Note: If you enjoy this article, consider reading “Benefits of Alpha and Theta Brain Waves.”
Slower brain waves can keep us healthier: mentally and physically
Utilizing brainwave entrainment consistently can definitely yield many health-related benefits. Using alpha brain waves can result in calmness, peacefulness, and relaxation – which helps block stress from crippling our immune system. Boosting theta brain waves can improve our health by making us feel younger, giving us more energy, and improving our immune system. And finally, delta brain waves allow us to produce anti-aging hormones, they boost our immune system, and allow our body to replenish itself. Each of those “slower brain waves” sound like they can produce wonderful health benefits. It definitely sounds wonderful that these “slower brain waves” are able to do such a phenomenal job at keeping us healthy.
Powerful relaxation and better overall wellbeing
A common benefit to increasing the amount of slow brain waves [i.e. alpha, theta, delta] in your brain is feeling deeply relaxed. Scientists have found that when the brain is in slower brain wave states [like alpha and theta], it produces specific hormones and “neuropeptides.” These hormones and neuropeptides that are produced have been linked to boosted memory, creativity, and ability to learn.
Each time you lower the baseline frequency of your brain waves, the more you will feel the healthy anti-stress, anti-aging hormones and neuropeptides. These naturally boost your overall level of relaxation and wellbeing. What the slower brain waves also do is increase the amount of beneficial neurotransmitters and endorphins in the brain. For example: using alpha and theta brain waves will increase your overall level of relaxation by increasing the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is an extremely helpful neurotransmitter that has been linked to both mental and physical relaxation. Also, certain slower brainwave frequencies produce endorphins which make us feel good – like a “natural high.”
For these reasons, virtually any time you utilize brainwave entrainment, neurofeedback, meditation, or even yoga, you are able to feel more relaxed and peaceful. What do all of the mentioned exercises have in common? Though they may all be “different forms” of exercising your brain, in the end, they will all slow down your brain waves.
Why you feel “a natural high” after running
Though you may not know it or remember it, you’ve likely experienced “a natural high” – also known as, your body bein flooded with the production of endorphins. Each time that you go for a run or do any form of hard cardiovascular exercise, endorphins are released. Most people have experienced the benefits of endorphins; whether it be after a long run, basketball game, or other sporting event.
Though you will usually feel very exhausted and were very sweaty after a hard workout, you will also usually feel very good. After working out we naturally feel physically relaxed [and tired], plus – we feel mentally relaxed and calm. Though I highly recommend exercise to increase your overall level of wellbeing, it is not the only activity that will make you feel good by producing endorphins. Any time you utilize brainwave entrainment, neurofeedback, meditation, or yoga, in order to slow your brain waves, you will probably feel the same endorphins ["natural high"] that you did after a strenuous workout.
How endorphins boost our cognition [i.e. memory and learning]
Though you already know that endorphins allow our bodies to feel a natural high, you may not have known that each time we enter an alpha or theta brain wave state, specific endorphins kick-in that actually boost our overall cognition; they improve our memory and ability to learn. Scientific research has proved that in rats that were injected with endorphins had improved memories – they also were able to run through mazes more quickly. Research has also shown that the production of endorphins can actually reverse amnesia – [a condition in which memory is disrupted].
Researchers have also thought that the parts of the brain that are involved in the production of endorphins, are the exact same areas that are involved with memory and learning. One study even proposed that each time we learn – our brain releases endorphins to reward itself and to help us store our memories. This is why memorizing and ability to learn are boosted each time we have increased production of endorphins in our brains.
Increased endorphins in our brain has been linked to theta and alpha brain wave states of consciousness. Think about it: each time we are able to slow our brain waves to the alpha and / or theta range, it is naturally easier for us to drop our old beliefs and literally “learn” new beliefs. This is why you may have heard that slowing your brain waves down to theta and alpha ranges allows you to re-program your beliefs.
How alpha and theta brain waves boost our learning abilities
Catecholamines, acetylcholine, and vasopressin, are three [among many] of the beneficial hormones and other helpful neuropeptides that are produced in slower brain wave frequencies. Studies have shown that acetylcholine is vital for long term memory. They have also found that when acetylcholine production [in the brain] is high, we experience boosts in our long-term memory. More studies have found that when individuals take supplements that boost the production of acetylcholine in the brain, they are better at learning and have improved memories.
