understood: what our chronic intake of added sugar is doing to our brains.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American consumes 156 pounds of added sugar per year. That's five grocery store shelves loaded with 30 or so one pound bags of sugar each. If you find that hard to believe, that's probably because sugar is so ubiquitous in our diets that most of us have no idea how much we're consuming. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) puts the amount at 27.5 teaspoons of sugar a day per capita, which translates to 440 calories—nearly one quarter of a typical 2000 calorie a day diet.

The key word in all of the stats is "added." While a healthy diet would contain a significant amount of naturally occurring sugar (in fruits and grains, for example), the problem is that we're chronically consuming much more added sugar in processed foods, generally in the rapidly absorbed form of fructose.

That's an important clarification because our brains need sugar every day to function. Brain cells require two times the energy needed by all the other cells in the body; roughly 10% of our total daily energy requirements. This energy is derived from glucose (blood sugar), the gasoline of our brains. Sugar is not the brain's enemy—added sugar is.

Research indicates that a diet high in added sugar reduces the production of a brain chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Without BDNF, our brains can't form new memories and we can't learn (or remember) much of anything. Levels of BDNF are particularly low in people with an impaired glucose metabolism—diabetics and pre-diabetics—and as the amount of BDNF decreases, sugar metabolism worsens.

In other words, chronically eating added sugar reduces BDNF, and then the lowered levels of the brain chemical begin contributing to insulin resistance, which leads to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which eventually leads to a host of other health problems. Once that happens, your brain and body are in a destructive cycle that's difficult if not impossible to reverse.

Research has also linked low BDNF levels to depression and dementia. It's possible that low BDNF may turn out to be the smoking gun in these and other diseases, like Alzheimer's, that tend to appear in clusters in epidemiological studies. More research is being conducted on this subject, but what seems clear in any case is that a reduced level of BDNF is bad news for our brains, and chronic sugar consumption is one of the worst inhibitory culprits.

Other studies have focused on sugar’s role in over-eating. We intuitively know that sugar and obesity are linked (since sugar is full of calories), but the exact reason why eating sugar-laden foods seems to make us want to eat more hasn’t been well understood until recently.

New research has shown that chronic consumption of added sugar dulls the brain’s mechanism for telling you to stop eating. It does so by reducing activity in the brain’s anorexigenic oxytocin system, which is responsible for throwing up the red “full” flag that prevents you from gorging. When oxytocin cells in the brain are blunted by over-consumption of sugar, the flag doesn’t work correctly and you start asking for seconds and thirds, and seeking out snacks at midnight.

What these and other studies strongly suggest is that most of us are seriously damaging ourselves with processed foods high in added sugar, and the damage begins with our brains. Seen in this light, chronic added-sugar consumption is no less a problem than smoking or alcoholism. And the hard truth is that we may have only begun to see the effects of what the endless sugar avalanche is doing to us.

Full article here: http://bit.ly/Xi8DFQ

The Science and Practice behind Brainwave Optimization

  
  
  
  
  
  

FREE WEBINAR:

The Science and Practice behind Brainwave Optimization Peter Gerdes

Join Peter Gerdes, CIO of Brain State Technologies®, for an exclusive webinar focused on Brainwave Optimization™. Peter will discuss the science and the practice of this groundbreaking technology, how it's changing the world, and how you can be a part of that change by becoming a licensed provider of Brainwave Optimization.

With nearly 200 providers in 19 countries and over 50,000 lives improved, Brainwave Optimization® is blazing a trail to a brighter tomorrow. Reserve your place in that future and register for this exciting webinar today.


To Register:

https://brainstatewebinars.webex.com
password: brainstate  (all lowercase)
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For faster login you should pre-register for the webinar.


To Teleconference:
To receive a call back, provide your phone number when you join the event, or call the number below and enter the access code.

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What are Alpha Brain Waves?

  
  
  
  
  
  

What are alpha brain waves?

Alpha brain waves are considered relaxed brainwave activity. Alpha brainwaves are brainwaves that cycle within the range of 8 – 12 Hz and are usually generated in the brains right hemisphere or in a synchronized pattern between both right and left hemispheres. Alpha waves kick in when our mind and body are completely relaxed and free of stress.

Alpha is generally thought of as the normal brainwave that is dominant in people who are relaxed, creative, and have a clear mind. Alpha is considered the “normal” brainwave pattern and is dominant when people close their eyes. Children tend to have much higher levels of alpha brainwaves than adults. Alpha brainwaves are considered the healthiest brainwave range and 10 Hz has widely been accepted as the “safest” brainwave frequency to train.

