Saturday, September 3, 2022

Your Amazing Brain

 


What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is often misunderstood as it is a personal experience with few objective points of reference available to the untrained observer. What is agreed is that hypnosis involves and altered state of perception, characterized by a focusing of awareness, stillness of the conscious mind and is accompanied by physiological changes such as slowing of respiration and circulation, muscular relaxation, lacrimation of the eyes and feelings of either heaviness or lightness.

Fortunately advances in electroencephalograph and fMRI technology has allowed researchers to observe what happens to the brain when someone is in a hypnotic state. This has resulted in a better understanding of how hypnosis provides a smooth transition within different brain wave states to elicit the desired response. Think of hypnosis as a form of guided meditation. Both processes result in what is known as an altered state of consciousness or hypnogogic state. In hypnosis this state is utilized to maximise the effect of suggestions or affirmations and to magnify their beneficial effects.

Recent discoveries about the endocannabinoid system have also revealed how hypnosis stimulates the production of naturally occurring endocannabinoids within the body – allowing the experience of time dilation, enhanced memory, distancing from traumatic feelings, and the overcoming of phobias. But don’t worry, you’ll never fail a drug test under the influence of hypnosis alone!

As a clinical hypnotherapist for over 30 years, I have worked in both clinical and workplace settings, helping thousands of people overcome phobias, OCD, addictions, bad habits, nightmares, anxiety and improve their memory, self-esteem, and productivity. Auto-suggestion uses hypnogogic techniques, and done properly is the ultimate for of self-induced mind control. It's more than just relaxing, using affirmations and being positive. These things are important, but on their own, they are no what produces real change.

Real change comes from regaining control of the real-estate within your brain, so it works for you instead of against you; and through repetition, influences the way your body activates or deactivates programming locked deep within your DNA. Profound change is made possible when we unlock our ability to stimulate the production of neurotransmitters that enhance certain brain wave states associated with mental well-being on command, massively speeding up the process of habit change and unlocking the untapped genius of your deep mind.

Scientists categorise these brain wave states from most alert to most relaxed as follows:

·       Beta waves

·       Alpha waves

·       Theta waves

·       Delta waves

·       Gamma waves

Let’s start with the brain wave states we are all more familiar with and experience every day.

Beta waves

  • Alertness
  • Concentration
  • Cognition

When your mind is in a Beta-Wave state, you are wide-awake, alert. Your mind is sharp, focused. It makes connections quickly, easily and you're primed to do work that requires your full attention. In the Beta state, neurons fire abundantly, in rapid succession, helping you achieve peak performance. New ideas and solutions to problems flash like lightning into your mind. Beta training is one of the frequencies that biofeedback therapists use to treat Attention Deficit Disorder.

Beta-centred training helps you prepare to take an exam, play sports, give a presentation, analyse and organize information, and other activities where mental alertness and high levels of concentration are key to your success.

Beta waves range between 13-40 HZ. The Beta state is associated with peak concentration, heightened alertness, hand eye coordination and visual acuity. Nobel Prize Winner Sir Francis Crick and other scientists believe that the 40HZ beta frequency used in many Brain Sync tapes may be key to the act of cognition.

I’ve created a special brain-balance meditation to help induce a beta wave state that you can access for free when you book a session with me: https://elisabettalfaenza.com/services/clinical-hypnotherapy

Alpha waves

  • Relaxation
  • Visualization
  • Creativity

When you begin to relax and unwind, your brain activity slows from the rapid patterns of Beta into the gentler waves of Alpha. Your awareness expands. Fresh creative energy begins to flow. Fears vanish. You experience a liberating sense of peace and well-being. In biofeedback, Alpha training is most recommended for the treatment of stress. Alpha-centred flow meditations help you tap your creativity and are excellent for problem solving, finding new ideas and practicing creative visualization. Choose Alpha programs when you want to attain deep levels of relaxation that are so essential to your health and well-being.

Alpha waves range between 7-12 HZ. This is a place of deep relaxation, but not quite meditation. In Alpha, we begin to access the wealth of creativity that lies just below our conscious awareness - it is the gateway, the entry point that leads into deeper states of consciousness. Alpha is also the home of the frequency known as the Schuman Resonance - the resonant frequency of the earth's electromagnetic field.

