Gamma brainwaves are the fastest of all brain waves, present during states of intense learning. Learn all about their benefits and how to balance them here.
Gamma brainwaves are the fastest and most energetic of all brainwave frequencies, however the accepted range for each of the different types of brainwaves varies.
Gamma brainwaves are generally accepted as ranging from 30 Hz to 80 Hz. They are associated with peak concentration, alertness, creativity, and positive mood states. Gamma brainwave abnormalities have also been linked to several learning and memory problems.
Brainwaves are electrical activity produced by neurons firing in the brain. This electrical activity can be measured using neurofeedback (typically through an electroencephalograph (EEG)) or mapped out more in-depth by a qEEG brain mapping.
Generally, gamma waves are thought to help the brain process information more quickly and effectively. Research has also shown that gamma waves can be increased through meditation and other mindfulness practices.
Analyzing brainwaves with neurofeedback devices shows clear distinctions between the various ranges of frequencies and amplitudes, meaning that brainwaves can be divided into distinct types.
In a relaxed state, your brain produces alpha waves. Alpha waves are 8-12 Hz and are associated with a feeling of wakeful relaxation. When you’re calm, your breathing and heart rate slow down, and blood flow decreases to your muscles.
You may also feel a sense of calm and clarity. While alpha waves are present in both the waking and sleeping states, they are more prominent in the latter.
Your brain produces beta waves when you’re in an active, busy state. You might be working on a project, engaging in a difficult task, or simply thinking about something that requires a lot of mental effort.
Beta waves are 13-30 Hz and are associated with concentration and focus. You’re alert and aware of your surroundings when you’re in a beta state. You might also feel anxious or stressed.
Beta waves activate the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the “fight or flight” response. While this can be beneficial in short bursts, it’s not ideal for sustained periods of time.
Too much beta activity is linked to anxiety, insomnia, and depression.
Delta waves are the slowest of all brainwaves and are associated with deep sleep. Delta waves have a frequency of 0-4 Hz.
During deep sleep, your body rests and heals. This is when a growth hormone is released, which helps repair tissue damage and build muscle mass. Delta waves are also thought to play a role in memory and learning. Abnormal delta activity is linked to Alzheimer’s, dementia, and ADHD.
Theta waves are associated with light sleep and REM sleep. Theta waves have a frequency of 3 to 8 Hz.
During light sleep, your body relaxes, and your breathing and heart rate slow down. You may also experience brief periods of muscle twitching.
REM sleep is when you dream. Your eyes move rapidly during REM sleep, which is sometimes called active sleep.
While gamma and beta waves are both associated with cognitive function and focus, gamma waves are faster and have a higher frequency.
Gamma waves are also linked to higher levels of consciousness and awareness.
This is why gamma waves are sometimes called “super-learning” waves.
Peak concentration and focus occur when gamma and beta waves are in sync. This is why gamma waves are often thought of as the brain’s “gear shift,” allowing you to move from a state of relaxation into a state of focused concentration.
The benefits of gamma waves are vast and far-reaching. Gamma waves have been linked to:
– Improved memory
– Enhanced learning
– Increased focus
– Improved mental clarity
– Increased concentration
– Improved cognitive function
Gamma activity has also been shown to increase during meditation, which is thought to be why meditation is beneficial for the mind and body.
While gamma waves are typically associated with positive states of mind, problems can arise when they are too prevalent.
To be clear, every type of brainwave is active throughout the brain at any given moment in time. It’s only when activity falls outside the range of normalcy for any particular person when adverse effects are noted.
When gamma activity is abnormally high, it can lead to:
The University of Geneva also found that the reduction of gamma activity has been linked to psychotic disorders. Gamma waves play a significant role in social cognition, and their impairment has been linked to schizophrenia.
If you’re experiencing problems with higher-than-normal gamma activity, you can try a few things to help balance gamma waves.
Yoga is a form of exercise that combines both physical and mental elements. The physical component of yoga can help balance gamma waves by reducing stress and anxiety.
Meditation is a practice that helps to focus and calm the mind. There are many different types of meditation, but all forms can help reduce gamma activity.
Mindfulness meditation is a type of meditation that helps you focus on the present moment. This can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can help balance gamma activity.
Zen Buddhist monks also show the activity of gamma synchrony during meditation. Gamma synchrony occurs when gamma waves from different parts of the brain become synchronized. Meditation can help to create a more cohesive gamma state.
Newer technology has further capitalized on the effectiveness of meditation for achieving mental fitness. Virtual reality, for example, elicits extremely immersive qualities when undergoing meditative experiences.
At Healium, we combine virtual reality meditation with the ability to practice neurofeedback at home so our users are fully immersed while simultaneously capturing their brainwave data. By granting them access to this biofeedback, Healium transforms the act of meditation into a more active form of brain training.
Binaural beats are sounds that have been used to help people relax and focus for centuries. They are a form of sound wave therapy that involves playing two different frequencies of sound waves at the same time. The brain picks up both tones, as well as an illusionary third. The sound of binaural beats can help to change your brainwave state.
When you listen to binaural beats, your brainwaves will start to match the frequency of the moments. This can help you reach a more relaxed state or a state of increased focus.
Binaural beats in the gamma range can help to improve mental clarity and increase focus. Listening to binaural beats for 30 minutes daily has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety.
Gamma waves are an essential part of normal brain function, and abnormal levels of their activity can lead to various problems. While more research is needed into the effects of gamma wave disturbances, it’s clear that they should be taken seriously.
Some ways to help balance gamma activity include yoga, meditation, and listening to binaural beats.
Furthermore, those interested in brainwaves can also invest in neurofeedback equipment like EEG headbands, that allow you to see your brain’s frequencies from the comfort of your home. When combined with meditation (or even better, virtual reality meditation experiences), users can actively work to improve the balance of electrical activity within their brain.
Learn more about how Healium works!