In the previous episode, we wrote about discoveries related to the so-called "Whole-brain functioning" and about the possibility of stimulating the work of our brain. Today a lot more information about what really happens in our brain during meditation.
About why the Alpha and Theta waves are so important, as well as about how with the "glass and the eye" one can describe and measure a seemingly elusive and esoteric state like meditation.
The relationship of brain waves with human well-being
Let's see what is the relationship of brain waves with different types of human well-being. Let's also learn about the findings of the phenomenon called "superlearing" and the relationship between brainwaves and the meditative state.
Synchronization of the circuits of the cerebral hemispheres
I described the categories of individual waves and the states of our functioning related to them in the previous episode. So let me repeat briefly that we have 4 wave categories:
Beta - 100 Hz -> 14 Hz
Alpha - 13.9 Hz -> 8 Hz
Theta - 7.9 Hz -> 4 Hz
Delta - frequency below 4 Hz
The lower we go down with frequency, the more noticeable is the synchronization of both cerebral hemispheres. This phenomenon was observed during research conducted on a group of people experiencing states of deep meditation. During the meditation process, a gradual decline in the dominant role of one of the hemispheres and the entry into a state of absolute harmony of the whole brain was observed.
It has also been shown that the Alpha wave category corresponds to the state of deep relaxation and definitely increased learning capacity. It is also a state of increased production of serotonin, the "happiness hormone".
One of the first researchers to observe the phenomenon later referred to as "super learning" was the Bulgarian psychiatrist Georgi Lozanov. He researched a group of students who were put into a state of deep relaxation as a result of brain wave stimulation at the Alpha level. Lazanov showed that this group of students was able to absorb five times more material than the rest (!).
The relationship between brain waves and hormones
Other studies confirm that there is a clear relationship in the brain between a specific category of waves and the production of chemicals such as beta-endorphins, acetylcholine, vasopressin, and serotonin. Acetylcholine deficiency causes, for example, problems with memory and a decrease in results in intelligence tests.
Another researcher, Dr. Vincent Giampapa, who sat, inter alia, in the chair of the head of the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine, showed that being in Alpha and Theta states has a significant impact on the production of such hormones as cortisol (decrease) and DHEA and melatonin (increase).
We all know the DHEA ads. We also know that melatonin improves sleep. On the other hand, cortisol is one of the hormones that accelerate the aging of the body. It releases itself instantly in any situation in which we are exposed to high stress.
Apart from all the effects mentioned above, there is one more - extremely interesting.
The discoveries of Ilya Prigogine
Bringing brain waves down to the Alpha, Theta, and Delta levels changes the structure of the neurons in our brain and "forces it" to reorganize itself to a higher level. This effect was described in the theory of open systems presented by Ilya Prigogine, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1977.
Prigogine's work applies to any type of open system. Simply put, an open system exchanges energy with the environment. It can be, for example, a dividing cell, a highway network, a corporation, or a person experiencing emotional changes. More details on this can be found in, for example, Bill Harris's book Thresholds of the Mind.
Our brain is also an open system that constantly exchanges energy with the environment. But when there is too much information on the "input", it reorganizes itself and takes it to the next level. One could use a simple metaphor for physical exercise. As a result of regular exercise, our muscles also get more "power".
In any case, stimulating the brain with waves from Alpha, Theta, and Delta levels creates new nerve connections and new pathways between the hemispheres. Thanks to this, the brain reorganizes itself and can provide us with opportunities that we had not had a clue about so far.
For example, to open up our creative potential that we would not even suspect ourselves of. You can read more about it in the post Innovation in Isolation: How to trigger your creativity,
Brain Waves and Meditation
The entire thread above is actually a scientific description of the changes that occur in the brain of a person who meditates regularly. Because the states of Alpha, Theta, and Delta are deeper and deeper states of meditation. All the details here describe the physical, measurable effects of the changes that occur as a result of meditation and explain in strict, dry language why it is so beneficial. Also for the personal development of a person.
However, years of practice are needed to achieve these effects through traditional meditation. On the other hand, the conclusions drawn from the research presented here clearly indicate that it can be achieved much faster by stimulating the brain with waves of appropriately different frequencies. There are already many such products in the Western world that use binaural beats technology.
So let's give ourselves and our brain permission to rest regularly. Especially from blue screens overloaded with information. If we do not have the chance to regularly practice retreats in our home, let's look for a way to walk regularly among the greenery.
Green nature has a fantastic soothing effect and helps to slow down. If possible, let's also go barefoot! Because it turns out that Mother Earth has a priceless reservoir of energy to offer, and we cut ourselves off from it by spending time in our cars and walking in shoes with soles that isolate us from her beneficial influence. But more about it in one of the next posts.