Brainwave Basics

Brain, Batteries, and Consciousness

The systems that govern the brain are the most compact and complex on earth. Despite the fact that more has been learned about the brain in the last 30 years than in all of human history, science has not come close to understanding how all the pieces fit together to create human consciousness.  However we do know this: Consciousness is related to communication between the different parts of the brain.

Different levels of consciousness and states of mind are the result of the different areas of the brain communicating with one another at any given time.  We also know that the different areas of the brain communicate by sending electrical signals along neurons that connect one area to another.  There are more than 100 billion neurons in the brain, each making from hundreds to hundreds of thousand connections which means a total of a hundred trillion connections.  These electrical connections are at the heart of how well the brain functions.

Brainwaves, Your Different States of Mind

The electrical signals traveling along the neurons are like packets of information that integrate the different parts of the brain.  These signals are expressed on the scalp as brain waves that can be measured using our neurofeedback equipment.  Each brain wave represents a different level of consciousness or state of mind.  Brainwave frequency, Hz, is defined as the number of times per second that the wave repeats itself.

Gamma 25-100 Hz

Known as the “binding energy” for learning; higher levels associated with higher levels of consciousness and spiritual states; universal love and altruism; typically only accessed when the mind is very quiet as attained by very experienced meditators; how it is generated is unknown

High Beta 22-38 Hz

Highly complex thought, excitement, anxiety; producing too much high beta is very inefficient for the brain and burns too much energy

Beta 12-21Hz

Dominant when awake and engaged in active thought, problem solving, and judgement

Alpha 8-12Hz

Hallmark of “presence” or the “power of now;” it should double when you close your eyes; is associated with meditative states and quiet “flow” thinking; integration, coordination of thinking

Theta 4-8Hz

Associated with twilight sleep, very deep meditative states, a very inward state where we are not focused on the external world; withdrawn state; where we hold trauma, nightmares, fears

Delta 1-4Hz

Deep, dreamless sleep where healing and regeneration occur; associated with empathy

Brainwaves and Neurotransmitters

Poor regulation of the brainwaves may interfere with the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain which may cause neurological symptoms.  The medical approach is to use drugs that affect the levels of these neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA, etc).  The more natural approach is to balance the brainwaves with neurofeedback and supplements to help balance the amount of neurotransmitters.  This may be one of the reasons that neurofeedback is so effective.

QEEG - A Window to the Brain

Using non-invasive surface sensors that are placed on the surface of the scalp, a QEEG system is able to translate these brainwaves on to a computer screen for observation.

The sensors are placed on the scalp using a paste and do not puncture the skin at all so they are non-invasive.  It is important to note that the sensors do NOT involve the application of electrical current; they are simply collecting the electrical signals coming from the brain and displaying them on the computer screen.  Observation of these signals as brain waves, known as QEEG or quantifiable electroencephologram, allows the neurofeedback clinician to identify specific abnormalities.