Theta waves are categorized as electrical signals occurring in the brain at a wave frequency of 6 to 12 hertz. These waves occur during childhood, at a time of deep learning, as well as during a state of deep consciousness or meditation. Often, a theta meditation requires an individual to perform certain breathing and relaxation techniques to help shift the brain from an awake state to a more relaxed, slow wave theta state. A recorded theta meditation session can contain binaural tones, which are thought to influence brainwave patterns and bring the brainwaves down to the theta state more quickly.
During childhood, the brain is often in a slower brainwave frequency than adults, which is essential for learning and taking in new information. This slower brainwave state is called the theta brainwave state, and is present in most humans and animals during time of deep relaxation and sleep. It has been recorded that those who participate in regular meditation can bring their brains into this state, possibly helping with strengthening learning and memory. A theta meditation simply requires an individual to go into a relaxed state of consciousness for a certain period of time.
A theta meditation often consists of the practitioner using breathing exercises, such as inhaling deeply for a particular amount of time and exhaling out for the same amount of time. After a few minutes, the body starts to relax and the brainwaves start to slow. When the brain shifts from an alert state to a slow, quiet state, it is safe to say that the brain is entering the first few waves of theta. Although this can take time for a meditator to master, an individual can remain in a theta state for up to an hour or more.
Many relaxation and theta meditation recordings contain binaural tones, which is a technology embedded in music that helps synchronize brainwave frequencies to a certain wave. Binaural beats associated with theta may bring the brain into the theta state more quickly than with pure meditation alone. Although the research on the benefits of theta meditation and brainwave technology is quite minimal, there does seem to be some evidence that both can help with recall and learning. Most meditation associated with theta has also been shown to reduce stress levels and improve the immune system.