You can access this specially designed guided meditation to help you access the Alpha Wave

 State for free when when you book an interactive one-on-one session with me: https://elisabettalfaenza.com/services/clinical-hypnotherapy

Theta waves

  • Meditation
  • Intuition
  • Memory

Going deeper into relaxation, you enter the elusive and mysterious Theta state where brain activity slows almost to the point of sleep, but not quite. This is the therapeutic, hypnogogic state. Theta is the brain state where magic happens in the crucible of your own neurological activity. Theta brings forward heightened receptivity, flashes of dreamlike imagery, inspiration, and your long-forgotten memories. Theta can bring you deep states of meditation or hypnosis. A sensation of "floating." And, because it is an expansive state, in Theta, you may feel your mind expand beyond the boundaries of your body.

Theta rests directly on the threshold of your subconscious. In biofeedback, it is most associated with the deepest levels of meditation. Theta also plays an important part in behaviour modification programs and has been used in the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. Finally, Theta is an ideal state for super-learning, re-programming your mind, dream recall, and self-hypnosis.

Theta waves range between 4-7 HZ. Theta is one of the more elusive and extraordinary realms we can explore. It is also known as the twilight state, which we normally only experience fleetingly as we rise out of the depths of delta upon waking or drifting off to sleep. In Theta, we are in a waking dream, vivid imagery flashes before the mind's eye and we are receptive to information beyond our normal conscious awareness. Theta has also been identified as the gateway to learning and memory. Theta meditation increases creativity, enhances learning, reduces stress, and awakens intuition and other extrasensory perception skills. Theta is also associated with the release of Anandamide the body’s natural equivalent to the phytocannabinoid THC.

My guided meditation carefully moves the listener from Beta into Gamma, Alpha and Theta states, while gently skimming the edges of Delta. You can access this meditation  for free when you book an interactive one-on-one session with me: https://elisabettalfaenza.com/services/clinical-hypnotherapy

Delta waves

  • Detached Awareness
  • Healing
  • Sleep

Long, slow, undulating. Delta is the slowest of all four brain wave frequencies. Most associated with deep sleep, certain frequencies in the Delta range also trigger the release of Human Growth Hormone so beneficial for healing and regeneration. This is why sleep - deep restorative sleep, the kind that Delta frequencies help induce - is so essential to the healing process. Delta states are crucial to promote conversion from short term to long-term memory.

        Delta is the brain wave signal of the subconscious, the seat from which intuition arises. That means Delta-based programs are not only an ideal choice for their sleep and deep regeneration potential, but also when you want to access your unconscious activity and help that wellspring of information flow to your conscious mind for clearing and for empowerment. Delta waves range between 0-4 HZ.

When we are in REM sleep, we are alternating between low Alpha and high Theta activity, so that alternating our attention between our right and left hemispheres synchronises our brain’s electrical activity into a range somewhere between 6 and 10 HZ, which has been shown in biofeedback to be extremely beneficial physiologically and psychologically.

Using my guided meditation in bed just before you are ready to go to sleep will help you to reach a delta state more easily and enjoy a deep, rejuvenating sleep. Don’t worry if you fall asleep during the meditation! I’ve created a special brain-balance meditation specially to help you sleep more restfully that you can access for free when you book an interactive one-on-one session with me: https://elisabettalfaenza.com/services/clinical-hypnotherapy

Gamma Waves

What on earth are Gamma Brain Waves? Don’t confuse gamma brain waves with gamma rays. If you’re picturing a lab experiment gone wrong - as in the Incredible Hulk - rest assured, gamma rays and gamma brain waves are NOT the same thing.

Gamma rays are the most energetic waves in the electromagnetic spectrum. On Earth, nuclear explosions and lightning produce gamma rays. The ONLY similarity between a gamma ray and a gamma brain wave is that their frequency is extremely fast, with a small amplitude.

Gamma brain waves are a frequency pattern of normal brain activity that measures between 25 and 100 Hz, with around 40 Hz being typical in humans. Gamma waves were essentially unknown before the development of digital EEG (electroencephalography) recorders, since analogue electroencephalography could not measure brain waves at that high frequency (their upper limit is about 25 Hz). Neuroscientists are beginning to discover the marvelous properties of the brain when it produces the gamma frequency.

Gamma brain waves are the fastest brainwave frequency with the smallest amplitude. They are associated with the ‘feeling of bliss’ reported by experienced meditators such as monks and nuns, and with peak concentration and extremely high levels of cognitive functioning. People report similar experiences with Ayahuasca and DMT, however you can achieve this state without the risk inherent in illegal substances or traveling thousands of miles to find a shaman.

