Drum therapy is an ancient way of promoting self-expression and healing with rhythm, as can be seen in the Mongolian shamans or the West African Minianka healers. For thousands of years, therapeutic rhythm strategies have been used for developing and maintaining spiritual, physical and mental health. Latest research reviews show that drumming actually speeds up physical healing, reintegration of self, releasing emotional trauma, and producing the sensations of well-being, improving the immune system and more. Overall, it has a significant positive impact on the mental health of participants. Find out about the many benefits of drumming on mental health.

Reducing stress

Drumming is a meditative exercise. It can promote relaxation of the mind – which can reduce tension and anxiety. Drumming can lower stress in various ways. It is a fun activity, which helps you to vent your feelings and divert your mind from other activities related to stress. When combined with visualization and deep breathing techniques, drumming can offer more benefits of stress reduction.

Promoting more intense self-awareness

The activity also helps make drummers more intensely aware of the self by promoting alpha waves and stimulating synchronous brain activity. Various studies conducted on the human mind have revealed that the two hemispheres of the human brain frequently work at various rates and levels. Drumming helps activate both brain sides and can assist the mind in attaining the situation known as hemispheric coordination in which brain waves are synchronized and both brain halves get active. The coordination can result in integrative consciousness modes, which can consist of a higher level of creativity or insight.

Reducing emotional trauma and negative feelings

Drumming is found to be successful in relaxing people who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other emotional traumas. Drum therapy can assist in curing emotional problems and achieving self-expression. Drumming also stimulates the body, removes blockages and releases negative cellular memories by making musical vibrations resonate through each body cell.

Assisting in connecting with the self

Group drumming can also promote fellow feeling and give rise to an overwhelming shared experience. Drum therapy in groups has been used with success to build team experience and teaching every group to work along with each other, achieving common objectives and listening to each other. Group drumming can prevent self-centeredness and isolation, encouraging involvement and communication of each member with others of the group.

Connecting to the natural rhythms in the surroundings

Rhythm is everywhere, but people are generally unaware of the same. The seasons and the celestial objects such as the moon and the sun follow rhythms regularly. Drumming assists in connecting to the natural rhythms present around the self. Natural rhythms are present everywhere, even on the level of cells. Drumming helps connect the mind and body to rhythm and can put people in contact with natural cycles, making them aware of the rhythm present all around.

Drumming connects the self with a higher power

Drumming can give rise to a sense of community, spirituality, and connectedness, integrating the spirit, body, and mind. It can let participants attain a more meditative and relaxed mental states, letting them enter a state of higher consciousness. The activity helps coordinate the two hemispheres of the brain and synchronize the frontal brain sections with the lower sections. Drummers can thus get better insight and understanding, which is regarded as the basis for connecting the soul to a greater power.

Grounding the mind to the present moment

Drum therapy is regarded as an interactive technique. It is all about coordination and timing, which helps drummers to be focused in the present. Firmly grounding the mind to the present can make people forget past stressful situations and minimize future worries.

Assisting in self-realization

Drumming helps in self-expression, and can provide individuals with a way to express and use a non-verbal language for expression – thus connecting to other people despite racial, linguistic, cultural or other differences.

It entertains the mind

Drumming is a fun experience. This activity helps release the feel-good hormones known as endorphins into the brain, which can result in feelings of euphoria and joy. It helps gather drummers with others, and share a common experience and participate in an enjoyable activity. Those who participate in drum circles are part of a whole, which is significantly greater than the sum of every part.

About Joan Swart, PsyD, Forensic Psychologist and lecturer

Joan Swart is a forensic psychologist, lecturer, and business developer at Open Forest LLC. She authored two books titled “Treating Adolescents with Family-Based Mindfulness” (Springer, 2015) and “Homicide: A Forensic Psychology Casebook” (CRC, 2016). She is a contributor to Hubpages and HuffPost.

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More on: Anxiety, Mindfulness
Latest update: November 8, 2016
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