Music and Brain waves

(Adapted from my Flowcode study notes)

You might have heard of sound therapy and the Science behind it. Even if you are not convinced, surely you must have experience how listening to your favourite music helps in completing a perhaps a mundane task. You might have added suitable music for your meditation. Or when you gyming and you have to music help you finish the last rep! To put it aptly, you are in the flow zone.

Most of our flow actions takes place in our brain. Sounds are wave patterns. All humans possess 5 diffrent types of brain waves. Scientists have studied using brain waves using electroencephalogram (EEG).

What are brain waves? Brain waves are produced by synchronized electrical pulses from masses of neurons communicating with each other. The five types of brainwaves are the Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta arranged from fastest to slowest brain waves. Brain wave speed is measured in hertz (cycles per second)

Our brain waves change according to what we’re doing and feeling. When slower brainwaves are dominant, we feel more relaxed and at peace. And when faster brainwaves are dominant, we feel more wired or hyper-alert. Multiple brain waves occur at the same time but usually with one brainwave type being dominant.

Gamma Waves (40 – 100 Hz)

Gamma brain waves are the fastest brainwaves and the most recently discovered brain wave state, relate to simultaneous processing of information from different brain areas. These are involved in higher processing tasks as well as cognitive functioning. They are associated with increased reasoning, learning & improved perception.

Beta Waves (12 – 40 Hz)

Beta brain waves are associated with normal waking consciousness and a heightened state of alertness, logic and critical reasoning. Having the right amount of beta allows us to focus on our task whether at school, work or sports performance. However, too much beta waves also results in too much stress, producing stress chemicals such as cortisol, causing also harm to our body & mind if in excess.

Alpha Waves (8 – 12 Hz)

Alpha brain waves are dominant during quietly flowing thoughts, while you are in deep relaxation, or during light meditation. Alpha is the frequency between our conscious thinking and subconscious mind. Alpha waves are associated with increased relaxation and are considered as a precursor to the flow state.

Theta Waves (4 – 8 Hz)

Theta brain waves occur most often in sleep but are also dominant during deep meditation.They are linked to vivid imagery, intuition and information beyond normal conscious awareness, intuition & creativity. Theta waves are associated with creativity, emotional connection, intuition & relaxation.

Delta Waves (0 – 4 Hz)Delta brain waves are the slowest but loudest brainwaves. They can be experienced in a deep, dreamless sleep and in very deep, transcendental meditation. Deep sleep is important for the healing process – as it’s linked with rest and regeneration. Delta waves are needed to boost the immune system and are associated with regeneration and deep restorative sleep.



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“…brainwaves can be altered by various external stimuli. Auditory stimuli and especially music are among the most interesting. As the famous British neurologist Oliver Sacks states, “our auditory systems, our nervous systems are tuned for music. Perhaps we are a musical species no less than a linguistic one”. Indeed, starting with Alfred A. Tomatis’ ideas and, later, Don Campbell’s book The Mozart Effect, scientists have never stopped investigating the impact of music on the brain.” (
Many people use music to regulate mood and arousal, much as they use caffeine or alcohol. Neurosurgeons use it to enhance concentration, armies to coordinate movements and increase cooperation, workers to improve attention and vigilance and athletes to increase stamina and motivation. Listening to music wards off boredom and anxiety and it can induce flow experiences.
The evidence for the beneficial effects of music on reward mechanisms, motivation, pleasure, stress and immunity is mounting.Music is widely regarded, among other things, as a system for increasing oxytocin levels, one of the central neurochemicals experienced in the flow state.
But it is crucial to remember that it is not the hearing that improves life, it is the listening. As with anything else, to enjoy music one must pay attention to it. Music is inextricably linked to our deepest reward systems. Therefore it is important to include music and sound into any flow triggering activity.





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