5-Minute Health Tip: Bang on a Drum

Got 5 minutes to spare? Bust out a hand drum or a bongo drum and bang away! Drumming is for everyone—you can literally beat to the rhythm of your own drum—and it’s a fun way to connect to our primordial rhythms, release any pent up stress, activate your creative juices, relax, and even boost immunity! Studies indicate that drumming may also be of benefit to people suffering from cognitive impairment, physical injuries, arthritis, and addictions.

Benefits of Drumming Drumming

Dr. Barry Bittman, CEO of the Yamaha and Wellness Institute in Pennsylvania, conducted research that showed how a group drumming session can amplify the activity of Natural Killer Cells, which are white blood cells that destroy cancer cells and other diseased cells. Bittman’s research also demonstrates that drumming may help lower blood pressure and reduce stress. Drumming is a physical activity that, through sheer physical stimulation, helps to release blocked emotions. Music therapy experts believe that sound vibrations carry through every cell in the body, and we can essentially drum away these cellular stress and memories.

Neurologist Oliver Sacks writes in his book Musicophilia: “While music can affect all of us – calm us, animate us, comfort us, thrill us, or serve to organize and synchronize us at work or play – it may be especially powerful and have great therapeutic potential for patients with a variety of neurological conditions.”

Drumming also helps activate self-awareness and creativity because it synchronizes brain waves across both the right and left hemispheres of the brain. We can dip deeper into our consciousness, accessing our intuition and jumpstarting our creativity. So, if you have writer’s block or are stuck on a problem, drum your way through the obstacle.

When we drum, alpha waves in the brain increase, thereby promoting a calmer mind and more meditative state that can help with concentration and learning. Stanford University researchers found that middle-school students with attention deficit disorder benefitted from 20 minutes of rhythmic drumming to the tune of improved IQ scores and better focus and concentration. Howard Russell, a clinical psychologist involved in the study, said, “For most of us, the brain is locked into a particular level of functioning. If we ultimately speed up or slow down the brainwave activity, then it becomes much easier for the brain to shift its speed as needed.”

Drumming also releases endorphins in the brain, which help you feel happier and can even help distract against chronic pain.

Drumming is an inexpensive hobby, and an easy way to start making more music in your life. Invest in a cost-effective hand drum or bongo drum to start…or just bang on your favorite pot!