Beneath the surface of your thoughts and mood, there are billions of neurons in constant communication with each other. This interaction takes place by sending and receiving signals of electromagnetic impulse throughout the brain. A brainwave is the language used to describe the various frequencies of this activity.
As you move through each day, and even while you are asleep, your brain is functioning at different frequency levels. For example, when you are alert and awake you are usually in the Beta brainwave state — associated with normal waking consciousness. The Delta frequency is the slowest of the frequencies and is experienced in very deep, dreamless sleep.
Everywhere in between is where we find other states such as Theta – associated with deep meditation – and Alpha state, which is present in deep relaxation and when you are slipping into a daydream or light meditation. Where things start to get much more interesting, however, is when we begin to uncover Gamma brainwaves.
This range is the most recently discovered and is the fastest frequency. Although little is known about this state of mind, initial research shows Gamma waves are associated with bursts of insight and high-level information processing.
The Discovery of Gamma Brainwave Frequencies
Until the development of digital electroencephalography (used to monitor electrical activity in the brain) Gamma waves were undetected due to their very high oscillation. In 1988 it was found that distinct regions of the brain could be stimulated simultaneously, giving rise to the discovery of brainwave patterns reaching the 40Hz to 70Hz frequency.
Through experiments ran in 1990, neuroscientists Francis Crick and Christof Koch were able to find a significant relation between conscious sensory perception and visual awareness within the frequency of 40Hz – 70Hz.
This frequency range is where we are able to experience wakeful dream states as a result of receiving sensory input from various parts of the brain while completely coherent and aware.
It was later supported through experiments ran by Dr. Rodolfo Llinás that consciousness in awakened states as well as dreaming is present in the brainwave frequency of 40Hz.
This is where the brain is able to bind complex amounts of information and send it to us through conscious perception.
Although this brainwave frequency is present in deep dream states – known as rapid eye movement sleep – Gamma waves can also be accessed while completely awake, producing extreme focus and concentration. Neuroscientists now believe that Gamma waves are able to link information from all parts of the brain simultaneously.
Properties of Gamma Waves
People with higher levels of Gamma brainwave activity will often experience improvements in memory and ability to vividly recall past experiences. Gamma waves are also known to enhance perception of reality through our five senses. Enhanced sensory perception is responsible for making smells more powerful, increasing your visual acuity, sharpening your hearing, and making foods taste better.
Because of the rapidity of the frequency pattern that is cycling through the brain during Gamma state, the brain can process much more information per second than would normally be possible. This results in an extreme increase in focus.
Gamma brainwaves are also attributed to people with high IQ and are associated with advanced learning ability. Those who experience Gamma brainwaves naturally tend to feel more compassionate towards others while experiencing a heightened sense of joy.
People who suffer depression usually register lower than average brainwave frequency levels. It is for this reason that Gamma brainwaves have been documented as being a powerful antidepressant-type brainwave while naturally raising the brainwave into a much more functioning state.
Gamma Brainwaves and Meditation
Gamma waves are thought to be our gateway to increased insight and blissful awareness. These specific brainwaves were found in Tibetan Buddhist monks who were practicing compassion meditation.
Compassion comes from a feeling of oneness with all creation. This is the feeling of being blessed and natural euphoria that accompanies high levels of gamma brainwave activity.
Gamma waves are usually present during deep dream states and can usually be accessed through visualization meditation.
Many studies have been performed on advanced meditators, including Tibetan Buddhist monks and Celestine nuns. Both groups demonstrated the ability to produce gamma waves during meditation.
The studies showed a significant increase in brain activity in the left prefrontal cortex (associated with self-control, happiness and compassion) and greatly reduced activity in the amygdala – the brain’s fight or flight response center. This suggests that meditation can actually make you a much happier and insightful person overall.
Gamma brainwaves are where we are able to tap into intense amounts of information and insight. While falling into deep states of dreaming, we are opened up to a wide world of communication between different levels of the brain.
What makes Gamma waves interesting is that this level of information processing is also available to us when we are awake. Meditation and brainwave entrainment are perhaps the best ways to access these advanced levels of conscious awareness and intense bursts of insight!
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- The Benefits of Meditation for Energy Enhancement
- The Soothing Effects of Audio Therapy
Part of the BrainCatalyst Series, Gamma-Burst Meditation is designed to facilitate motivation, energy and intense focus. Gentle ocean waves roll in and out providing an energizing yet centered entrainment. This can be used as a meditation or while you are working, exercising, or studying.