EEG and Biofeedback Health Solutions
Surrey Neurofeedback


"What are the different brainwaves and what do they mean?

The names of the EEG bands are delta, theta, alpha and beta and they are measured in cycles per second or hertz (Hz). In general, different levels of awareness are associated with dominant brainwave states and difficulties occur when there are excessively high or excessively low levels of activity in one or more of these bands. To find out how Dr. de Jong determines whether a particular level of brainwave activity is too high or too low, take a look at the Assessment Section. The following are descriptions of the characteristics associated with the various brainwaves.

Beta brainwaves are small, faster brainwaves (13 Hz - 30 Hz) associated with a state of mental, intellectual activity and outwardly focussed concentration. This is a "bright-eyed, alert and focussed" state of awareness. That's a pretty wide band as far as brainwave are concerned and so recently, the 13-30 hz beta band has been broken down into smaller bands. These are:

Beta1 brainwaves (13-15 Hz) are associated with being in a physically relaxed and mentally alert state of mind. These waves are often associated with peak performance training, e.g., professional athletes.

Beta2brainwaves (16-18 Hz) are typically associated with performing mental tasks such as reading, mathematics and problem solving, e.g. doing your taxes or solving a crossword puzzle.

Beta3 brainwaves (19-26 Hz) are also associated with problem solving and thinking in general, however, there is also some association of beta3 activity with worry or anxiety.

 Hi-Beta brainwaves (27-32 Hz) are associated with anxiety and obsessive and compulsive types of behaviour. If someone is especially tense or anxious excessively high levels of high-frequency beta wave activity is often.

Alpha brainwaves (8-12Hz) are slower and larger than any of the beta waves. They were the first of the brainwaves to be identified (in the 1930's) and are associated with a state of relaxation. Their presence represents the brain in a relaxed, somewhat disengaged state, waiting to respond if needed. If someone closes their eyes and begins picturing something peaceful, in less than 30 seconds there will be an increase in these brainwaves and they can easily be observed on the EEG. When the eyes are opened, these waves diminish rapidly in strength and become difficult to observe.

Theta brainwaves (4-8Hz) represent a daydream-like, rather 'spacey' state of mind that is associated with mental inefficiency. At very slow levels, theta wave activity is associated with a very relaxed state and often represents the 'twilight zone' between wakefulness and sleep. Persons with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD, ADHD), head injuries, stroke, epilepsy, and often chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, are often observed with excessive slow wave activity (usually theta and sometimes excessive alpha). Excessive slow wave activity in the frontal lobes is associated with difficulties controlling attention, behaviour and/or emotions.  Such persons often have problems with concentration, memory, controlling their impulses and moods. They can't focus well and exhibit diminished intellectual activity.

Delta brainwaves (.50-3.5 Hz) are the slowest, highest amplitude (magnitude) brainwaves and are present when we are asleep. Excessive delta wave activity is also associated with head injuries, strokes, tumours and other types of organic disease. Some preliminary research has also shown deficiencies in delta to be associated with depression and problems with attention.

What sets Dr. de Jong's neurofeedback methods apart from many others is the use of a 19 - channel brain map and a standardized data base, the most comprehensive method to determine the brain locations and frequency bands that need attention!

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4430 Halifax Street, Suite 203, Burnaby, B.C.

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