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Brain Sync
Michael Gelb : How Brain Sync Works: The Training-Wheel Effect (pg. 2)

How Brain Sync Works: The Training-Wheel Effect

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Alpha Waves: The Gateway to Relaxation and Creativity

When you begin to relax, your brain activity slows from the rapid patterns of beta into the more gentle waves of alpha (7–12 Hz). In alpha, you experience a liberating sense of peace and well-being. "Subtle and ineffable" are the words used by pioneering biofeedback researcher Lester Fehmi, PhD, to describe the deep enjoyment of the alpha experience. Joe Kamiya, PhD, another leading researcher, posits that the pleasure associated with alpha may come from "letting go of anxieties."

Alpha is the gateway into deeper states of consciousness. When alpha brain waves become stronger, logical left-brain activity—which normally acts as a filter or censor to the subconscious—drops its guard. This allows the more intuitive, creative depths of the mind to become increasingly influential.

Deep Resonance, track 3 on the Brain Sync audio program, layers alpha with theta waves to promote deeply pleasurable states of relaxation.

Theta Waves: The Realm of Deep Insight and Meditation

Theta waves (4–7 Hz) are associated with the most elusive and extraordinary realm of consciousness. We normally experience theta fleetingly, upon awakening or drifting off to sleep. It allows access to the intuitive wisdom that resides just below the surface of normal waking consciousness.

Sudden flashes of insight—"Aha" and "Eureka" moments—are the province of the theta state. Theta inspires creativity, enhances learning and dream recall, reduces stress, and awakens extrasensory perception. At the very least, theta is a tranquil state of mind that brings many rejuvenating benefits.

Melinda Maxfield of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies notes that shamans from many cultures have found ways to access the theta state. One method, common to many indigenous cultures throughout history, is to use drumbeats struck in the theta range of 4.5 cycles per second.

Many great leaps of creative genius came in the theta state. Einstein's theory of relativity came to him in a daydream, as he envisioned himself surfing on a sunbeam into infinity. August Kekulé solved one of the most challenging problems in the history of organic chemistry—the conundrum of the structure of the benzene ring—when he fell into a reverie in his easy chair (there's some debate as to whether he was aided by a few glasses of fine brandy). In his mind's eye, Kekulé saw a vivid image of a snake chasing its own tail, an image that showed him the missing molecular puzzle piece. Archimedes's famous "Eureka" moment, when he intuited one of his principles of hydrostatics, came as he relaxed in the bath. Of course, these discoveries wouldn't have occurred without years of focused work and intention to set the stage, but the creative leaps, in which the pieces of the puzzle seem to effortlessly and vividly fall into place, are usually associated with the deeply relaxed, meditative theta state.

It normally takes considerable training to enter and maintain this state for longer periods of time. Advanced meditators learn to balance on the tightrope of theta, experiencing timeless states of reverie, vivid imagery, and access to insight and intuition.

Deep Resonance, track 3 on the Brain Sync audio program, layers theta with alpha waves so that you can experience the many benefits of meditation.

Delta Waves: The Palace of Sleep, Healing, and Regeneration

Long, slow, undulating delta waves (0–4 Hz) are the slowest of the four brain wave frequencies and are associated with sleep. Delta facilitates high-quality, restorative sleep, essential to healing and renewal.

Slow-Wave Sleep, track 4 on the Brain Sync audio program, offers a soothing pattern of delta waves hidden beneath the sound of ocean waves to help you sleep soundly.

Next: 7 Tips for Making the Most of Your Learning »

Updated 1/7/14