Brain wave states & how to access them (Essay)

The brain produces four main types of brain wave which are shown by EEG readings. Each type of brain wave produces the listed effects at specific frequencies:

Beta Brain Waves (13-30 cycles per second). The fastest, representing the most intense state of alertness. The result of heightened mental activity. Maximum mind power. All five external senses, logical mind, memory from the five senses & logical thinking.

Alpha Brain Waves (8 to 12 cycles per second) This brain wave indicates a relaxed state of mind.. State of relaxed alertness, good for inspiration and learning facts fast. A meditative mind. In this state tap into internal “antenna” like qualities. Visions, powerful ideas, mindless creation of the incredible. Internal feeling & sensations.

Theta Brain Waves (4 to 8 cycles per second) Deep meditation. Deep inward thought. This is associated with life-like imagination. High state of mental concentration. A magical mind. Internal pictures / visualisation. Intuition, inner guidance. Access to unconscious material. Dreaming.

Delta Brain Waves (0.5 to 4 cycles per second) Deep dreamless sleep. Deep relaxation. State of oneness, whole body feeling. Pure being & will.

Studies have shown that learning in Alpha State enhances the performance of students. It also develops the interest of studies in students more than they have ever learned in tense environment. Frequent gaps of 2 to 3 minutes after every 30 minute study period relaxes their minds and the alpha state will prove its efficiency with great ease and fun. But learning is more than just absorbing information, so changing the state of mind to operate Beta, Alpha and Theta is most likely to produce the best learning, cognition and creativity, while also staying in a relaxed state.

Exercises to access the brain wave states

I have developed the exercises below to attain the separate specific brain waves which can then be added together as you desire. All four at once is quite an experience!

Beta brain wave — Become hyper aware of your 5 senses, notice what you can smell, the taste in your mouth, what your hands are touching, become acutely aware of what you hear and see. Having done this you will know that you are in beta due to the intense external input and the total lack of awareness of your body, feelings or sensations.

Alpha brain wave — Try the following exercise first with your eyes open & then repeat it with your eyes closed. Take a deep breath, hold it and notice the sensations as your heart beats three times, relax & breath out — repeat 3X. Breathe in and out slowly to a count of 4, as you do so notice how your body feels —relaxed & warm.

Theta brain wave — do this after the alpha brain wave exercise. Close your eyes and visualise a sacred cup where your heart is (or another object of your choice) hold this picture for several minutes. Breathe in and out slowly.

Delta brain waves — do this after the other exercises, become aware & notice a warm sensation in your heart, now this sensation flow down and then spread out until it fills all of your body — one sensation.

Using CDs to access the brainwave states and improve learning

There several companies who produce CDs for different states normally in combination or for specific purposes e.g. concentration, relaxation, creativity, “Einsteinian like thinking”, etc. These are useful to obtain the desired states when you need to do something but cannot get yourself in the desired state and also to train the brain and body so you can whenever you want to.

The slower the brain frequency the faster the learning. In theta learning can be 1 time and in alpha as much as 20 times to absorb information (see below).

Brain Waves and Age

The table below tells the patterns of brain wave activity across different ages and states of awareness with the number of repetitions required to learn new behaviour patterns.

Age Brain wave Cycles/sec. Usual state for adults No. of repetitions required for new behaviour
14+ Beta 14 – 21 Normal awake Thousands
7 – 14 Alpha 7 – 14 Light sleep, meditation 21 (approx.)
4 – 7 Theta 4 – 7 Sleep, ‘fight or flight’ 1 or 2
0 – 4 Delta 0.5 – 4 Deep sleep

NB. the repetitions are for new behaviour not information but information is also absorbed quicker in lower brain wave patterns.

From birth to four, babies’ brains operate in the delta state, with brain waves running below 4 cycles per second. In adults, this level of brain wave activity is experienced in the deepest levels of sleep.

From four to seven, children operate in theta state, with brain waves running between four and seven cycles per second. In adults, this level of brain wave activity is experienced during sleep and also during states of fear when the body goes into a ‘fight or flight’ response. This is a powerful level from which to initiate change. In this state, we only need one or two experiences of learning to change behaviour.

From the ages seven to fourteen, we live in the alpha state of seven to fourteen cycles per second. In adults, this is associated with light sleep, meditation, or eyes closed relaxation. At this level effective learning can take place after about 21 repetitions. Practice a new behaviour for 21 consecutive days and that behaviour becomes a habit. Research has shown that strong levels of physical healing can take place when the brain is at 10 cycles per second.

From puberty through adulthood the brain operates in the beta state, 14 – 21 cycles per second. This is experienced in the normal state of eyes open, awake and alert. In this state it may take many thousands of repetitions to learn a new behaviour. To create significant change in our lives at this level takes extensive deal of time and effort. (This section on age comes from )

Brain waves and health

Delta & Theta brain waves are very good for health in general and are normally obtained by sleep but for students or others who work too hard, accessing them at the same time as other brain waves is rejuvenating.

