MEDITATION FOR THE MIND & BODY: Theta Brain Waves & Your Fasica

Many of the questions I am asked from clients and interested parties in what is “corrective movement,” what is “fascial based YogaFORM? and “what is the right “state” of mind that will make a difference to how my body relaxaes?”

Our body is like a computer monitor, the mouse, the keyboard, the software that you visually see, it’s  the visual representation of what the CPU or harddrive uses to interact with the world and with you the user. Therefore, the CPU or harddrive is like your brain, and this harddrive holds thousands of programs so that you run efficently. Like a computer, your brain has certain frequencies where it runs specific programs like everyday tasks that are goal oriented (beta waves), times when you need to conetemplate and rejuvinate the body with exercise (theta waves), times when your body needs deep relexation and sleep (delta waves), times when you are completely asleep and your brain is processess and filing your day (alpha waves) and at last, times of deep introspection, and enlightenment (gamma waves). We looked at all of these states in our last post “Ride Your (Brain) Wave: Neuro-Synchronicity and Your Human Potential. Therefore, does it not make sense to utilize the most out of your day, your task, your well-being and “tune it in” to the right frequency. The answer is YES!

“The person who is most flexible will always have the power to change. Flexibility of the mind determines flexibility of the body and will”

Our bodies undergo daily changes, challenging events, and sometimes trauma, throughout our lifetimes, forcing it to continually adapt to new stresses, new environments and new patterns of thought. These challenges and circumstances constantly challenge our mental and physical well-being on a daily basis, and as a result, our bodies compensate, re align and shift, but not always for the better. Somtimes our bodies shift our of necessity and become un-balanced.  Our fascia system plays a significant role in how our body shifts, because it is interconnected to every muscle, bone and organ in our body.

Our Fascia System – 3 Layers

Let’s review our fasica system for a moment. We have 3 distinct layers that permeates and connects all our systems. Our visceral fascia envelopes our organs and is what holds them in place. Our superficial fascia acts as our initial layer where our skin is the terminus. It covers our muscles and transverses our adipose tissue. It’s softer and more malleable than our third layer, our deep fascia. Our deep fascia is thick and is the connective tissue that acts with our muscles, deep layers that attach to the muscles and bone. For example our thoraco-lumbar fascia.

The next question is how can meditation and accessing the right brain wave frequency offer us a chance to balance our body and reduce stress. For clients who have chronic pain and find it hard to move, or clients whose fascia and nervous systems are functioning at high sensory; this can be challenging, but it is achievable.

Theta Brain Waves – Meditation and Relaxation

Given the popularity and effectiveness of meditation as a means of alleviating stress and maintaining good health, there is a pressing need for a rigorous investigation of how it affects brain function.  Whether we are mentally active, resting or asleep, the brain always has some level of electrical activity. During meditation, theta waves were most abundant in the frontal and middle parts of the brain.

These types of waves likely originate from a relaxed attention that monitors our inner experiences. Here lies a significant difference between meditation and relaxing without any specific technique. Previous studies have shown that theta waves indicate deep relaxation and occur more frequently in highly experienced meditation practitioners. The source is probably frontal parts of the brain, which are associated with monitoring of other mental processes.

When we measure mental calm, these regions signal to lower parts of the brain, inducing the physical relaxation response that occurs during meditation.  Alpha waves were more abundant in the posterior parts of the brain during meditation than during simple relaxation. They are characteristic of wakeful rest.

During meditation or deep relaxation the mind can wander, this is very normal and a part of our mental process. Spontaneous wandering of the mind is something you become more aware of, and familiar with when you meditate consistently. This default activity of the brain is often underestimated, as it represents a kind of mental processing that connects various experiences and emotional residues, puts them into perspective and lays them to rest if needed.

During theta frequency it’s important to stay “alert,” but as the observer, keeping your mind slightly active, but non directly. Nondirective meditation yields more marked changes in electrical brain wave activity associated with wakeful, relaxed attention, than just resting without any specific mental technique

Theta Brain Waves Meet Somatic Fascia Healing

One of the barriers of progression can be found in the cells memory banks and the limiting beliefs in our subconscious mind that prevent us from moving forward. A simple and effect method  that allows time and space for the mind and body to meet in middle ground, is to include theta brain wave beat frequency into your practice.  This influences the cellular structure at both the conscious and subconscious levels. The mind can filter and process without distraction. This lowered frequency allows sets the tonal vibration within the body, at the cellular level, to release.

The relaxation response corresponds to a physical portion of the brain (located in the hypothalamus) which—when triggered—sends out neurochemicals that almost precisely counteract the hyper-vigilant response of the fight or flight response. When we take time to meditate, practice controlled, slow movements, we can start to elicit the relaxation response more efficiently and we can predictably measure its benefits on the body. These include: a decrease in blood pressure, diminished respiratory rate, lower pulse rate, diminished oxygen consumption, increase in theta, delta and alpha brain waves (associated with relaxation), and in many cases, an improved sense of mental and spiritual well-being.

The relaxation response is a physiologic response, and as such, there are many ways to elicit it, just as there are many ways to increase our pulse rate (another physiologic response). The key to deriving the benefits of the relaxation response is to practice it daily.

About the Author: Sarah Jamieson

Sarah Jamieson has written 155 posts on this site.

Sarah is the owner and head movement coach at Moveolution; a Vancouver based consulting company focused on the integration of movement and recovery science. Bridging the gaps between the clinical and performance fields Sarah’s passion stems from lifelong passion of Yoga, Jujitsu, and Qi Gong; which she integrates into her coaching practice. She is a full time social change maker, a ‘run-a-muker’ of everything outdoors and repeatedly engages in random acts of compassion.

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