Overview of the brain waves (Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta)
Brain waves in general
The brain consists of an uncountable amount of brain cells. These brain cells are called neurons. There are millions of them, each is unique and has its own function. At all times, they communcate with each other via electrical impulses. Depending in which state if consciousness you are (sleeping, relaxing, problem solving, meditating and so on), not all of them are needed to be "actively" working. For example, in sleep, we are mostly unconscious of what is going on and the brain "goes standby".
Also, the "speed" of the electrical impulses differs. During tasks, that require fast thinking, the communication is much faster. The electrical activity can be measured with an electroencephalogram (an EEG) and the picture shows a wave like pattern. This is the reason why we call these electrical impulses between neurons brain waves.
There are the following "basic brain waves":
- Beta waves (12Hz - 40Hz): Occur while awake; Beta waves are associated with general problem solving and thinking processes, but also with stress and panic. Too much of it (e.g. if you are very stressed nearly all the time over a longer period of time) results into depression and concentration disorders.
- Alpha waves (8.5Hz - 12Hz): Occur while awake; Alpha waves are considered to be the "chill waves". They often occur when you are just hanging and doing nothing. They are also very important regarding the connection of the conscious and the subconscious mind. Alpha waves work as a bridge, so if you are little to no alpha brain wave activity you may have great troubles accessing your creativity or thinking more deeply about yourself.
- Theta waves (4.5Hz - 8Hz): Occur during sleep and dreaming; Theta waves represent the subconscious mind. They are connected with personal insight, creativity, inspiration and super learning. Too much of it can result in focusing problems (most often such people already have a brain injury or ADD).
- Delta waves (0.5Hz - 4Hz): Occur during deep and dreamless sleep; Delta waves represent the unconscious mind, think of them as being your innate radar. High levels of delta waves often occur in intuitive and compassionate people. Increasing delta waves with binaural beats helps the body to activate and use its innate self healing abilities. Too much of it has been found in people with ADD and ADHD. Listening to delta waves before going to bed results in an extremely restoring sleep.
0.33Hz Epsilon brain waves (binaural beats)
Definition of lambda and epsilon brain waves
Lambda and epsilon waves are two extraordinary types. Lambda waves have a frequency (speed) of 200Hz and more. Epsilon waves are the exact opposite. Their frequency is everything below 0.5Hz.
Lambda and epsilon waves do not normally occur under normal waking conditions in normal humans. Due to the extremely high frequency and very small amplitude they are hard to detect with an EEG if they occur at all.
Both brain waves have been found in out of body experiences. The EEG showed lambda brain wave activity and it looked like as if the lambda wave was "riding" on the epsilon wave if one "zooms out".
Epsilon waves have been found in extremely deep states of meditation. They are connected with a feeling of complete bliss and compassion. If a meditator reaches the epsilon brain wave state of mind one can experience extreme spiritual and personal insight and inspiration. Also, a spontaneous out of body experience can occur (in combination with lambda waves). It can also ac as a pain relief.
There is still a lot of research going on regarding these brain waves.
Lambda and espilon waves (and hypergamma waves) show all the same psychic and physilogical benefits for humans, except for the sleep induction property. Epsilon waves can help to have a good night's sleep, where lambda waves would not really do much, although I personally recommend to listen to a delta frequency for good sleep rather than to epsilon waves.
Book Reviews (regarding Brain Waves and Meditation):
- The High Performance Mind
- Awakening the Mind
- What are Brain Waves and what is brainwave entrainment
- Beta Waves
- Alpha Waves
- Theta Waves
- Delta Waves
- Benefits of Delta Waves
- Gamma Waves
- Lambda and Epsilon Waves
Applied Binaural Beats:
© 2014 Slaven Cvijetic
Alfred on February 22, 2018:
That's a great point Phil, thanks for the insiteful comments...!
Phil on September 23, 2016:
You have a window covering this page that asks me to state how good is this article? But this window covers the article and I am not allowed to read it. Therefore I must rate the article as 1.