An excess of Delta usually indicates depression, either physical or emotional and sleep problems.

Many researchers have noted a discrepancy between the EEG of subjects with learning disabilities or ADD and normal subjects. Typically, the ADD subjects were characterized by brain activity on the slower end of the frequency spectrum “The most important characteristic is either an excessive amount of theta activity, a lack of beta activity or a combination of these” Lubar, J. F. (1985). EEG biofeedback and learning disabilities. Theory into Practice, 24(2), 106-111

Important Medical Warning

One manufacturer (Brain Sound Studio TM) recommends that the studio and therefore by inference the binaural sounds should not be used by pregnant women, those using a pacemaker, and those who have had or are prone to seizures or are epileptic.

Therefore I recommend that if you have a medical condition or are on medication please print this out and see a Medical Doctor to check if you are at risk before you use any binaural type music.

Specific Brain Frequencies

The information below shows the effects of specific frequencies within each brain wave frequency range:

Delta Brain Waves ( O.5 to 4Hz)

0.5 Hz – Relaxation, helps soothe headaches

0.5 – 1.5 Hz – Pain relief. Endorphin release

0.9 Hz – Euphoric feeling

1 Hz – Well being. Harmony and balance

2.5 Hz – Production of endogenous opiates (pain killers, reduce anxiety)

2.5 Hz – Relieves migraine pain. Produces endogenous opiates

3.4 Hz – Helps achieve restful sleep

3.5 Hz – Feeling of unity with everything. Whole being regeneration

3.9 Hz – Self renewal, enhanced inner awareness

4.0 Hz – Enkephalin release for reduced stress

4.0 Hz – Allows brain to produce enkaphalins, all natural pain killer

4.0 Hz – Full memory scanning. Releases enkephalins

4.0 Hz – Vital for memory and learning. Problem solving, object naming

1 – 3 Hz – Profound relaxation, restorative sleep. Tranquillity and peace

Theta Brain Waves ( 4 to 8 Hz)

4.5 Hz – Brings about Shamanic/Tibetan state of consciousness, Tibetan chants.

4.9 Hz – Induce relaxation and deeper sleep

4.9 Hz – Introspection. Relaxation, meditation

5 Hz – Reduces sleep required. Theta replaces need for extensive dreaming

5.35 Hz – Allows relaxing breathing, free and efficient

5.5 Hz – Inner guidance, intuition

6.5 Hz – Centre of Theta frequency. Activates creative frontal lobe

7.5 Hz – Activates creative thought for art, invention, music. Problem solving

7.5 Hz – Ease of overcoming troublesome issues

7.83 Hz – Schumann earth resonance. Grounding, meditative, Leaves you revitalized

3 – 8 Hz – Deep relaxation, meditation. Lucid dreaming

3 – 8 Hz – Increased memory, focus, creativity

4 – 7 Hz – Profound inner peace, emotional healing. Lowers mental fatigue

4 – 7 Hz – Deep meditation, near-sleep brainwaves.

Alpha brain waves ( 8 to 12Hz)

8- 10 Hz Super-learning new information, memorisation, not comprehension.

8.22 Hz – Associated with the mouth. Brings creativity

10 Hz – Enhanced serotonin release. Mood elevation, arousal, stimulant

10 Hz – Provides relief from lost sleep, improves general mood

10 Hz – Mood elevator. Used to dramatically reduce headaches

10 Hz – Clarity, subconscious correlation. Releases serotonin

11 Hz – Relaxed yet awake state

12 Hz – Centering, mental stability.

11 – 14 Hz – Increased focus and awareness

12 – 14 Hz – Learning frequency, good for absorbing information passively

Beta brain waves ( 13 to 30Hz)

14 Hz – Awakeness, alert. Concentration on tasks, Focusing, vitality.

16 Hz – Bottom of hearing range. Releases oxygen/calcium into cells

12 – 15 Hz – Relaxed focus, improved attentive abilities

13 – 27 Hz – Promotes focused attention toward external stimuli

13 – 30 Hz – Problem solving, conscious thinking

18-24 Hz — Euphoria, can result in headaches, anxiety.

NB. Frequencies in italics cover more than one brain wave frequency range.

The release of endorphins by the delta brainwave can also be achieved by meditation, runners high, breathing exercises, etc

In my opinion the brain waves and the specific frequencies could be used to help explain how many healing techniques work with more research, case studies and relation to other scientific disciplines.

References: and Brain Sound Studio TM

Another site for CDs is

For those who like a challenge the Tibetan Exercise of Paradox creates all four states at once — Cynthia Rose Young Schlosser

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