Most children and younger teenagers have a dominant alpha rhythm. There isn’t a single brain wave pattern is better than the others – so don’t think alpha brainwaves are a “cure all.” If your brain is deficient in the alpha brainwave pattern, increasing them can feel awesome! I can personally testify based on my experience.

Benefits of increasing alpha brain waves:

  • Relaxed body and mind - The alpha brainwave is associated with a completely relaxed body and mind. The brain’s thought process is slowed and the mind is clear. The body is completely relaxed and free of all tension and nervousness. Boosting the alpha brain wave is a great way to enjoy the feeling of relaxation and a great way to let go of all worries and tension.
  • Higher levels of creativity - The alpha brainwave rhythm is generally associated with above average levels of creativity. Alpha brainwave levels are found to be much higher in artists, musicians, and creative thinkers. Creative problem solvers are what many employers currently need to think of new, creative, innovative ideas for their companies. If you’d like to boost your creativity, consider giving alpha brainwaves a boost. Scientists have shown that highly-creative individuals tend to have different brainwaves than normal and less creative people.  
  • Improved ability to problem-solve - The problem associated with having too much of the beta brainwave pattern is the inabiltiy to problem solve and get past “mental blocks” by thinking creatively. Ever get writer’s block? Increasing your alpha brainwaves will most likely help you keep “flowing” right through your paper or article without getting “stuck.”
  • Balanced mood (emotional stability) - The alpha brainwave, especially the 10 Hz frequency, is associated with a balanced mood and stable emotions. Many overanxious and hyperactive, unstable people could greatly improve their brains by increasing their alpha brainwaves. Feeling emotionally stable means not overreacting to stressful situations and being able to maintain a calm state of mind. The alpha brainwave state is associated with a very stable state of mind.
  • Peak-performance – The 10 Hz alpha brainwave frequency is commonly referred to as a “peak performance” state of mind or being “in the zone.”  
  • Lowered levels of stress & anxiety - Lowered levels of stress and anxiety is a huge benefit that the alpha brainwave can bring to your life. Know anyone suffering from chronic stress or rapid, anxious thoughts? Suggest brainwave entrainment to them and have them read over this article to see whether or not they’d like to try to increase their alpha brainwaves.
  • Flow state of consciousness – A state of “flow,” refers to a mental state that all events and things seem to pass without problems. You are able to deal with life’s problems easily and aren’t overanxious or too relaxed. You are somewhere in between overstimulation and understimulation. In essence, you’re mind is “balanced” and in an optimal state of functioning.
  • “Super learning” ability – The alpha brainwave spectrum has been associated with “super learning” and being able to remember and retain information with less overall effort. The alpha brainwave state mostly improves one’s natural ability to passively absorb large amounts of information. Basically, you don’t need to make as much of an effort to learn a new ability, language, or skill.
  • Boosted immune system - Enhancing your alpha brainwaves can lead to self-healing and prevention of illness. This is due to the fact that alpha waves are usually associated with “lack of stress” and “relaxation.” Stress and too much anxiety can do harm to the immune system by releasing harmful chemicals such as epinephrine (adrenaline) and too much of the hormone: cortisol, associated with the adrenaline release.
  • Positive thinking – There has been some research that has found the alpha brainwave rhythm, especially the 10 Hz frequency, to be associated with a positive state of mind (i.e. positive thoughts), a positive mood, and an overall feeling of wellness. In my experience with alpha brainwaves, the positive thoughts and mood definitely were due to my enhanced level of relaxation.
  • Increased levels of “serotonin” – Alpha brainwaves are associated with the neurotransmitter serotonin being released. Low levels of serotonin have been one factor that some researchers have linked to depression.
  • Deep self-introspection – Alpha brainwaves are associated with an increased awareness of your self: body and mind. Where as beta brainwaves cause the mind to focus more on external events, the alpha brainwaves enhance the overall awareness of one’s self.

Who has high amounts of alpha brainwaves?

  • Extroverts - Compared to introverts, extroverts have much more alpha brainwave activity. Researchers in the Faculty of Science at the University of Technology Sydney have discovered that the type of brainwaves in the prefronal cortex has correlated to introversion and extroversion. According to the results from their study: “If you have high amounts of alpha brainwaves, you are at least three times as likely to be an extrovert.”
  • Meditators – The goal of many meditation practices is to increase the amount of slower, alpha and theta brainwave patterns. Naturally your brain will enter a state of alpha awareness and calmness. Experienced meditators can recognize and control this state of awareness. Like any practice, the more you do it, the easier it becomes to enter alpha through meditation.
  • Children – Children tend to have much higher amounts of alpha and theta brainwaves than the average population. As we age, our beta brainwave pattern tends to increase and dominate the other patterns. That is why many adults would definitely benefit from an alpha brainwave increase more than a younger person.

