Shamanic Drumming & Healing

Drumming for mindfulness and healing: A simple way to calm the mind.

 Drum Making Workshops: East Cork  Saturday 19th of September 

Through the centuries, the drum was also central to many other spiritualities and religions, from ancient shamanism — documented use of more than 25,0000 years ago — to Medieval Catholic ritual, to ceremonies in numerous religions. The earliest known spirituality — broadly defined as shamanism — relied on the drum to journey into the mind and spiritual insights. Cave drawings dating to 25,000 years ago show the central role of drumming

Psychology and science have identified both drumming and mindfulness meditation as helpful therapy for everything from stress to memory loss to supportive.

Bringing the two together — mindfulness and drumming — can be life-changing. Even one session of meditation, focused on a drum’s beat demonstrates how powerful this ancient meditation method can be in our stressful modern lives. The powerful and compelling rhythm of drums can still and focus the mind

Drumming may also be used as a form of therapy for releasing and moving through strong emotions such as grief and pain. The wise make one lifetime into many; the many make one lifetime into less.

Drumming is perhaps the oldest form of active meditation known to humanity. It can help with a myriad of issues, such as: retrieving lost aspects of soul, releasing unhealthy entities, solving conflicts within the unconscious, transforming the negative energy of past traumas into positive energy, helping people finally feel suppressed emotions, and healing unhealthy patterns and habits.

Drum was an important component of various Buddhist traditions. “In Buddha’s time, the gong and drum were used to gather everyone to announce the precepts, meal times, Dharma talks.”  Today, most Buddhist temples and monasteries of most traditions use drums in practice, and increasingly

“Drum meditation can also be used as a method for rewilding. In her book Sacred Land, Sacred Sex: Rapture of the Deep Dolores Chapelle reveals how the drum can have a direct, potent effect on human neurophysiology” She concludes that trance drumming “links us directly with our real human nature in all its deep aspects and therefore can link us once again to the land.”

In Psychology Today, therapist Gary Diggins is quoted as saying: “We moderns are the last people on the planet to uncover what older cultures have known for thousands of years: The act of drumming contains a therapeutic potential to relax the tense, energize the tired, and soothe the emotionally wounded.

The American Journal of Public Health reviewed drum therapy in its April 2003 edition concluding … drumming directly supports the introduction of spiritual factors found significant in the healing process.

Evidence-Based Benefits of Drumming for Health

According to a well-cited article on Green Med, there are six evidence-based benefits to drumming (beyond the enhanced mindfulness aspect):

  1. Reduces blood pressure, anxiety and stress: 2014 study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine.
  2. Improves cognitive function: 2014 study in the Journal of Huntington’s Disease.
  3. Pain Reduction: 2012 study published in evolutionary Psychology
  4. Improve Immunity: 2011 study published in alternative Therapies and Health Medicine
  5. Induces Theta; enhanced meditation: 2004 study published in the Journal Multiple Sclerosis
  6. Depression and Emotional Disorders:2001 study published in the Journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

With enough practice, the power of drum meditation can help us to develop what Ivan Illich called “tools of conviviality” by giving us the courage to interpret and live our own destiny as opposed to merely going through the motions of living the destiny handed down to us, We can become human catalysts and proactive agents of change. We can become New-oracles.

Psychology: Drumming for Depression

Since depression is one of the fastest-growing problem areas in psychological treatment, drumming may be a particularly easy and helpful treatment option for mild cases of depression, possibly even reducing reliance on drugs.

In a story in the Telegraph, drumming was described as a viable therapy for depression: “Researchers found that adults who were given music therapy sessions, in which they played drums or instruments such as xylophones, showed fewer symptoms of depression or anxiety than those who just had standard counseling.

They suggest that it helped patients express their emotions as well as being a pleasurable activity in its own right.

For individuals coping with depression, anxiety, or trauma, there is something more intuitive and liberating about communicating through music. Some find the combination of group therapy and drumming effectively  brings more contemporary approaches to mental health together with the creative and non-judgmental expression of emotions.”

The long list of health benefits also includes: “… eating disorders, children with autism, cancer patients, war veterans living with PTSD, individuals with anger management issues, people with addictions, and even Alzheimer’s patients, drumming offers physical and emotional benefits.”

Drumming for Memory: American Psychological Association

In addition to concrete health, stress reduction and pain-relief benefits, the American Psychological Association has identified drumming and sound as promising therapy for memory loss, especially Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s: “Since the rhythmic pulses of music can drive and stabilize this disorientation, we believe that low-frequency sound might help with these conditions,” Bartel says. He is leading a study using vibroacoustic therapy with patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease. The hope is that using the therapy to restore normal communication among brain regions may allow for greater memory retrieval.

Drumming for Theta: The Relaxed Mind Through Rhythm

Drumming repetitively at about four beats per second, has been proven to relax the mind, inducing either Alpha or Theta in nearly all participants in studies on the effect of drumming.

An abstract from the US Library of Medicine by Professor Winkelman, concluded, from a study: “Research reviews indicate that drumming enhances recovery through inducing relaxation and enhancing theta-wave production and brain-wave synchronization. Drumming produces pleasurable experiences, enhanced awareness of preconscious dynamics, the release of emotional trauma, and reintegration of self. Drumming alleviates self-centeredness, isolation, and alienation, creating a sense of connectedness with self and others. Drumming provides a secular approach