Alpha waves can be recognised as a kind of neutral oscillations that arise due to the synchronous electrical activity of the pacemaker cells in human beings. These waves can also be called as Berger waves after the German psychiatrist named Hans Berger who was popularly known for the invention of Electroencephalography (EEG) in the year 1924. Alpha waves are the waves which are present in the brain. These waves can be detected by many methods such as electroencephalography (EEG) or magneto-encephalography (MEG). The other method by which these waves can be quantified is by quantitative encephalography. The origin of these alpha waves is occipital lobe and the event by which these waves function is during the relaxation of the closed eyes when the person is waking up. In the past historical days, these waves are thought to be the reason for the activity of the visual cortex when the person is in idle state. Recently, studies have proved that these waves actually inhibit the cortex when the cortex does not function. These waves actually play a significant role in the coordination and communication of network.
The first person who recorded the brain waves was Hans Berger. His findings were controversial for more than a decade. By 1938, the result of Hans Berger was accepted by the international scientific community. During this year the electroencephalography (EEG) became a popular and key research tool for diagnostic purposes. The first ever discovered waves could be recognised as the alpha waves. These waves are among the first waves which were put into documentations by Hans Berger. These waves were discovered side by side with the Beta waves. Hans Berger has also shown interest in a phenomenon known as “Alpha Blockage”. Alpha blockage is a process by which there is a decrease in the Alpha waves and the increase in the Beta waves while the person opens his eyes. Due to this difference the Alpha waves are gradually referred to as the Berger’s waves. Hans Berger proved the existence of the electrical activity of the human brain. The scientist first did this by stimulating the hospital patients with the stimulus which had a damage in the skull and then he measured the electrical activity of their brains. After that the stimulus method was stopped and the natural rhythmic cycles of the brain were measured. From this he came out with the first natural rhythm and he coined the term to be alpha waves. His techniques and findings did not gain enough popularity until 1937.
Again in the years of 1960s and 1970s these waves gained recognition. The recognition achieved was due to the creation of a biofeedback theory. This theory states a process by which greater awareness is gained by a person on many physiological functions with the help of the instruments which provide information regarding the activity of the similar systems. For alpha waves, such biofeedback can be specifically referred to as neurofeedback. This neurofeedback is the mechanism by which the alpha waves are constantly elicited through alpha brainwaves by a person.
Types of Alpha waves include two forms which might function differently the cycle of waking up and sleeping. The alpha waves are generally present at the different stages of this cycle. The widely used research is basically when the person is in a relaxed mental stage. At this stage the person is at rest with closed eyes but is not tired or asleep. Such an alpha activity is generated in the occipital lobe, although there has been a recent speculation that the these alpha waves have a thalamic origin. Another occurrence of alpha waves can be predicted during REM sleep. This form generally occurs from the frontal-central location of the brain. The function of these alpha waves during this REM activity is still under investigation.
Neuroscientists recently discovered a correlation between an increase in the alpha waves of the brain and the ability to reduce the depressive syndromes and to enhance the level of creative thinking. The various stages of consciousness are related to the different environmental functions of the brain. These environmental functions constitute electrical, chemical, and architectural functions of the brain. The architecture of the brain can be altered by the daily behavioural habits and processes of thinking. These habits and thoughts could also affect the neurochemical and electrical neutral oscillations of the mind. Neuroplasticity and neurogenesis are the factors which alter the architectural connectivity between the different regions of the brain and leads to the increase in the volume of the brain. This directly affects the cognitive function of the brain. The neurochemicals of happiness could be termed as endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin are required to provide happiness to human beings during activities when they feel good. These things also change the chemical environment of the brain. The electrical environment focusses on the recent discoveries about the way the brain waves fine-tune the consciousness of the humans with the help of new findings. The alpha waves are also required to boost creativity and also for reduction of depression.
The human brain is made up of neurons that are required for communicating with each other through signals. This communication is required for introduction of the thoughts, emotions and behaviours. Sometimes this communication happens during some activities like resting, awakening or sleeping. The alpha waves are produced by the brain at 8-12 Hz during awakening. Sometimes these waves might be produced while the person is in the relaxed stage but not in the stage of processing much information. Activities related to alpha waves might be used to reducing stress, anxiety, pain or discomfort. Sometimes these waves might also be used for regaining back the memory. Alpha waves are also called alpha relaxers as they are supposed to provide mental relaxation to a person. Scientists have the evidence that enhanced alpha waves could lead to increase in creativity in a person as these waves are supposed to increase the level of creativity of a person. This boosting up can even be up on an average level of 7.4%.
Some scientists also claim that the people who have depression have an impairment in the alpha activity. It is also suggested by them that the brain patterns stimulating greater alpha activity might be the reason for the treatment of low mood which is affected by depression.
In the Alpha zone the people are influenced by the following activities.
1) Experts claim that the people who are involved in practicing meditation would have more alpha activity in their brains.
2) The brain produces high levels of alpha wave when a person is in the stage of closing his eyes. During this stage when a person tries to visualise something, the brain produces high levels of alpha waves.
3) The exercises which relate to breathing also boost up the alpha activity. If a person tries to sit comfortably and start ding the breathing exercises of inhaling and exhaling, the alpha activity occurs and as a result of this the activity gets enhanced.
4) During a relaxed bath, the person’s alpha waves get boosted up and enhance in their functions. This might also happen if the person closes his eyes and switch off while soaking himself in the tub. Due to this there is quick generation of the alpha waves.
5) During some yoga practices, the alpha waves get sensitive and they perform their functions. This might also occur during any activity that relaxes a person such as listening to music which is soothing to the ears or having a massage.
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