The Best Way to Learn: Alpha and Theta Brain Wave States

“In schools and universities we’re taking in piles and piles of information, but no-one really teaches us the best way to learn, let alone how to develop our ‘mental skills’.” – Sean Adam

Learning to Learn

School systems concentrate on imparting knowledge without giving time and attention to teach the actual skills required to learn the knowledge: “Pay attention! Listen carefully! Remember this! Relax!” On and on with commands that seem to make sense. Yet the question in our subconscious mind is, How?

How do I pay attention, listen, concentrate and remember; much less relax? These are the questions that concern every student. To a manager, the questions are of paramount importance. How can the manager maximise the development of the personnel in their company? By teaching them how to learn new skills, transform old habits and to enjoy the learning process.

It is by making the process efficient, relaxing and yes, even fun, that true transformation and growth is possible.

What are Alpha and Theta States?

Alpha is a relaxed concentrated state of mind typical of a brain wave around 7 cycles/second (7 Hz). This is about 50% slower than the normal waking-thinking state. It allows total concentration and synchronisation of the left and right brains. This is the proper state for reading, listening and other forms of information input.

Theta is an even more restful state of mind typical of a brain wave around 4 cycles/second (4 Hz). This state is the best for memorisation, creativity and problem solving. []

Alpha Waves

Alpha waves are electromagnetic oscillations in the frequency range of 8–12 Hz arising from synchronous and coherent (in phase / constructive) electrical activity of thalamic pacemaker cells in the human brain. They are also called Berger’s wave in memory of the founder of EEG. (Brazier, “The Electrical Activity of the Nervous System”, 1970)

Alpha waves are commonly detected by electroencephalography (EEG) or magnetoencephalography (MEG) and predominantly found to originate from the occipital lobe during periods of relaxation, with eyes closed but still awake. Conversely alpha waves are attenuated with open eyes as well as by drowsiness and sleep. They are thought to represent the activity of the visual cortex in an idle state.

An alpha-like normal variant called mu (μ) is sometimes seen over the motor cortex (central scalp) and attenuates with movement, or even with the intention to move. – Source

The Alpha Learning State

At the heart of many methods for self-improvement, meditation and controlled relaxation, lies the Alpha state. Those who use brain technology are familiar with this notion – it indicates the mental state during which the body is relaxed while the mind is still awake. When the brainwaves of a person in this meditative but mentally focused state is measured, the monitor shows the fairly slow-moving Alpha brainwaves. [Maybe that’s why students still manage to learn something while in a trance during 3-hour long lectures…..]

The Alpha wave brain state has long been associated with improved powers of concentration, learning skills and stress-resistance. Getting rid of bad habits and acquiring new [good] ones is easier during the Alpha state than it is under normal circumstances. Furthermore, the brain recuperates faster from fatigue and damage as a result of mental stress or the use of chemical substances. The Alpha State also contributes to an increased resistance and ingenuity, according to research on advanced meditators (

From “Peak performances through Alpha brainwaves“:


Apart from the Alpha state, synchronization of the brain plays a key-role. The activity in the left and the right hemisphere of the brain are seldom equal. This usually indicates that the two central components of the brain — one being the centre for language and logic, the other the centre for intuition and emotions — are not properly interconnected, when the two halves of the brain are harmonized through the proper type of stimulation, improved synchronicity will be the result, causing the brainwaves in both halves to correspond to each other. The brain will then function as a whole instead of as two separate components. This is an ideal situation leading to peak performances, even in the world of sports.

In addition to the left and right sections, one can also distinguish front and rear sections of the brain. The rear section controls the visual perception (recognition of shapes, dimensions and movement), while the front section deals with the other senses (sound, taste, etc.). these two section can be “out of synch” as well, a situation leading in this case to a disturbed sense of physical balance and physical co-ordination, which can only be corrected through the use of the right kind of optical acoustical electronic stimulation.

Miracle healing

In addition to the ‘mental body building’ for managers, the Brainwave system is also used more and more in hospitals for treating brain damage. To a certain extent, virtually everyone suffers from brain damage, which could be caused by a lack of oxygen or a blow on the head. Especially at an early age this could have severe consequences for learning and reading or keeping the body in balance. With the right stimulation – which is only possible after a careful examination of a brain scan of the individual – it is possible to cure these conditions, sometimes after just one session.

The stories told by those who participated in these training sessions could easily be taken for those told in relation to one of Jomanda’s miracle healings.

There is, however, one exception – Adam’s method has got nothing to do with miracles, it has a solid foundation of scientific research.

More links on Alpha State learning:

What is Learning To Learn?
Effect of Brainwave Training on Cognitive Ability in Pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties – “Skills learned in this way continue to improve over time”
Alpha Learning Research

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