Individuals who have lower levels of acetylcholine usually struggle with tasks involving learning and memory. Individuals with the devastating Alzheimer’s disease usually have very low levels of acetylcholine. Theta brain waves have been specifically linked to the production of the neuropeptide vasopressin – a neuropeptide which improves reaction time, ability to learn, and ability to remember. Theta brain waves also have the ability to produce catecholamines which aid once again in our learning process and memory.
Boosted attention and alertness
It is not only our production of neuropeptides that allows us to learn more effectively in slower brainwave patterns. Because theta and alpha brain wave states are linked to relaxation, we experience decreased blood pressure, heart rate, and our entire body feels relaxed. This boosts the overall oxygen level in our brains and maximizes bloodflow to our cortex. This naturally boosts our attention span and level of alertness. Boosted attention and alertness makes it much easier to memorize and learn new things.
Slower brain waves and feeling young again
Are you a person that wishes you could get back some of the same energy you had when you were a kid? Though there are many products on the market to help you: look younger, feel more energetic, happier, and healthier, many do not work. Why? Because they don’t target your brain waves! Research has found that patterns of delta brain waves, theta brain waves, and alpha brain waves, positively affect the production of the hormones: melatonin, DHEA, and cortisol. These three brain wave patterns are able to slow aging, boost relaxation, and increase our overall wellbeing.
In the alpha and theta brain wave ranges, the amount of melatonin and DHEA is significantly boosted in our brains. Research has discovered that DHEA can increase over 50% in certain cases! Even more impressive were the studies on melatonin. Researchers found that slower brain waves boosted the production of melatonin by 300% in some cases! Average melatonin increases were nearly 100%… On top of all the other benefits, the production of cortisol – [a stress hormone usually produced by high-beta brain waves], declined by nearly 50%!
Increase anti-aging hormones
As mentioned earlier, the hormone “cortisol” is a powerful stress hormone that has potential to actually kill brain cells. It has been linked to sped-up aging, health problems, anxiety, and stress. Because of the problems associated with cortisol, it can have a significantly negative impact on our memory, ability to learn, and our overall wellbeing. It is definitely not favorable to have high levels of cortisol floating around in your body.
With that said, DHEA is a hormone that you want to have plenty of in your body. Like cortisol, it is produced by our adrenal glands. Usually, in your twenties, DHEA production will reach its maximum. In your thirties, DHEA production declines and as you age – it continues to decline. Individuals who are over 70 have roughly 1/5th the amount of DHEA as an individual in their twenties. When our DHEA levels drop low, we are more susceptible to developing disease, getting sick, and aging quickly. The higher we keep our levels of DHEA, the less likely we are to get sick, become stressed out, or speed up our aging process.
Lastly, we notice significant improvements with the hormone melatonin. Melatonin has been linked to better, more restful sleep. You already know that sleep is very beneficial for replenishing the brain and body with vital neurotransmitters and hormones. Each time we get a quality night’s sleep, we help ward off the aging process. When we get poor quality sleep, we speed up our aging process. Like DHEA, the amount of melatonin produced in our bodies declines as we get older. For this reason, it is important to lower our brain waves to the alpha and theta rhythms and boost our melatonin levels.
Why slower brain waves release helpful neurotransmitters
Hopefully, you now fully [or better] understand that when you increase your alpha, theta, and delta brain waves [slower brain waves] your brain naturally increases the production of beneficial hormones. This is why many people [including researchers] consider activities such as: brainwave entrainment, meditation, and yoga to be beneficial. Have you ever questioned why the brain produces these helpful hormones and neurotransmitters in the slower brainwave frequencies?
Well, according to scientific research, neurons ["brain cells"] are electrochemically triggered to produce certain neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and certain hormones at certain brainwave frequencies. Neurons are almost “activated” to produce certain neurochemicals when they are interacting with certain brainwave frequencies. Think of brain waves as communication in the brain. The neurons and the brain communicate by sending specific brainwave frequencies.
This is why each time your brain waves are slowed to the alpha range or theta range, they produce different, more helpful neurochemicals than they would in the beta range. Slowing your brain waves with entrainment is comparable to sending a direct message to your brain cells to start creating helpful neurochemicals. The concept is easy to understand too. Each time you get a quality night’s sleep, your brain shifts to the lower theta and delta ranges.
When you wake up, you usually feel like your energy supply has been replenished… That’s because your energy supply was replenished by the delta and theta brain waves. They produced many helpful, healing hormones and neurotransmitters while you were asleep! Though slower brain waves tend to have a lot of health-related benefits, you should never rule out your beta brain waves. Each brain wave has something helpful to offer / bring to the table.