How Does Sound Healing Work?
What are Brainwaves?
Scientific research tells us that at the root of all our thoughts is the communication between neurons within our brain. Tests show that brainwaves are produced by electrical pulses that are synchronised from masses of different neurons communicating with each other.
Scientists have demonstrated how brainwaves can be detected by using sensors placed on the scalp. Then they are divided into specific bandwidths to describe their various functions. These specific bandwidths can be thought of as a spectrum of consciousness. This spectrum varies from from slow, loud and functional to fast, subtle and complex.
As an analogy, we could think of brainwaves as musical notes. In this way, the low frequency waves are like a deeply penetrating drum beat, while the higher frequency brainwaves are more like a subtle high pitched flute. Just like a well conducted symphony, the higher and lower frequencies connect and cohere with each other through harmonics.
Interestingly, our brainwaves change according to what we’re doing and feeling, our behaviours and emotions. If slower brainwaves are dominant we can feel tired, slow, sluggish, or dreamy. If the higher frequencies are dominant when we feel wired or hyper-alert.
Here is an overview of these specific frequencies. These are only broad descriptions and in practice things tend to be far more complex. Brainwave speed is measured in ‘Hertz’. Hertz basically means cycles per second.
Infra-Low brainwaves are also known as Slow Cortical Potentials. They are thought to be the basic cortical rythms that underlie our higher brain functions. Very little is known about infra-low brainwaves. Their slow nature make them difficult to detect and accurately measure, so few studies have been done. They appear to take a major role in brain timing and network function.
DELTA WAVES (.5 TO 3 HZ)
Delta Waves are the slowest but loudest brainwaves. They are a low frequency and deeply penetrating, like a drum beat. They are generated in deepest meditation and dreamless sleep. Delta waves suspend external awareness and are the source of empathy. Healing and regeneration are stimulated in this state, and that is why deep restorative sleep is so essential to our healing process.
THETA WAVES (3 TO 8 HZ)
Theta brainwaves most often occur in sleep and are also dominant in deep meditation. Theta is known as our gateway to learning, memory, and intuition. In theta, our senses are more-so withdrawn from the external world and focused on signals originating from within. It is that twilight state which we normally only experience fleetingly as we wake or drift off to sleep. In theta we are in a dreamy realm, with vivid imagery, intuition and information beyond our normal conscious awareness. It’s where we hold our fears, troubled history, and nightmares.
ALPHA WAVES (8 TO 12 HZ)
Alpha brainwaves are mostly dominant during quietly flowing thoughts, and in some meditative states. Alpha is ‘the power of now’, being here, in the present moment. Alpha is the resting state for the brain. Alpha waves aid overall mental coordination, calmness, alertness, mind-body integration and learning.
BETA WAVES (12 TO 38 HZ)
Beta brainwaves are present in our normal waking state of consciousness. It’s when our 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 brainwaves are further divided into three bands; Lo-Beta (Beta1, 12-15Hz) which can be thought of as a ‘fast idle’, or musing. Beta (Beta2, 15-22Hz) is high engagement or actively figuring something out. Hi-Beta (Beta3, 22-38Hz) is 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)
Gamma brainwaves are the fastest of brain waves and relate to simultaneous processing of information from different brain areas. Gamma brainwaves pass information rapidly and quietly. The most subtle of the brainwave frequencies, the mind has to be quiet to access gamma.
Interestingly, Gamma was dismissed as ‘spare brain noise’ until researchers discovered it was highly active when in states of universal love, altruism, and the ‘higher virtues’. Gamma is also above the frequency of neuronal firing, so how it is generated still very much remains a mystery. It is speculated that gamma rhythms modulate perception and consciousness, and that a greater presence of gamma relates to expanded consciousness and spiritual emergence.
How Brainwaves Relate to You
Our brainwave profile and our daily experience of the world are inextricable enmeshed. They are inseparable. Yet, if our brainwaves are out of balance, there will most likely be corresponding problems in our emotional or physical health. Scientific research has identified specific brainwave patterns that seems to be associated with many different emotional and physiological states.
It seems that over-arousal in certain brain areas is linked with anxiety, sleep problems, nightmares, hyper-vigilance, impulsive behaviour, anger and aggression, nerve pain, spasticity and so on. However, on the other hand, under-arousal in certain brain areas leads to the likes of feeling down, apathy, attention deficit and so on. Also, a combination of under-arousal and over-arousal is seen in some cases of anxiety, ADHD and more.
Instabilities in brain rhythms can correlate with many symptoms. Some examples are such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, aggressive behaviour, rage, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, migraines, sleep-apnea, vertigo, tinnitus and more.
Altering Our Brainwaves
In general, it may be said that really any process that changes our perception changes our brainwaves. There’s many interventions such as medications or recreational drugs. These are probably the most common methods used in our society to alter brain function.
Another way to change brain waves is by brainwave training. Various traditional eastern methods, such as meditation and yoga can train your brainwaves into balance. Also, another way of brainwave entrainment is with ‘Sound Healing’. Sound healing is a great way of altering your brainwave state.