8 Surprising Benefits of Drumming for Mental Health
There’s a lot more to drumming than just banging out a sweet rhythm. Here are 8 surprising benefits that come with getting your groove on.
When most people hear “drum circle” they may have some stereotypical associations. And for good reason, I mean our society has used drumming in some pretty strange ways for a few decades now.
But there’s a lot more to drumming than just getting together with the locals and banging out a few crazy rhythms. In fact, music therapists often incorporate drumming into their work because it has a large number of health benefits, both mentally and physically.
These benefits range from elevated mood to improved immune system and interpersonal connections.
Here’s a little about each of the 8 main benefits we have found in our review of the research. They may surprise you!
#1 Drumming Increases Mindfulness
Actively making music or drumming in a group brings a person’s attention to the present moment, allowing them to practice mindfulness in a creative way and giving them a break from worries about the past or future.
#2 Playing Rhythm Can Help You Relax
Drumming can induce deep relaxation, lowering stress hormones in the blood.
#3 Drumming improves your immune system
A neurologist and president of the Yamaha Music & Wellness Institute, Barry Bittman, MD, has shown that drumming actually increases natural T-cells, which aid the body in combating diseases.
#4 Group Drumming Improves Interpersonal Connection
Drumming in a group provides an opportunity to connect to other people in a shared creative experience. People who sing or move in rhythm together tend to work together more cooperatively afterwards
#5 Drumming Decreases Stress & Anxiety
Drumming can serve as a method of low-risk exercise while significantly decreasing stress and anxiety levels. Because drumming increases the heart rate it qualifies as a low-to-moderate intensity exercise.
#6 Drumming Activates the Brain
Drumming activates both hemispheres of the brain. It releases endorphins, enkaphalins, and Alpha waves in the brain, which are associated with feelings of well-being and happiness.
#7 Active Music Making Increases Pain Tolerance
People have a higher pain threshold immediately after singing, dancing, and drumming. A release of endorphins happens, akin to the “runner’s high.” It is the active performance of music is what generates the endorphins, not just listening to the music itself.
#8 Drumming Promotes Self Expression
Drumming is another form of self-expression, allowing for the expression of otherwise difficult to express negative emotions. The release and expression of these emotions in a safe environment allows for emotional catharsis.
So how can you bring drumming into your treatment facility? Find out how by requesting your free in-service today!
Bittman, B. B., Berk, L. S., Felten, D. L., Westengard, J., Simonton, O. C., Pappas, J., & Ninehouser, M. (2001). Composite effects of group drumming music therapy on modulation of neuroendocrine-immune parameters in normal subjects. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 7(1), 38-47.
Jacobs, T. (2012, November 19). Musical meds: New research on endorphins finds people have higher pain thresholds immediately after performing music or dancing. Retrieved October 15, 2018 from https://psmag.com/economics/drummers-high-evidence-that-playing-music-releases-endorphins-49578
Jacobs, T. (2010, July 14). Do-re-mi promotes a feeling of ‘we.’ Retrieved October 15, 2018 from https://psmag.com/social-justice/do-re-mi-promotes-a-feeling-of-we-19058
Northrup, C. (2016, March 21). 10 Health Reasons to Start Drumming. Retrieved from https://www.drnorthrup.com/health-benefits-drumming/
Smith, C., Viljoen, J. T., McGeachie, L. (2014). African drumming: A holistic approach to reducing stress and improving health? Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine, 15(6), 441-446. doi: 10.2459/JCM.0000000000000046