|Over the past few years there has been a number of studies made by medical researchers that link hand drum playing to a variety of surprising health benefits.
For those of us that drum, the benefits of stress reduction, a feeling of well being and an increase in energy were obvious. It was also known that a person who came to a drum circle with a headache left feeling great.. We knew this at a grass roots level, but modern research is showing there is much more to it than that.
Medical research is showing that the immune system produces more of the viral fighting (NK) cells when people drum. It also increases the ‘feel good’ hormones. Drumming is now being used as therapy for a number of ailments; Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, Autism, healing after surgery and addictions to name a few. According to Dr. Bittman a neurologist and Medical Director of the Mind Body Wellness Center in Meadvill, PA “Group drumming tunes our biology, orchestrates our immunity and enables healing to begin”.
When people are surrounded by drums played in unison a phenomena called entrainment takes place. The vibrations of the drums cause the cells and fragmented electrical impulses of the body’s nervous system to smooth out and line up with the rhythm. This is the state of mind where healing begins and a sense of well being comes to the forefront.
Psychotherapist Robert L. Friedman explains “The brain is divided into two hemispheres that are basically split in their control of the thinking process. The right brain functions as the creative, visual, aural and emotional center. The left brain is the rational, logical, analytical and verbal center. Generally either the right or left brain dominates in cycles that last from 30 minutes to three hours. Not only do the right and left brain operate in different modes, they also operate in different brain wave rhythms. But under the influence of rhythmic sound both hemispheres may become entrained to the same rhythm. This state of whole brain functioning is called hemispheric synchronization.
As the two hemispheres begin to resonate to a single rhythm, a sense of clarity and heightened awareness arises. The individual is able to draw on both hemispheres simultaneously. The mind becomes sharper, more lucid, synthesizing much more rapidly than normal and emotions are easier to understand and transform.”
In addittion to the above, the aerobic exercise, team building and spirit lifting properties of group drumming enriches the lives of people in retirement communities and nursing homes.
Fred Leavitt, President of the Primal Connection “People from all backgrounds, cultures and ages gather for a drum circle for reasons as varied as the participants themselves. They all understand the language of rhythm. It reaches back to an ancient part of us that is common to all, the part that gave birth to music and is as universally understood as a smile.
After facilitating countless community drum circles I never know how many people will show up or for what reason. But one thing I do know is that everyone leaves feeling great.
Primal Connection offers programs that bring the healing power of the drum into the health care and gieatric fields Take a look at the Programs Page on the site foe examples. The organization also designs programs for special needs.
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