Health Sciences & Research
There is significant scientific evidence to demonstrate that drumming and music have extensive healing benefits to people.
These can be seen on physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual levels. Drumming and music have been increasingly recognised internationally as beneficial team building activities as well as for stress relief, in rehabilitation, in various therapeutic practices and in the field of music therapy.
Here is a summary of some related findings. Enjoy!!!
- In his book, ‘The Healing Power of the Drum’ the psychotherapist Robert Lawrence Friedman provides fascinating research about the way hand drumming has been used to successfully treat at -risk teenagers, stressed- out employees, Vietnam veterans, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis patients and more (Freidman, Healing Power of the Drum, 1994)
- Stress levels were seen to be reduced from blood samples taken from drum session participants. Revealing an increase in natural killer cell activity and reversal of hormonal stress response (Bittman et al. 2001, Alternative Therapies, No 1, Vol. 7)
- A study with 30 people suffering from depression was taken at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The findings showed that the participants in the weekly music therapy group had higher self esteem, were less anxious and less distressed (Friedman, Healing Power of the Drum, 1994)
- Alzheimer’s Disease patients who participated in drumming programs were shown to have improved communication with loved ones. The repetition and predictability of rhythm can provide a framework for repetitive responses that have reduced cognitive demands for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. (Clair, Bernstein and Johnson, 1995)
- Parkinson’s disease and stroke patients have been shown to have steadied movement whilst hearing slow, repetitive rhythms such as drum beats. Rhythmic cues have also been used to help retrain the brain after neurological impairment and strokes. According to Michael Thaurt, director of Colorado State University’s Center of Biomedical Research in Music. (Freidman, Healing Power of the Drum, 1994)
- A groundbreaking study that was published in the International research journal, Medical Science Monitor, showed that playing a musical instrument can reverse stress on the genomic level. “Recreational Music-Making Modulates the Human Stress Response: A Preliminary Individualized Gene Expression Strategy”. (2005) Bittman, B., Berk, L., Shannon, M., Sharaf, M., Westengard, J., Guegler, K.J., and Ruff, D.W. Medical Science Monitor, February 2005
- Drumming has been shown to strengthen the immune system in a study conducted by Dr. Barry. B Bittman. Important scientific evidence was documented for the first time in relation to how participants showed significant increases in the activity of cellular immune components responsible for seeking out and destroying cancer cells and viruses. (Composite Effects of Group Drumming Music Therapy on Modulation of Neuroendocrine-Immune Parameters in Normal Subjects – 2001, Barry B. Bittman, MD; Lee S. Berk, DrPH, MPH; David L. Felten, MD, PhD; James Westengard, BS; O. Carl Simonton, MD; James Pappas, MD and Melissa Ninehouser, BS, Alternative Ther Health Med 2001: 7:38-47