Drumming for Health

Drumming for Health

One of the most primitive forms of self-expression is the act of drumming. It is believed this was the earliest instrument developed by primitive man with the first appearance of drums showing up in 5500 BC made from alligator skins. They were developed by Neolithic cultures from China and over the next several centuries slowly transformed into all sorts of designs. From bongos and timbales to congas and full on drum sets men and women have been expressing themselves through the power of the drum for millennia. 

Of course, the curiosity of science set its sights on how drumming affects the human system and the results have been impressive. Learn how embracing this ancient form of musical enjoyment can actually be good for you through the profound effects of drumming for health. 

Two Side Brain Communication

Drumming requires a variety of physical and mental applications. From simply pounding on a single drum to using all four appendages at once, the amount of communication the brain must enhance is short of staggering. As the hands are our main source of physical interaction, most people are dominant in one. In addition, it is rare that people can use both hands simultaneously to perform tasks. In drumming, the requirement for both hands and both feet to work together or opposite of one another at the same time is something only a few can master (aside from typing where there is still a dominant hand application). However, we are all capable of this skill and aside from needing to master it, we can certainly enjoy it and its benefits to brain health.

One study of how drumming affects the brain was published in the journal, Brain and Behavior, which reported,

“In conclusion, professional drumming is associated with a more efficient neuronal design of cortical motor areas as well as a stronger link between commissural structure and biochemical parameters associated with motor inhibition. This shows that long-term learning of complex motor tasks could lead to substantial restructuring in cortical motor networks, which could also have interesting implication for clinical applications for patients with motor disorders.”  

Although this study cites professional drumming, there are many aspects of amateur drumming that can activate and enhance the same regions of the brain. It is believed that when the right and left hemispheres of the brain communicate together, left being logical and right being intuitive, overall intuition is enhanced. The best part is that this intuition does not only segregate during drumming but can be applied to everyday life, hence, the drummer’s lens.

Utilizing the Drummer’s Lens

The more a person embraces drumming the more applications could be integrated. In addition to the support of intuition, drumming also fires the lower, non-verbal areas of the brain as well as the pre-frontal cortex or language and reasoning parts of the brain. It also increases Alpha waves which is the brain’s indication of well-being. As a result, the act of drumming has been implemented into the treatment and rehabilitation for:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety 
  • Stress 
  • Autism
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Stroke recovery
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimers disease
  • Other forms of dementia
  • Mental illness such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder

Working through the drummer’s lens enables great discovery and healing that requires no medication or other invasive conventional integrations.

Drumming Into Well Being 

In a groundbreaking study of drumming and its effects on well-being, researchers from the Centre for Performance Science, Royal College of Music, London, UK and Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, London, UK, published results in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Health and Well-Being concluded that,

“Emotional, psychological and social dimensions of well-being emerged for both patients and carers, accounted for through six themes: 

  1. Hedonia: positive affect and pleasant physical effects of drumming
  2. Agency: initiative and sense of control
  3. Accomplishment: non-specific and in relation to musical goals
  4. Engagement, through focus and flow
  5. A redefinition of self, through self-awareness, construction of a positive identity, self-prospection and incorporation of a musical identity
  6. Social well-being, through connectedness and positive relationships.”

These are some participant testimonials from the same study across all disciplines mentioned above:

“All that horribleness was drained out of you … I can’t even describe it […] it comes in beautiful flowing in you … I always left on a high.”

“It makes me feel euphoric, that’s the word, when I’m starting to play […] everyone felt the same uplifted feeling.”

“It helps the stress, and you’ll come out feeling very happy, and it’s just a different happy […] I felt it inside and that’s why it was just really a wonderful and happy experience.”

“When it ended I would still be on a high on that day.”

Whether you get yourself a set of inexpensive bongos, want to delve into a full drum set learning experience, join a drum circle, or simply tap with sticks or hands on anything nearby, drumming for health just may be the thing you need to raise you up and keep you flying.