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Drum Therapy

The use of the drum in a therapeutic environment has been found to add value to virtually all therapeutic process’. It has been used has part of a creative programme in alcohol and drug addiction recovery, mental health, bereavement and adult, children and adolescent encounters to help facilitate change and enhance the therapeutic work that is being under taken. It has proven the most successful element of a creative programme in the recovery from PTSD ( Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome ) for returning war veterans and others recovering from PTSD (1)(2)(3) as well as a tool to assist in work on addiction (4). The drum removes barriers, encourages participation, community and sharing. It gives a voice to those that can not speak and expression to those that have previously been unable to express. The rhythms they choose to share can be a metaphor for their life journey and the drum a tool to express that journey.

The first sense that develops in the womb for the unborn baby is hearing and one of the first sensations that the baby hears is that of the rhythm of the mothers heart beat. We are connected to rhythm before we are even born. We are all rhythmical people, we breath in rhythm, we walk and talk in rhythm even our brain synapsis fire in rhythm. The use of the drum to connect to self and others is as long as the history of mankind itself.

The progression of using the drum for healing and therapeutic ends is only natural as we are rhythmical people. It is a wholly holistic approach using the mind and body we are able to use the drum to access suppressed emotions and those that we feel we can not express in any other way. It can also act as a door way to deeper working with clients one to one and in groups. We are able to use drumming in groups to enhance expression, communication and to bring about a better understanding of community and our individual role within it. The use of the drum is also proven to modulate the activity of natural killer cell activity (5) reduce stress (6) and improve mood state (7).

1, Bensimon, M., Amir, D., & Wolf, Y. (2008). Drumming through trauma: Music therapy with post-traumatic soldiers. The Arts in Psychotherapy,35, pp. 34-48.

2, Bensimon, M., Amir, D., & Wolf, Y. (2012). A pendulum between trauma and life: Group music therapy with post-traumatized soldiers. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 39, pp. 223-233.

3, The Use of Drumming as Cure for Children with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). David Otieno Akombo, Ph.D, Assistant professor of Music, Weber State University.

4,Winkelman, M. (2003). Complementary Therapy for Addiction: “Drumming Out Drugs”. American Journal of Public Health Vol. 93, No. 4, pp. 647-651.

5, Masatada, W. et al ( 2007). Recreational music-making modulates natural killer cell activity, cytokines, and mood states in corporate employees.  Med Sci Monit 2007; 13(2):CR57-70.

6, Bittman, B.B et al (2003). Recreational Music-making: a cost-effective group interdisciplinary strategy for reducing burnout and improving mood states in long-term care workers insights and potential economic impact.  Advances in Mind-Body Medicine November 2003.

7, Koyama et al. (2009). Recreational music-making modulates immunological responses and mood states in older adults. Med Dent Sci. 2009 Jun;56(2):79-90. PubMed PMID: 20099470