Thursday, May 7, 2009

Advantages and disadvantages of theta brainwave stimulation (4 -8 hz)

Theta brainwaves are considered extremely relaxing brainwave activity that is commonly associated with sleep and dreaming. Theta brainwaves are high in amplitude and cycle within the range of 4 – 8 Hz and are usually generated in the brains right hemisphere.Theta waves kick in when we feel emotional, relaxed, daydreamy, unfocused, or are asleep.

Theta brainwaves are generally thought of as the brainwaves that are dominant in people with A.D.D., high levels of relaxation, high levels of creativity, and random thinking. The theta brainwave is considered the brainwave pattern that is dominant in deeply relaxed, dream sleep but they are also related with slow brain..

Benefits of increasing theta brain waves:

Deep levels of relaxation
Theta brainwaves while a person is awake is extremely uncommon. However, advanced meditators and children are 2 groups of people that are able to enjoy the deeply relaxing benefits of the theta brainwave. Remember what you felt like when you were a kid? The theta brainwave is a carefree state of mind that makes you feel emotionally connected with others.

Emotional connection
The theta brainwave range is associated with strong, powerful emotions. The cool thing about theta brainwaves is as they increase, so does the intensity of your emotions. Often times beta brainwaves can block out our emotions or not allow us to fully experience our natural emotions.

Advanced intuition
Ever have a powerful gut-instinct that helped you make a good decision? Or a gut-instinct that you should’ve followed? If we get ourselves too caught up in the upper brainwave patterns of beta, our intuitiveness becomes severely damaged. As you increase your theta brainwaves, your intuition will increase as well as your ability to recognize those feelings in your “gut.”

Subconscious connection
Though the alpha brainwave is capable of bridging the gap between conscious thoughts and the subconscious, the theta brainwave allows us to deeply connect with our subconscious mind. The subconscious mind, or our brain’s right-hemisphere becomes activated when slower brainwaves like alpha and theta waves kick in. If you spend too much time in beta, it may feel incredible to finally relax and allow yourself to connect with your subconscious mind.

Peak levels of creativity
The theta brainwave is often found in highly creative individuals. Many talented musicians, inventors, and artists are found to have extremely higher than average amounts of theta brainwaves. Utilizing the theta brainwave will definitely enhance your overall levels of creativity!

Advanced problem solving skills
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 theta or alpha brainwaves will most likely help you keep “flowing” right through your paper or article without getting “stuck.” I’ve heard cases of alpha brainwaves used to help prevent writer’s block and I’ve also read that theta waves were very effective.

Lower anxiety, stress, and neurosis
Lowered levels of stress and anxiety is yet another benefit that the theta brainwave can bring to your life. Not all people with large amounts of theta waves are relaxed, but the theta brainwave band has been linked to lower levels of anxiety, stress, and neurosis. Increasing the total amount of theta brainwaves will help slow rapid thoughts and will make you feel more comfortable in your own body.

Bridges the spiritual connection
Many consider the theta brainwave to be a bridge between the physical body and spiritual body. The theta brainwave has been associated with deeper spirituality and a deep spiritual connection. According to some, the theta brainwave range provides enhanced spiritual awareness and profound insight. Many spiritual experiences and phenomena are commonly experienced in the theta brainwave state.

Ability to program subconscious mind
There is some evidence to believe that by targeting the lower brainwave patterns and using affirmations or positive self talk, you can change some of your deepest unconscious beliefs or emotional blockages. In the theta brainwave range, the brain is extremely open to suggestion and new ideas. It is the openness of the brain in the theta frequency range that constitutes the ability to re-program the brain.

Paranormal Experiences
People are especially open to psychic experiences, OOBE’s (Out Of Body Experiences), visions, ESP, and other phenomenon in the theta brainwave range. Though most paranormal and psychic experiences can be argued to be real or fake, there is evidence that most people tend to have them when their brain is full of theta brainwaves. Psychics are supposedly able to tap the theta brainwave range in order to connect with higher spirits and the divine.

