Arts and Humanities | Medicine and Health Sciences


Drumming is an activity with a long and rich history, rooted in many different cultures around the world. Traditionally, the art of drumming has been used for a wide variety of purposes including as a part of religious ceremonies, to promote psychological well-being, and to foster a sense of community. It has been used in a variety of cultural healing practices throughout the world since the beginning of ancient history (Newman et al., 2015).

Many cultures use drumming in healing ceremonies as a means for promoting an altered state of consciousness of the ill individual, the healer, and any others partaking in the ceremony, much like hypnosis does. These altered states of consciousness promote stress reduction which in turn helps boost immune function by promoting neuroimmunological activity. Additionally, the altered states encourage the individual to be more open to a new framework and new suggestions that could possibly help to resolve the illness or problem. Reframing the problem can provide the ill person with a sense of purpose and combat feelings of helplessness by giving them a new action they can take to fight the illness (Bloom, 2005). Some individuals have compared drumming to meditation due to the altered state of consciousness both activities can induce. Drumming has been found to affect the theta and alpha brainwave ranges by enacting a driving pattern which is very similar physiologically to the action produced by meditation (Newman et al., 2015). In this paper, I will explore the various uses of therapeutic drumming for as a means for promoting both physical and psychological well-being in a variety of populations.