Drumming Nourishes and Heals the Brain

in Port-au-Prince, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009.(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Drumming, as a musical expression and therapeutic tool, stimulates all parts of the brain to induce deeper states of the alpha and theta brain wave states associated with deep relaxation.

Dr. Barry Quinn, a licensed clinical psychologist, discovered that alpha brain wave patterns doubled in only thirty minutes in patients that were assessed as being “highly stressed,” after these patients experienced a drumming session. Cortisol (stress hormones that can negatively impact the body if they remain elevated frequently), and blood pressure decreased, while immunity (natural killer cells) increased in the patients that experienced drumming.

In addition, researchers have found that drumming can facilitate the brain shifting into the theta frequency range, a state that facilitates integrating experience through accessing abstract symbols and images, versus organizing experience through concrete language associations and labels. It is a state of very deep relaxation that some people describe as a twilight state, or near consciousness, often used to facilitate hypnosis. In this state, we are able to break through some of our emotional patterns that are reinforced by thought patterns of the conscious mind and ego, and begin to liberate ourselves from habits, actions and ways of being that may not serve us best and may be root factors in certain health challenges.

Also, in the article, “Using Percussion to Improve Attention-to-Tasks in Children with Autism,” authors and registered nurses Brenda Guiza and Barbara R. Demuth found that the sound of “drumming generates dynamic neuronal connections in all parts of the brain even where there is significant damage or impairment such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer Disease and Attention Deficit Disorder.” This suggests that drumming can help the brain to re-organize how experience is perceived and processed and may stimulate the brain to develop new nuanced neurological responses to experiences.

Thus, drum music impacts the physical body, brain and neurological systems profoundly to facilitate growth and healing across many layers of being and existence.

At El Tule Institute, we include the healing music of master drummer Eric Dannenbaum (click on his name to access his site) to accompany our qi gong movements and meditations during our donations-based classes because his subtle, yet powerful drum rhythms encourage participants to experience new states of relaxation and self awareness in a very accessible way as they move their bodies and breathe more deeply through the qi gong forms.

Take a moment to enjoy one of our original qi gong compositions by clicking on the arrow “play button” below.