Brain waves, alpha music and productive calmness
Here we reveal some of the amazing research into brainwaves, chemical hormones and how music helps create the brainwaves we need for a calm mind and a happier, healthier more productive life.
In 1924 Dr Hans Berger used an early EEG (electroencephalograph) to monitor electrical activity in the brain. As often happens in scientific research he was looking for something else entirely when the evidence for brain waves emerged.
Dr Berger's data revealed that our brain responds to stimuli by emitting electronic impulses in waves of varying intensity. Like any electrical emission, the intensity of brain waves is measured in hertz. The stimuli can come from any area of our lives, emotional, physical and environmental. At that time, Berger was able to detect only two levels of wave activity, which he called alpha and beta.
Under calm conditions, when we are relaxed, the brain produces alpha waves (8 - 12 Hz). We produce beta waves (12 - 25 Hz) when in a state of heightened watchfulness and reactivity. Berger also noted that aggressive behaviour may erupt when we are in beta.
Why you might think beta is best ... although alpha is better
Because beta sharpens our responses and keeps us alert, we may think beta is the most vital state in our survival toolkit. Beta-driven responses are immediate to what we (usually wrongly) interpret as life and death situations. Decisions made in beta can be reactive and defensive, rather than collaborative and constructive.
Of course beta is important, but it also keeps us edgy and stressed out! Without realising it, we can easily spend most of our time in beta and suffer many negative psychological and physical side effects as a result. So the long-term effects of operating in beta can be destructive.
In alpha we feel calmer.
In alpha we naturally have a better command of life, our health, our moods. We are able to think more clearly, consider responses and perhaps make more creative decisions, with better long-term results.
delta and theta waves - further research
Two English scientists, Adrian Matthews and W. Grey Walter, extended Berger's work. Their research proved the existence of brain activity even slower than alpha: delta waves (0.5 - 4 Hz) and theta waves (4 - 8 Hz).
In theta we are still conscious, yet in the deepest state of relaxation. We're in theta as we fall asleep and ideally, as we gradually awaken.
We are in delta when we are fast asleep and waves are produced at their lowest frequency.
While much about brain functionality is still mysterious, since those early findings scientists have nevertheless made some exciting discoveries.
They have found that when we're in the different states, alpha through theta, the brain also produces a number of chemical hormones. These chemicals have pronounced effects on mood, productivity and general health (see Brainwaves 2 ).
If we care for our health and longevity, we need to find ways to enhance the production of the beneficial chemicals and take steps to limit the effects of the negative ones.
John Levine's Alphamusic helps us enhance the production of alpha brain waves and the associated chemicals.
Systems in distress
Throughout the day we shift between different levels of brain wave activity. Obviously, if the shifts are smooth, life feels less stressful and our health and overall productivity improve. Unfortunately, this is often not our experience.
Imagine this ...
Suddenly, the alarm clock rings. Your heart rate lurches upwards, together with a spike in adrenalin and blood pressure. In seconds you're awake and hurtling into the day - instantly in beta state.
In an effort to adjust, you gulp down a cup of coffee and perhaps something sugary to eat, adding "sugar hit" to "caffeine hit". Now you are pumped up. Your entire system is stressed, indeed distressed. You are in beta.
In this state you confront the high-voltage impact of urban daily life. Then, as many as 18 hours later, you collapse back into bed and you haven't had a moments real rest.
Over time, this "shocking" transition from deeply relaxed delta to instant beta undermines our health.
alpha state - our peaceful haven at any time
alpha is our peaceful haven. It is a state we can visit while fully conscious that will always give us relief from stress.
In alpha we are at our most productive because we are fully awake, yet completely relaxed.
We need alpha when we seek our creative spirit, emotional flexibility and our capacity to remain calm and open in the face of tough decisions?
Furthermore, we cannot hope to enter theta, where we are most mentally free and creative, if we haven't first passed through alpha. So why can't we access alpha all the time? Where does alpha go when we are angry and over-reactive?
Finding alpha, finding "flow"
Since Dr Berger, there has been much research to find and "harness" alpha state. Some people appear to be born with a gift for increased alpha wave production - they do it more often and more easily. But most of us are not.
Scientists have established that creative people operate in alpha and theta states far more frequently than ordinary folk.
When they are at their most creative, academics, scientists and artists have identified their mental state as being in "flow"1. They describe how time seems to stand still, yet ideas flow easily and constructively. This is undoubtedly alpha state.
Even gifted sports people seem able to enter and operate from alpha state with greater ease and play a better game as a result.
How John Levine's Alphamusic brings alpha into your life
Research into the impact of sound on brain activity has yielded a mountain of evidence about the effects of music on mood and behaviour. These findings do not surprise composers and musicians: the calming and self-healing effects of music are known to every culture on earth.
Music offers the simplest path to alpha state, without demanding that you sleep - or even leave your desk! From Gregorian Chant to timeless lullabies, the effect is the same: as we listen, we feel better, more relaxed.
John Levine has composed this music along "planes" of sound, often exploring and re-exploring the same key. The music forms a smooth backdrop of sound that engages you, yet only enough to "block" the impact of "auditory toxins" and just enough to keep your thoughts moving ahead gently and progressively.
Blocking out interference can help us find a clear space in which to rest, think or play. This is John Levine's Alphamusic.
A backdrop of Alphamusic calms your over-busy mind while you're occupied with other tasks, when you study, work, play, eat and of course, sleep.
John B Levine has spent his working life studying the combined effects of music and meditation. He uses this knowledge to compose Alphamusic.
The beauty of John Levine's Alphamusic lies in its accessibility, effectiveness and purity. Listen to our free music samples now and invite the alpha state into your life.
We wish you Calm and Good Health
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