Introduction to Brain Waves
Our brain consists of millions and millions of so called neurons. These neurons all communicate with each other via electrical impulses. When we measure that electrical brain activity, we can see on an EEG (a device for measuring these electrical impulses) a wave pattern. So, these electrical impulses travel as a wave. That's why we call them "brainwaves".
There are several types of brainwaves, which differ in frequency and amplitude (and what a person is doing, e.g. reading or sleeping).
Theta brain waves are one of them. They belong to the slowest brainwaves and are the brainwave state of the subconscious mind.
Occurrence of Theta Waves
Theta waves mostly occur, when we aren't actively thinking. They nearly always occur in sleep during dreams and in meditations. So, these activities all require some sort of non-verbal thinking, which is mostly shutting off the brain.
There is one exception to it, though. People, who are engaging in a creative activity such as painting, drawing, making music (either thinking of it or playing it on an instrument) have a lot of theta brain waves activity (and alpha waves). Creativity is a subconscious process and thus the mind has a lot of theta waves.
Importance of Theta Waves
Theta waves play a very important role in the human mind. They represent the subconscious mind and everything what has to do with it. Stressed out people spend too much time in the beta brain wave state of mind. This results into a huge deficit in alpha and theta waves (in other words, they were not able to have some time for themselves in order to relax). Consequences can be that the brain produces only little to no alpha and theta waves. People often experience this as not being able to really connect to their emotional selves or to their creativity, for example. Another phenomenon is the so called "Alpha Block". There are theta brain waves and a lot of beta brain waves, but no alpha waves. Thus, subconscious material (unfulfilled creativity, memories, emotions and so on) cannot become conscious, since alpha waves work as a bridge between the two minds.
So, having a healthy amount of theta waves (and alpha waves) is necessary to be able to "access" our subconscious mind.
Theta waves do play a very important role in the human's self-healing abilities and in (super-)learning. Since these topics are too long for this article, I recommend you to read the article on the correlation of theta waves and self-healing and the article on super-learning with theta waves.
Theta Waves in Meditation
Theta waves play a key role in meditation. When we start to shut off our busy minds and simply concentrate on either our breathing or on the mere fact that We Are (or on something else), the amount of beta brain waves reduces to a minimum and our brain produces a lot more alpha and theta waves. After some time, the meditator will access the theta state of mind, which is very exciting (in my opinion). Creativity and learning are enhanced and one might also "see" very personal pictures. In therapy, accessing a deep level of the theta mind can be very useful to treat difficult mental problems.
Since one can "see" such pictures also in a "lighter" meditation (when we are still in the alpha state of mind; often at the beginning of a meditation), I will provide you a tabelle, where you can see the differences.
Theta Images vs Alpha Images
not that distinct
not so sharp
Depth of Meaning
deep meaning; images are very personal and come from deep within; sometimes, they feel like a divine inspiration or gift; unexplicable knowledge; many blue & violets colors indicate strong theta activity
images are less meaningful; don't come from deep within
How to increase Theta Waves in your brain
There are two ways to increase theta waves. One way is listening to binaural beats. The other one is, let's say, a natural way of increasing theta waves.
The "natural" way are special meditations. On YouTube, they are called "fantasy guided meditations". These meditations are very sutiable for beginners. What one does is listening to a person, who tells you what to imagine. You are often required to imagine a nice, safe landscape and then you start exploring it. Important words are "through, around, in, to" and so on (words that imply deeper exploration). Guided meditations work even better when they are combined with a binaural beat track.
For each purpose, there are many guided meditations. If you think, there's something deep inside you, a feeling or emotion, that you should connect with, but can't, then it is advisable to look for exploring emotions based meditations.
In the book "The High Performance Mind", one can find many really helpful scripts for guided meditations (the book has also a lot of scientific information on brainwaves).
The alternative would be simply listening to theta binaural beats. The brain becomes stimulated to a frequency the better you can simply turn off your brain from any random thoughts (it is not easy to "turn off" your brain, so unexperienced meditators might have some troubles at the beginning). The following section will show you which frequency will give you which benefits mostly. Of course, all frequencies will give you more or less all of the benefits, but each has its focus.
Benefits of Theta Waves with Frequency list
8 Hz - good for learning new information; good for self-visualization in self-healing
7.5 Hz - creative thought of art, music, maths, science; good for guided meditations; Awareness of the Self
7 Hz - treatment of sleep disturbances; mental and astral projections; linked with psychic abilities
6.5 Hz - center of theta frequency; activates the creative frontal lobe
6 Hz - long term memory stimulation; helps to reduce unwillingness to work (you become less lazy; I tried that out and it worked in my case!)
5.5 Hz - shows vision of growth needed ("Inner Guidance")
5 Hz - unusual problem solving; reduces amount of sleep needed; very relaxed states are attained
4.5 Hz - wakeful dreaming, vivid imagery
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There are many benefits one can get out of increasing theta brainwave acitivity. They can be used to enhance meditation, get in touch with us more intimitately, increase creative thinking and even enhance our healing abilities. It is important to keep in mind that too much theta brainwave activity also has its dark side. It becomes harder to focus and one might become more forgetful. I personally think that if you don't listen to theta waves for 20 hours straight you should be quite in the safe zone. People, who have a brain injury or who have concentration problems or disorders like ADD and ADHD should first talk to their doctors.
I recommend you to experiment with them for some time, in order to find out, which is the best for you. But be aware that if you have an uncomfortable or weird feeling about theta brainwave entrainment, it would be advisable to stop and try to figure out, why that is so.
- 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:
© 2013 Slaven Cvijetic
Sally on November 09, 2014:
Actually, I've stumbled onto to something that actually relaxes me. I'm over 60 and have always had insomnia. This is a HUGE discovery! Thank you x 10!
David Lloyd-Jones on September 07, 2014:
This goes a good way to answering the question I posd on your You Tube page.
Slaven Cvijetic (author) from Switzerland, Zurich on November 08, 2013:
Many thanks for your comment! There will be many more of these hubs, so if you're interested you might want to check back time and again ;).
Dilip Chandra from India on November 07, 2013:
Good knowledge hub, thank you.