Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Beat of the Drum



Sudbury’s CBC Morning North radio program hosted Jeff Stewart this week to talk about the healing benefits of drumming.  This is something I am completely unfamiliar with, and thought I would help in passing the info along.  Here’s Jeff’s site where he explains a lot about drumming as well as his own recovery from serious illness:

Research is proving that drumming is an effective tool in promoting good health.  While drumming is not a cure for serious illnesses such as cancer, drumming certainly doesn’t hurt.  For example, blood samples from participants of an hour-long drumming session revealed a reversal of the hormonal stress response and an increase in natural killer cell activity: Bittman, Berk, Felten, Westengard, Simonton, Pappas, Ninehouser, 2001, Alternative Therapies, vol. 7, no. 1

Drumming is also proving to be an effective tool in promoting good mental health.  Drumming decreases depression and anxiety.  Drumming also enhances concentration, increases energy and decreases fatigue, and enhances spirituality.  But why specifically drumming?  Why not spend more time playing the piano or the flute?

When you are drumming, you are physically transmitting a rhythmic energy to the brain which causes the two hemispheres of our brain and the frontal and lower areas of the brain to be synchronized.   Bottom line: drumming accesses and is effective for the whole brain.   Dr. Barry Quinn states that even a brief drumming session can double alpha brain wave activity, and it’s the alpha brain wave activity that dramatically reduces stress.

You can drum alone, or join others in drumming.  A drum circle (getting together with other drummers) alleviates feelings of isolation.  Isolation is often a “side-effect” of poor mental health, as we “normal” folk often disengage ourselves from others whom we feel are walking through life to the beat of a different drum….those who are part of a different group.  However, the drum itself bears no prejudice and can be found in every culture.

Can’t afford or find a drum? Metal bowls, wooden boxes, empty paint or coffee cans….the ideas for making drums can be endless.  Why not start right now and find something in your own home to drum to?  Try the beat of a “different” drum, let it decrease your stress and increase good mental health.  Join the group!

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