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‘Waving’ away some brain issues. Pt 1

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‘Waving’ away some brain issues. Pt 1

Many of us have heard the term EEG but what do you really know about it? It’s one of those things we hear about and sort of know about, but not really.

Let me share some of the basics with you today.

In the next issue, we’ll share the practical application of this today’s information.

 

Quote

Certain frequencies of brain waves are inhibitory, whilst others are excitatory. This means that the stimulation of certain wave bands may be responsible for characteristics associated with over-arousal (e.g. fidgeting, hyperactivity and feelings of agitation), whilst others lead to features of under-arousal (e.g. poor concentration, spaciness, and day-dreaming). 

~Neurofeedback Alliance 

 

  Action Ideas (Ideas to get ya thinkin’. Not medical advice)

  • The neurons within our brain communicate our behavior, emotions, and thoughts using electrical pulses. These pulses are synchronised to form brainwaves.
  • An EEG (electroencephalograph) measures the frequency of these brainwaves via electrodes attached to the scalp.
  • Our brainwaves are recorded as smooth, predictable oscillations or sine waves and are recorded in hertz (hz). Hz indicates the number of oscillations/second.
  • Amplitude (an oscillation’s distance above and below the baseline) is also measured but isn’t the focus (see P.S. for a bit more on this).
  • These frequencies or waves have been categorized into bands, bandwidths, or patterns, based on number of oscillations and are associated with the type of thinking and behaviour exhibited.
  • These wave patterns can sometimes become irregular, which can signify mental or physical concerns.
  • As you would expect, problems occur if we get stuck or spend too much time in a pattern that isn’t useful.
  • There has been support of specific EEG patterns for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). If found to be a reliable and valid measure, it could make diagnosing ASD possible at a younger age and reduce discrepancies between assessors. 

 

The simplest way to explain or contrast the frequencies is through a chart. The middle four frequencies have been the most researched and are often the only ones discussed. 

INFRA-LOW 

 HZ<.5H

Thought to be the basic cortical rhythms. Because of their slow nature, they are difficult to measure. If the frequency is 0, then death has occurred.

DELTA WAVES

.5 TO 3 HZ

 

 

Generated in deep, practiced meditation and dreamless sleep. Healing and regeneration are stimulated in this state. It’s the dominant rhythm in infants up to 1 year old. Peak performers decrease delta when high focus and performance are needed. Those with ADD naturally increase delta when trying to focus.

Dipping into delta can put someone into a state of drowsiness.

THETA WAVES

3 TO 8 HZ

 

Most often occurs in sleep but also in deep meditation. Focused on inward events or creativity such as: daydreams, intuition, vivid imagery, memory, nightmares and sometimes problem solving.

When we’ve driven unconsciously along a well-known route, we’re bordering on or dipping into theta.

Seldom found in awake adults but is common in children up to 13 years old.

ALPHA WAVES

8 TO 12 HZ

Occurs during quietly flowing thoughts, reflection, feeling calm and alert, feeling present, during integration and learning, and in some meditative states. This is the resting state for the brain. Common state for waking adults.

BETA WAVES

12 TO 38 HZ

Dominates our normal waking state of consciousness when attention is directed towards cognitive tasks and the outside world. Beta is a ‘fast’ activity, present when we are alert, attentive, engaged in problem solving, judgment, decision making, or focused mental activity.

Beta is subdivided into 3 categories, going from 'fast idle', or musing to high engagement or actively figuring something out to highly complex thought, integrating new experiences, high anxiety, or excitement. Continual high frequency processing is not a very efficient way to run the brain as it takes a tremendous amount of energy.  

GAMMA WAVES

38 TO 42 HZ

 

Was at first dismissed until it was discovered to be highly active when in states of universal love, expanded consciousness or bliss. Gamma is also above the frequency of neuronal firing, so how it is generated remains a mystery.

(From a combination of websites. Please email info(at)innovaid.ca for all research articles)
 

If reading about the brain has you and your brain tired, try one of our 10 lb weighted blankets. Or as a client called them, luxury blankets. 😊 Lots of colours available.

Next issue: how to alter your brain waves!

May you brain waves be matched with your activities, next week and every week thereafter.

Providing calmness & comfort, learning & laughter,

P.S. Have you done neurofeedback? It's the practice of learning to alter your brain waves through feedback, usually on a screen, that lets you know when you're in 'the zone'. If you have, please share below, along with if it's something you'd recommend.

P.P.S. In this research, different theta and alpha wave amplitudes were studied with the hopes of reducing generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Other than this one, I didn’t come across any research focusing on amplitude but also didn’t specifically research amplitude.

I don’t know the impact of amplitude on the brain and therefore on our thoughts, emotions and behaviour.  

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