300% boost in learning ability
Though the alpha brainwave spectrum (8 - 12 Hz) has been associated with “super learning” abilities, the theta brainwave frequency range has been heavily linked to profound learning benefits. As your mind is able to enter the frequencies of the theta range, you will be able to retain over 300% more information than you can while in the beta brainwave state.

Boosted immune system
Increasing your theta brainwaves can lead to a boosted immune system due to the fact that theta brainwaves are associated with vitality and usually zero stress. 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. The theta brainwave releases pleasant chemicals and neurotransmitters to help keep your immune system at it’s peak.

Improved long-term memory
As theta brainwaves increase, the ability of the brain to recall and store long-term memories increases. The hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in memory processing and storing memories, has a normalized theta brainwave rhythm passing through this area. As we become more stressed out, the beta brainwaves throw the normalized theta brainwaves of the hippocampus out of sync. This is why stressful people usually have poorer ability to recall long-term memories.

Ability to hyperfocus
Many people with high amounts of theta brainwave activity are able to “get in the zone” and stay intensely focused and motivated with one idea. Many people with ADD or ADHD attribute their success in certain areas of life to their ability to hyperfocus. Hyperfocus is a unique phenomenon that can really only be experienced in the theta brainwave range. Some meditators have also claimed to have learned the hyperfocus ability.

Healing of body and mind
The theta brainwave rhythm is well-known to rejuvenate, replenish, and heal the body and mind. The theta brainwave is known to reset your brains sodium / potassium ion ratio. When you get yourself heavily involved in the upper frequencies of the beta range, your brain’s sodium / potassium ion ratio is severely thrown out of sync. Due to the deep levels of relaxation that the theta brainwave brings, the body and mind is easily able to restore itself after a tough mental or physical workout.

Do not increase your alpha brainwaves if you suffer from the following:

Inability to focus
Like I mentioned earlier, not everyone will benefit from a theta brainwave increase. The theta brainwave range has been specifically linked to lack of focus and ADD. In most cases, theta brainwaves are associated with mental fogginess, daydreaming activity, and random thinking. If you are already extremely unfocused, increasing your theta brainwaves is not a good idea!

Too many daydreams
Like the alpha brainwaves, as you increase theta brainwaves, you may have too many daydreams without any control over it. Higher than average amounts of theta brainwaves is never beneficial and too many daydreams is a prime example of why you may not want to entrain theta.

High amounts of theta brainwaves are found in individuals’ brains that have been diagnosed with clinical depression. Usually, individuals that have too many lower brainwaves tend to feel more depressed: increasing the amount of beta brainwaves will help them out! If you are depressed from being overstimulated, theta or alpha brainwaves can help your condition improve, but if you are too understimulated, I suggest staying away from alpha or theta brainwaves and sticking to beta.

The theta brainwave pattern has been linked to dream sleep. The theta brainwave is found in individuals that are sound asleep or extremely tired. Sleepiness and drowsiness occur when theta brainwaves are found in people that are fully awake. When increasing your theta brainwaves, it is extremely common to fall asleep and wake up feeling refreshed. It is very tough to stay aware in the theta state of consciousness unless you are training through meditation.

Lack of excitement
Excitement is associated with beta brainwaves and the adrenaline that they produce. It is not uncommon to feel unexcited, or extreme feelings of boredom while in the theta range. If you are currently finding yourself bored with new activities, it is time to work to increase your beta brainwaves and stay away from increasing theta.

Extreme impulsiveness
Since a lack of conscious thought is associated with theta brainwaves, it is not uncommon for extremely impulsive people to be high in theta brainwaves. One symptom ofADD is being overly impulsive. It isn’t at all a surprise that increasing the total amount of theta brainwaves correlates with higher levels of impulsive behavior.

Because the brain is functioning at such a slow brainwave pattern, the central nervous system is using up less overall energy. All the energy that you accumulate from food you eat needs to be put to use somehow. Having too much theta brainwave activity allows your brain and CNS to get by with less energy. Since the brain and CNS use less overall energy, the excess energy is expressed in the individual through hyperactive behaviors.

