I hope you are well and enjoying the wonderful autumn colours as we head towards the end of the year. This year seems to be flying by!

 In September I had a great day in Bristol at our training centre having a go at using EEG machines, and observing the activity of the brain. It was fascinating to witness the changes in activity in the different areas of the brain and how it responds to thoughts and feelings. The evidence we can see in this way really underpins the work we do in Hypnotherapy and confirms the Neuroscience that is the basis of what we do. It is great to be at the cutting edge of this work and to be able to share it with our clients.

EEG machines are now very simple to use, and are like headsets with little branches attached that sit at points on the head so they can "read" different parts of the brain. So simple to use. They Bluetooth to a computer and show the different brain waves and the brain itself in different colours that change as the activity changes.
The use of EEG in non-clinical research is a growing field, particularly as it has relatively low running costs, is now non-invasive and is tolerated well by most people. EEG detects changes in the brain very quickly (microsecond changes can be detected) and the data can be used relatively easily to produce meaningful brain activity maps suitable for most purposes.

The brainwaves we are most interested in are the Delta, Theta, Alpha and Beta waves. Brainwaves are measured in Hertz – the number of cycles per second:

Delta (0.5-4Hz) – indicating deep sleep and restfulness

Theta (4-8Hz) – indicating deep meditative states, daydreaming and automatic tasks

Alpha (8-15Hz) – indicating relaxed alertness but restful and relaxing, not anxious

Beta (15-30Hz) – indicating wakefulness, alertness, mental engagement and conscious processing of information, can be associated with anxiety

The normal Electroencephalography (EEG) varies by age. The neonatal EEG is quite different from the adult EEG. The EEG in childhood generally has slower frequency oscillations than the adult EEG.
So what do these brainwaves look like?

Some brainy things...

Jonathan Schooler, University of California, Santa Barbara says that somewhere between 15 and 50% of our time is spent daydreaming but this isn’t time wasted, the brain is allowing us to think about and prepare for the future.

Did you know that during a full moon we experience 20 minutes less sleep than normal and it takes us up to 5 minutes longer to fall asleep on average? Christian Cajochen at the University of Basel in Switzerland monitored the EEG readings of people sleeping throughout the lunar month and in addition, found that we experience 30% less deep sleep during the night of a full moon. 

So - keep daydreaming and look out for that full moon!

From time to time I blog on my website - you get get to it here...
So what does the EEG output tell us?

Alpha is a marker of visual attention, shut your eyes and you get clear alpha wave 8-12 Hz.

When people go to sleep and when in deep sleep/R.E.M. the brain looks like it is awake.

We get a lot of theta when we go into trance - a sleep like state

During trance, alpha increases, this means we have a reduction in attention and start to daydream.

As we get a lot of frontal lobe alpha activity it could be that we are shifting our focus from noise to the therapist’s voice and the language pattern.

During trance, theta increases and this means we are underlining the new links we are making between things, not necessarily creating new pathways but interconnecting and building new networks of thought. 

It would be so good to know how you are, especially if I haven't seen you for a while, so do get in touch if you have time. If you like you can follow me Facebook or Twitter!
Ros Knowles
Solution Focused Hypnotherapist
07715 174286