Alpha Brain Waves
(8 - 12 Hz)
Alpha brainwaves (8-12 Hz) are the dominant frequencies seen in a normal, relaxed adult. These frequencies are associated with peacefulness and the ability to relax yet remain alert at the same time. Tranquil would be the best way to describe alpha frequencies. They are associated with peace of mind and alertness, not agitation or drowsiness. Activity in the 8-9 Hz range may indicate disengagement, however, the individual is most likely in an “idling” state and ready to respond to outside stimuli. Healthy alpha activity promotes creativity, mental coordination, ability to learn, and positive mental outlook.
Healthy alpha activity promotes creativity, mental coordination, ability to learn, and positive mental outlook.
Practically speaking, alpha waves are useful for creativity and peak performance. An increase in alpha waves occurs just before a burst in creativity, and the same is true for peak performance. These gains have been demonstrated in archers as they train overtime. It has been shown that beginning archers exhibit few alpha waves, but as they continue training, they exhibit gradual, more frequent alpha frequencies. In the most experienced archers, there is often a burst of alpha wave activity just before their best shots.
Low alpha activity may indicate disorders such as PTSD or anxiety and is a factor in fatigue or sleep issues.
Low alpha activity may indicate disorders such as PTSD or anxiety and is a factor in fatigue or sleep issues. It has also been found that addicts have an unhealthy ratio of alpha, theta and beta. Studies show that training alpha/theta ratios can help addicts recover.
Alpha Frequency Location in the Brain
We want 15% more alpha activity in the back of the brain than in the front of the brain. We also want 15% more alpha activity on the right side of the brain than the left. This is true for all sites except O1 and O2 – in these sites, we want 15% more alpha on the left than the right. This is because both the back of the brain and the right side of the brain are more involved with imagination, creativity, and relaxed states of mind. We want alpha to decrease when a person shifts from an eyes-closed state to an eyes-open state.