Neuroscientists believe that gamma waves are able to link information from all parts of the brain - the gamma wave originates in the thalamus and moves from the back of the brain to the front and back again 40 times per second - not only that, but the entire brain is influenced by the gamma wave. This rapid ‘full sweep’ action makes the gamma state one of peak mental and physical performance. Gamma is the brainwave state of being ‘in the Zone,’ that feeling that you can do anything.

Everyone has gamma brainwave activity, but the amount of gamma waves produced varies. Low amounts of gamma brainwave activity have been linked to learning difficulties, poor memory, and impaired mental processing.

High achievers produce high gamma wave activity.

Benefits of Gamma

People with very high levels of gamma activity are exceptionally intelligent, compassionate, happy, and have excellent memories and strong self-control. IQ scores of people with high gamma wave activity are correspondingly high.

        High gamma activity also corresponds to a state of peak performance. Elite athletes, top-notch musicians and high achievers in all fields produce far more gamma waves than average.

The benefits of producing the gamma frequency are:

·       Increased memory recall (the 40 Hz frequency is known to regulate memory processing); people with high gamma activity have exceptionally vivid and rapid memory recall.

·       Increased sensory perception. Senses are heightened when the brain produces gamma waves. Food tastes better; vision and hearing sharpen; sense of smell becomes more powerful; and your brain becomes far more sensitive to all sensory input. This makes for a much richer sensory experience and a better perception of reality.

·       Increased focus: but this enhanced focus is not necessarily aimed at one individual object or task. In the gamma state, your brain is able to process all sensory information faster and more fully with greater sensitivity; and combine the whole scenario into a highly memorable experience. People with high gamma activity can recall everything about any memorable event - the food they ate, the music they heard, the conversations, the names of people they met, the air temperature, etc.

·       One of the most remarkable properties of the gamma state is the processing speed: the brain is able to process incredible amounts of information very quickly, remember it, and retrieve that memory later.

·       People with high gamma activity are naturally happier, calmer and more at peace. This is Nature’s best anti-depressant (people suffering from depression typically have very low gamma activity).

·       Gamma waves are present during REM sleep and visualization.

·       Compassion comes from a feeling of oneness with all creation. This is the ‘feeling of bliss’ and ecstasy that accompanies high levels of gamma brainwave activity. Meditation and self-hypnosis are ways to learn to produce more gamma waves.

How to Produce More Gamma Brain Wave Activity

You are probably wondering how you can experience increased mental processing, happiness, better perception of reality, incredible focus, better self-control and richer sensory experience that comes with being in gamma? The answer is simple: meditate.

Neuroscientists believe that people can train themselves to produce more of the gamma frequency and it is believed that focusing on compassion and love is the way to do this. When you look at elite athletes, you can see how love creates the gamma state because they love what they’re doing, and they’re immersed in what they love - so gamma is a natural state of consciousness for them! It’s only when they allow temporary set-backs distract them that they fall out of the gamma wave flow state and find themselves struggling.

Meditation sharpens your mental abilities, but by learning to produce more gamma brain waves, you will use your brain in its greatest capacity.

It’s as simple as putting on your headphones and using the free guided meditation audio I’ve created to gently guide you into a relaxed state. And then, when your brain and body are relaxed and blissful, focus on love and compassion.

Many studies have been performed on experienced meditators, most notably Tibetan Buddhist monks and Celestine nuns. Both groups demonstrated the ability to produce gamma waves during meditation. The studies showed a significant increase in brain activity in the left prefrontal cortex (associated with self-control, happiness and compassion) and greatly reduced activity in the amygdala - the brain’s fight or flight centre. This suggests that meditation can make you a happier and more compassionate person!

Something remarkable happened when the monks in the study were asked to focus on feelings of compassion: their brain almost immediately went into the gamma frequency in a very rhythmic and coherent pattern. Food for thought - perhaps meditation makes one’s brain ‘fire’ to the rhythm of universal consciousness?

    As you meditate with the help of my guided meditation and begin feeling that wonderful warmth of oneness where you lose the sense of self and ‘melt’ into universal consciousness, hang on to that feeling. Focus on it. Expand on it. Embody it. Feel love emanating from you and permeating you. Focus on love and you will soon feel the ecstasy and bliss of gamma! You can access this meditation  for free when you book an interactive one-on-one session with me. Just go to my website: https://elisabettalfaenza.com/services/clinical-hypnotherapy

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