Until quite recently, neurologists believed there were only four main categories of electrical activity in the human brain: Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta. But in the last few decades, specialists in the field of neuroacoustics, pushing their EEGs to the limits, have found new brain waves at frequencies that were previously thought impossible. The abilities conferred by those brainwaves are even more extraordinary. In this article we shall focus on the best known of these discoveries – the Gamma wave.
What Are Gamma Brain Waves and Why Are They So Special?
Gamma brain waves resonate at a frequency above the Beta wave that characterizes so much of our waking lives. Whereas Beta occupies a range from 13 – 30 Hertz (Hz), Gamma – if observed at all – is generally around 40 Hz. There does not appear to be a clear consensus on exactly where the upper limit of Gamma lies, but most resources place that point at around 70 Hz. Beyond that, we have the truly extraordinary states of HyperGamma (100 Hz) and Lambda (200 Hz), named by Dr. Jeffrey Thompson of the Center for Neuroacoustic Research.
We are used to describing the familiar Beta wave as shallow and weak, and often treat it with a certain degree of condescension, urging people to spend more time meditating in the more powerful states of Alpha and Theta. But Beta is essential for focus and concentration when interacting with the physical world and performing the myriad of complex tasks that confront us each day. Gamma waves, as one would expect, are even shallower than Beta waves, but they take our level of concentration and focus to an even higher level than Beta.
Neurologists have noted that Gamma waves are closely associated with a synthesis of senses, perceptions, and memories into a greater, holistic level of awareness and competence. In the Gamma state, we are able to perceive many senses at once, connect the present with the past, and combine separate ideas into larger constructs. This equates to a tremendously vivid, almost ecstatic state, bringing natural feelings of happiness and compassion in addition to the highest level of intelligence. In short, this could very well be the ultimate state of mind.
Are Gamma Brain Waves Too Good to be True?
Who wouldn’t want to enjoy supreme levels of competence, enhanced sensory perception, powerful learning ability and memory? Clearly, those who never come close to attaining these objectives could benefit from more Gamma waves, and it is likely that they will come to be used clinically in much the same way as Beta wave induction has been used to treat individuals with Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD). And there can be no denying that the whole world could benefit from a lot more compassion, akin to that achieved by the “loving kindness” meditations of Tibetan monks.
But, just as too much time in Beta leads to mental and physical stress and imbalance, one would not want to overdo the even more frenetic Gamma wave. To be on the safe side, if you are going to target the Gamma frequency you should make absolutely sure that your mind and body are being thoroughly rejuvenated by the healing periods of dreamless sleep associated with the Delta wave.
Fortunately, we do not have to be Tibetan monks in order to experience the tremendous benefits of the Gamma wave. The new audio technology of brainwave entrainment now enables anyone with the ability to play digital recordings to explore these exciting new frontiers of the self. But, as implied above, we need to be careful with such powerful phenomena. It is important to use recordings that are produced by people who really know what they’re doing. The best guide to these recordings can be found here: Meditation MP3.