Just like any of the other brainwave patterns, too much of a dominant rhythm can cause problems. By no means would it be recommended to increase a brainwave that you already have high levels of. In fact, you may experience some negative affects from the alpha brainwaves.

Problems associated with too many alpha brainwaves:

  • Lack of focus - Like I mentioned earlier, not everyone will benefit from an alpha brainwave increase. Though the alpha brainwave isn’t usually linked to lack of focus and ADD, in some cases it can created a foggy state of mind. If you are already very unfocused, increasing the alpha brainwave pattern is usually not recommended.
  • Too many daydreams – As you increase your alpha brainwaves, you may have too many daydreams without much control. Some daydreams are fine, but higher than average amounts of alpha brainwaves wouldn’t be of much benefit if you are already daydreamy.
  • Depression – High amounts of alpha brainwaves in conjunction with relatively little beta brainwave activity has been linked to depression. Though peak-performers are able to generate a big burst of alpha in their left hemisphere right before their best shots, too much alpha activity in the left-hemisphere of the brain has been linked to depression. If you are depressed from being overstimulated, alpha will probably help you out, if you are too understimulated, I suggest staying away from alpha and sticking to beta waves.
  • Tiredness – The alpha brainwave pattern has been linked to tiredness and drowsiness in some individuals. If you are working to increase your alpha and you notice yourself becoming tired or drowsy, it may be temporary and your brain is most likely readjusting to fit the new pattern. With that said, alpha brainwaves are the brainwaves that are naturally produced right after you close your eyes to fall asleep.
  • Lack of excitement – Though it is usually rare, some people may run into the problem of not feeling excitement for awhile. After my personal experience with alpha brainwaves, I felt super relaxed and unexcited for a couple weeks. It definitely helped calm my mind, but I did miss the feeling of excitement.
  • Lack of visual acuity – Alpha brainwaves are associated with a lack of visual acuity and visual awareness. Beta brainwaves are associated with heightened visual awareness and acuity. When slowing your brainwaves down to the alpha range, the visual area of the brain is also much less clear.
  • Overly receptive – In the alpha brainwave state, your brain may be overly receptive to suggestions and new information. Being overly receptive isn’t always a good thing and can make your subconscious more open to accepting negative suggested beliefs.

Healthy ways to increase alpha brainwaves:

  • Brainwave Optimizaton - As I mention a lot, brainwave
  • What are alpha brain waves?

    Alpha brain waves are considered relaxed brainwave activity. Alpha brainwaves are brainwaves that cycle within the range of 8 – 12 Hz and are usually generated in the brains right hemisphere or in a synchronized pattern between both right and left hemispheres. Alpha waves kick in when our mind and body are completely relaxed and free of stress.

    Alpha is generally thought of as the normal brainwave that is dominant in people who are relaxed, creative, and have a clear mind. Alpha is considered the “normal” brainwave pattern and is dominant when people close their eyes. Children tend to have much higher levels of alpha brainwaves than adults. Alpha brainwaves are considered the healthiest brainwave range and 10 Hz has widely been accepted as the “safest” brainwave frequency to train.

    Most children and younger teenagers have a dominant alpha rhythm. There isn’t a single brain wave pattern is better than the others – so don’t think alpha brainwaves are a “cure all.” If your brain is deficient in the alpha brainwave pattern, increasing them can feel awesome! I can personally testify based on my experience.

    Benefits of increasing alpha brain waves:

