Alpha waves are electric neural oscillations in the human brain. Since they occur during meditation, some advocates tout them as desirable. However, they also happen under unpleasant conditions, such as a throbbing pain and night terrors. They are simply the middle ground on Electroencephalography recordings, and there is no evidence a person is more peaceful, insightful, or receptive while producing them.
However, if one is just hankering to boost them there alpha waves, lie down, close your eyes, and clear your mind. No “Blissful Harmony Cactus” CD is needed. One needn’t buy, as one ad promoted, “Pharmaceutical-grade hydrolysates to rebuild the body’s collagen.” I’m unsure what that means, but perhaps I will after I increase my focus through alpha wave enhancement.
I decided to test the theory, and compare it with results championed by womenswisdom.com. By the way, this was penned by a guy named James, and combined with what was written, the website’s name seems doubly dubious. At any rate, I should now be reaping these benefits:
Creativity. I’m certainly having no issue whipping out this anti-alpha waves therapy post.
A sense of calm. That’s kind of hard with my children engaged in a cacophonous three-way battle for a Captain America shield eight feet away. If scientists invent any pill that gives tranquility under these conditions, I’ll pop away.
Decreased fear and anxiety. Those levels were already at zero, so maybe I’m a poor test subject.
It also promises “Super learning,” “Improved immune response,” “Problem solving,” and “Increased inner awareness.” Indeed, I am aware that I super-learned how to solve the problem of relying on a product that assures me an “Improved immune response.” Broad, untestable, and undefined terms like this are synonymous with quackery.
Since alpha wave therapy is not based on science, its claims vary in boldness. Some say it will just make one more relaxed. Others take that a step further and assert an altered state of consciousness will result. I once owned a new age album whose liner notes warned of the dangers of listening to it while driving, due to alpha waves. It was one of those albums best played in the presence of incense and a lava lamp, so I was unlikely to have it in my car. For maximum danger, I suppose I could have listened to it with the burning incense in my drink holder and my lava lamp plugged into the cigarette lighter.
Then we have some who advocate all of us simultaneously accessing the Schumann Resonances. The Schumann Resonances reside in the Extremely Low Frequency area of Earth’s electromagnetic field spectrum. The resonances are vaguely and superficially similar to alpha waves in people. So the idea is that getting everyone to meditate at the same time will harmonize Earth’s brain to alpha wave goodness. At the other end of the spectrum, conspiracy theorists assert that the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program is a mad scientist plot to practice mind control, or to negatively distort Earth’s consciousness, causing bad juju. However, no person or six billion persons can force a person or planet to enter a state of consciousness by manipulating brain waves.
Similarly, there is Theta Healing, which purports to facilitate immediate psychological changes in the patient. Gulp that hot chocolate with Theta Healing Marshmallows and ward off negative thoughts, zap that backache, and gets rid of that nagging lymphoma.
One urban legend holds that binaural beats common in a subset of new age music will get you stoned. It won’t work any more than smoking marijuana will cause one to hear “Dark Side of the Moon.”