Overly receptive mind
In the theta 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. Many hypnotherapists target the theta brainwave range to help you implant new beliefs into your mind.

Healthy ways to increase theta brainwaves:

Brainwave entrainment
As I mention a lot, brainwave entrainment is great for fine tuning your state of consciousness and awareness. If you want to easily and naturally experience theta brainwaves, brainwave entrainment is an easy process that involves simply listening to a tone (stimulus) and your brainwaves naturally shift in order to match the frequency associated with the acoustic tone.

Listening to music
Virtually all genres of music (besides classical) target the brain’s right hemisphere and increase theta brainwave levels. Ever wonder why music makes you feel more emotional or provokes an intense emotional reaction from within? Music brings emotions to the surface because when we listen, our brain naturally increases it’s theta brainwaves!

Getting a good night’s sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for staying healthy, keeping a healthy, powerful brain. Though theta brainwaves will not increase when you wake up the next day, they are highly prevalent in your brain while you are sleeping. Most dream-sleep is linked to an increase in theta brainwave activity, whereas dreamless sleep is mostly linked to delta brainwave activity.

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 theta 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 to travel through the alpha brainwave range to experience the depths of theta.

Hypnosis / Self-hypnosis
The goal of all hypnosis and self-hypnosis programs is to target the lower brainwave ranges (i.e. alpha and theta) and implant new beliefs. Doing self-hypnosis on a consistent basis or seeing a hypnotherapist will definitely help you reduce stress by increasing your theta brainwaves.

Creative Visualization
Every time that you close your eyes and do creative visualization, the amount of natural theta brainwave increases. Though it is tough to maintain awareness in a brainwave state predominantly comprised of theta waves, it can be done. Creative visualization will give your theta brainwaves a nice, healthy boost while you are engaged in this eyes-closed, extremely-relaxed process.

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 slow your brainwaves and allow you to experience a much greater sense of awareness and insight within the theta range.

Unhealthy ways to increase theta brainwaves:

Skipping sleep
Depriving yourself of a good night’s sleep or completely skipping sleep will increase the amount of cortisol (a hormone associated with stress and aging) and will flood your brain with a combination of unfocused brainwaves: mostly theta, some delta and in some cases high-beta.

Taking Valium (diazepam)
Valium is a sedative that is commonly used to treat anxiety, stress, and panic. Taking the drug Valium will increase your brain’s lower frequency brainwaves: mostly theta. The theta brainwaves are what makes a person feel tired and deeply relaxed. If you have ever taken Valium, you know what a kick of the theta brainwaves feel like.

Drinking Alcohol
Though drinking alcohol primarily increases the total amount of a person’s alpha brainwaves, it definitely has an effect on the theta range too. In extreme cases of alcoholism and drunkenness, the theta brainwave pattern can dominate the brain and leave the individual extremely confused and impair all memory functions.

Hallucinogenics (i.e. Magic Mushrooms / LSD / Acid)
Hallucinogenic drugs like Magic Mushrooms, LSD, and Acid are definitely not wise to take. They are things that kill your brain cellsand can cause a user to have extremely negative reactions that result in huge emotional upheavals and possible psychotic episodes.

Final evaluation of theta brainwaves:

I personally think that theta brainwaves can feel awesome and are great to experience. The emotional intensity that is associated with high amounts of theta feels great. With that said, theta can be an intense brainwave to experience. If you find yourself overemotional and depressed, the theta band is not recommended. You should be the judge as to whether or not increasing theta is best for you. If you are already experiencing many of the listed “benefits,” you probably don’t need much of an theta brainwave booster.

Are you already an overemotional person? If so, chances are good that your brain naturally produces large amounts of theta brainwave activity and you may not need a boost. If you are experiencing too many of the listed negative effects, you may want to consider speeding up your brainwaves into the beta range.

I personally don’t recommend entraining the alpha brainwave or the theta brainwave if you currently know that your brain already produces large amounts of theta.

Extracted from:
Understanding the theta brainwave

Example of theta session

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