Meditation and your brain waves – what really happens

The practice of meditation is known to have some pretty amazing effects.John

What exactly is going on in your brain, during your effortless and relaxing meditation sessions?

One thing we know about the brain, is that it is constantly producing electro-magnetic energy, in the form of waves, which can be detected and measured with the appropriate scientific instruments.

When these ‘brain waves’ are analysed, it can be seen that there are many different sizes (or frequencies) produced at any one time. You could see a similar effect if you drop a number of different sized pebbles and rocks into a pond, then observed the various wave sizes.

However, the reality is that in different states, the brain produces a higher proportion of one size of wave, this being the dominant frequency at that time. To go back to our pond, it is as if sixty or seventy percent of the pebbles are all of one size, dropped in the same area.

During our waking hours, the dominant brain wave pattern is produced by what are known as ‘beta’ waves.
These have a frequency of approximately 14hz to 24hz and are thought of as our normal, busy brain. When illustrated graphically, they look somewhat chaotic and fragmented.

Words illustration of a person doing meditation in white background.

When we start to relax mentally, we begin producing more waves in the ‘alpha’ part of the spectrum, usually between approximately 8hz and 13hz. This can sometimes be experienced during those moments between sleep and wakefullness; usually quite pleasant and sometimes bringing creative thoughts.

When alpha wave dominance can be produced at will, many people find it greatly aids concentration and creativity.

As we relax more deeply, we move down to the ‘theta’ waves, between 4hz and 7hz. During these periods, we experience visionary, or dream states. This is more usually experiences during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and some of us regularly remember dreams, while others do not.

Again, when theta can be experienced deliberately, increased creativity has been reported.

During the deepest form of relaxation, we are usually in profound sleep and totally unaware of our surroundings. This is when the brain waves are predominantly in the ‘delta’ range of 0.5hz to 4hz.
This is vital for our brain rejuvenation, but most of us know little of what is happening.

To the majority of people, brain waves just happen; to an experienced meditator, there are exciting possibilities, with ‘journeys’ through the various wave patterns bringing pleasure and fascination.

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