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Improve Mental Health; Get With the Beat

By Paul Rothbart

We are surrounded by rhythms all day, every day. A ticking clock, a dripping faucet. Even our heartbeats and respiration are rhythmic. With all of this rhythm in the world, it makes sense that one of the earliest musical instruments was the drum. Drums are part of the instrumentation of pretty even kind of music in every culture. Without rhythm, there is no music. What you may not know is that drumming can be very therapeutic. The old time medicine man didn't beat that drum just for show. Playing in a group of drummers is an excellent form of therapy and great for overall mental health. Here are some of the ways it can be beneficial. 

It's Relaxing

That might seem strange given the noise, but research shows that participating in group drumming relieves stress and anxiety. A study found that after a one hour drum session, people showed a reversal in stress hormones. Lower stress means less chance of heart attack and stroke. Group drumming is great therapy for people with exceptionally stressful jobs. 

It Keeps You Present

Drumming involved maintaining a rhythmic flow, beat to beat, moment to moment. Participants focus on the present, tending to forget the pain of the past and the worries of the future. Research has shown that drumming can help distract people from grief and pain.

Boosts the Immune System

It may seem hard to believe, but drumming can increase health while warding off disease. Neurologist Barry Bittman of the Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute conducted a study which showed that group drumming increased T cells in participants. These cells help fight off AIDS, cancer, and viruses. 

It's a Great Way to Bond

Drumming in a group is a bonding experience. It connects people on a deep level, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It provides a sense of support for those struggling with addiction or mental health issues. For the individual, group drumming relieves alienation and loneliness and can result in a better sense of self.

It Releases Emotion

Repression of negative emotions is a builder of stress and very unhealthy. The physicality of drumming and the vibrations it produces provide an outlet to release those negative feelings. This is excellent therapy for trauma survivors and people with addictions. 

Life can be full of stress and anxiety. Maintaining good mental and emotional health can be challenging. But life is also full of rhythm and by contributing to those rhythms, a better state of mind, as well as improved physical and mental health can be achieved. Find a group and bang a drum. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractor in West Lake Hills, Tex.

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