    • Relaxed body and mind - The alpha brainwave is associated with a completely relaxed body and mind. The brain’s thought process is slowed and the mind is clear. The body is completely relaxed and free of all tension and nervousness. Boosting the alpha brain wave is a great way to enjoy the feeling of relaxation and a great way to let go of all worries and tension.
    • Higher levels of creativity - The alpha brainwave rhythm is generally associated with above average levels of creativity. Alpha brainwave levels are found to be much higher in artists, musicians, and creative thinkers. Creative problem solvers are what many employers currently need to think of new, creative, innovative ideas for their companies. If you’d like to boost your creativity, consider giving alpha brainwaves a boost. Scientists have shown that highly-creative individuals tent to have different brainwaves than normal and less creative people. In order to be creative, your brain must be able to produce bursts of alpha brainwaves: mostly in the left-hemisphere. Why? Producing them on the left hemisphere shuts down the left-brain and allows the more creative, right-hemisphere to expose new ideas!
    • Improved ability to problem-solve - The problem associated with having too much of the beta brainwave pattern is the inabiltiy to problem solve and get past “mental blocks” by thinking creatively. Ever get writer’s block? Increasing your alpha brainwaves will most likely help you keep “flowing” right through your paper or article without getting “stuck.”
    • Balanced mood (emotional stability) - The alpha brainwave, especially the 10 Hz frequency, is associated with a balanced mood and stable emotions. Many overanxious and hyperactive, unstable people could greatly improve their brains by increasing their alpha brainwaves. Feeling emotionally stable means not overreacting to stressful situations and being able to maintain a calm state of mind. The alpha brainwave state is associated with a very stable state of mind.
    • Peak-performance – The 10 Hz alpha brainwave frequency is commonly referred to as a “peak performance” state of mind or being “in the zone.” There has been conclusive evidence from studies with professional basketball players and golfers that show alpha brainwaves increasing in their “left hemispheres” just before making a free-throw or shooting a great golf shot. In players that did not make the shot, beta brainwaves flooded their left-hemisphere. It seems that “over thinking” (beta brainwaves) or “under thinking” (theta brainwaves) are detrimental to gameplay. The study was also proved by comparing elite marksmen to novice marksmen. The elite marksmen showed a big burst of alpha in their left-brain hemisphere before their perfect shots. Professional athletes are much more likely to show the alpha rhythm, while novices and intermediate players show virtually none! It seems that the 10 Hz alpha brainwave is the best brainwave for athletes and marskmen looking to improve their performance and overall game.
    • Lowered levels of stress & anxiety - Lowered levels of stress and anxiety is a huge benefit that the alpha brainwave can bring to your life. Know anyone suffering from chronic stress or rapid, anxious thoughts? Suggest brainwave entrainment to them and have them read over this article to see whether or not they’d like to try to increase their alpha brainwaves.
    • Flow state of consciousness – A state of “flow,” refers to a mental state that all events and things seem to pass without problems. You are able to deal with life’s problems easily and aren’t overanxious or too relaxed. You are somewhere in between overstimulation and understimulation. In essence, you’re mind is “balanced” and in an optimal state of functioning.
    • “Super learning” ability – The alpha brainwave spectrum has been associated with “super learning” and being able to remember and retain information with less overall effort. The alpha brainwave state mostly improves one’s natural ability to passively absorb large amounts of information. Basically, you don’t need to make as much of an effort to learn a new ability, language, or skill.
    • Boosted immune system - Enhancing your alpha brainwaves can lead to self-healing and prevention of illness. This is due to the fact that alpha waves are usually associated with “lack of stress” and “relaxation.” Stress and too much anxiety can do harm to the immune system by releasing harmful chemicals such as epinephrine (adrenaline) and too much of the hormone: cortisol, associated with the adrenaline release.
    • Positive thinking – There has been some research that has found the alpha brainwave rhythm, especially the 10 Hz frequency, to be associated with a positive state of mind (i.e. positive thoughts), a positive mood, and an overall feeling of wellness. In my experience with alpha brainwaves, the positive thoughts and mood definitely were due to my enhanced level of relaxation.
    • Increased levels of “serotonin” – Alpha brainwaves are associated with the neurotransmitter serotonin being released. Low levels of serotonin have been one factor that some researchers have linked to depression.
    • Deep self-introspection – Alpha brainwaves are associated with an increased awareness of your self: body and mind. Where as beta brainwaves cause the mind to focus more on external events, the alpha brainwaves enhance the overall awareness of one’s self.

    Who has high amounts of alpha brainwaves?

    • Extroverts - Compared to introverts, extroverts have much more alpha brainwave activity. Researchers in the Faculty of Science at the University of Technology Sydney have discovered that the type of brainwaves in the prefronal cortex has correlated to introversion and extroversion. According to the results from their study: “If you have high amounts of alpha brainwaves, you are at least three times as likely to be an extrovert.”
    • Meditators – The goal of many meditation practices is to increase the amount of slower, alpha and theta brainwave patterns. Naturally your brain will enter a state of alpha awareness and calmness. Experienced meditators can recognize and control this state of awareness. Like any practice, the more you do it, the easier it becomes to enter alpha through meditation.
    • Children – Children tend to have much higher amounts of alpha and theta brainwaves than the average population. As we age, our beta brainwave pattern tends to increase and dominate the other patterns. That is why many adults would definitely benefit from an alpha brainwave increase more than a younger person.

     Problems associated with too many alpha brainwaves:

    • Lack of focus - Like I mentioned earlier, not everyone will benefit from an alpha brainwave increase. Though the alpha brainwave isn’t usually linked to lack of focus and ADD, in some cases it can created a foggy state of mind. If you are already very unfocused, increasing the alpha brainwave pattern is usually not recommended.
    • Too many daydreams – As you increase your alpha brainwaves, you may have too many daydreams without much control. Some daydreams are fine, but higher than average amounts of alpha brainwaves wouldn’t be of much benefit if you are already daydreamy.
    • Depression – High amounts of alpha brainwaves in conjunction with relatively little beta brainwave activity has been linked to depression. Though peak-performers are able to generate a big burst of alpha in their left hemisphere right before their best shots, too much alpha activity in the left-hemisphere of the brain has been linked to depression. If you are depressed from being overstimulated, alpha will probably help you out, if you are too understimulated, I suggest staying away from alpha and sticking to beta waves.
    • Tiredness – The alpha brainwave pattern has been linked to tiredness and drowsiness in some individuals. If you are working to increase your alpha and you notice yourself becoming tired or drowsy, it may be temporary and your brain is most likely readjusting to fit the new pattern. With that said, alpha brainwaves are the brainwaves that are naturally produced right after you close your eyes to fall asleep.
    • Lack of excitement – Though it is usually rare, some people may run into the problem of not feeling excitement for awhile. After my personal experience with alpha brainwaves, I felt super relaxed and unexcited for a couple weeks. It definitely helped calm my mind, but I did miss the feeling of excitement.
    • Lack of visual acuity – Alpha brainwaves are associated with a lack of visual acuity and visual awareness. Beta brainwaves are associated with heightened visual awareness and acuity. When slowing your brainwaves down to the alpha range, the visual area of the brain is also much less clear.
    • Overly receptive – In the alpha brainwave state, your brain may be overly receptive to suggestions and new information. Being overly receptive isn’t always a good thing and can make your subconscious more open to accepting negative suggested beliefs.

    Healthy ways to increase alpha brainwaves:

    • Brainwave Optimization - As I mention a lot, brainwave optimization is great for fine tuning your state of consciousness and awareness.  
    • Meditation - The goal of most types of meditation is to lower the brainwaves into the alpha-theta brainwave range. A very safe, healthy way to increase your alpha brainwaves is to make meditation a daily habit or start up a meditation routine. If you are already meditating, great! You’ll naturally increase flexibility with your alpha brainwaves as you continue the process. 
    • Visualization - Every time that you close your eyes and visualize, alpha activity significantly increases. If you are the type of person that often enjoys shutting your eyes to imaging or picture things, you’ll have a naturally higher amount of alpha brainwave activity than others. Visualization can go hand-in-hand with a meditation practice, but if you’d rather only visualize, you’ll still be boosting your alpha brainwaves!
    • Yoga – Like meditation, yoga is yet another activity that promotes relaxation and wellbeing by shifting your brainwaves to the calming patterns of alpha and theta. There are many different types of yoga, and if practiced right, they’ll definitely allow you to tap into your alpha awareness.
    • Deep-breathing – Deep breathing is not only great for improving overall oxygen levels in the brain and body, it is great for achieving a state of relaxation. When you make deep-breathing a habit, you will begin to feel more relaxed and your brainwaves will shift from the somewhat stressful beta brainwaves to the alpha rhythm.
    • Saunas / Hot Tubs – Not only do saunas and hot tubs cause your entire body to feel completely relaxed, they cause your mind to quiet and drowsiness to kick in. The brainwave associated with those feelings of relaxation like you’ve been sitting in a hot tub or in a steamy sauna are the alpha waves. Same would apply for laying in the sun tanning on a nice warm beach — feeling the hot sun soak into your body is deeply relaxing. That feeling of deep relaxation is due to an increased amount of alpha brainwaves. 

    Unhealthy ways to increase alpha brainwaves:

    • Drinking alcohol – In moderation, alcohol probably won’t kill your precious brain cells, but it isn’t a healthy activity for your body or your brain. Alcohol is a huge alpha brainwave booster. Are you a person that is constantly getting drunk to relax? Alpha brainwaves are the reason that tense and stressed people turn to alcohol. When you are drunk, your brain produces lots of alpha brainwaves and lowers your inhibitions.
    • Smoking marijuana - Though there is controversy as to whether or not smoking marijuana is good or bad, I personally don’t consider marijuana or any other illegal substance to be healthy. Smoking marijuana does increase alpha brainwaves, which is why smoking marijuana makes people feel relaxed. Marijuana will not give you the aware, synchronized, peak-performance alpha brainwave that most people are striving for.
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