As science and human attitudes evolve, researchers and practitioners are finding numerous benefits from the use of drumming and rhythm in a variety of treatments. We have listed a variety of related articles below; all of them add weight to our claim that “Rhythm is Life!”

Health & Immune function

A recent scientific study into group drumming has shown “Important scientific evidence documenting potential health benefits associated with a single group drumming session. Statistically significant increases in the activity of cellular immune components responsible for seeking out and destroying cancer cells and viruses were noted in normal subjects who drummed.”

Dr Barry Bittman MD. For details of this research study see:

Right Brain and Left Brain Coordination

In general the left and right hemispheres of our brain process information in different ways. The learning and thinking process is enhanced when both sides of the brain participate in a balanced manner. Most people, for a multitude of reasons, tend to process information using their dominant side (often to the detriment of their less developed side). The bi lateral nature of drumming makes it an excellent tool for strengthening the less dominant hemisphere of the brain.

For more information see:

Children's Learning Abilities

Widely published research indicates that playing musical instruments increases children’s learning abilities. This appears especially true of those instruments which can be played intuitively, like the drum. Qualitative studies have shown that drumming enhances right-brain functions such as intuition and creativity.

Music and rhythm are important because they help children:

  • Express their emotion, release energy and channel it in creative, productive directions.
  • Gain confidence in themselves as they realize they can use their minds and bodies together.
  • Learn new words and ideas.
  • Create their own songs, melodies and movements and learn about themselves and the relationships they have with others.
  • In the development of fine motor skills.
  • Learn to read and write sooner than children who have not had rhythm and music integrated into early childcare.

For more information see:


Michael Winkelman from The Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University, has concluded from a study using drumming circles with subjects suffering from substance abuse, that “drumming enhances recovery through inducing relaxation and enhancing theta-wave production and brain-wave synchronization. Drumming produces pleasurable experiences, enhanced awareness of preconscious dynamics, release of emotional trauma and reintegration of self.”

Drumming circles have applications as complementary addiction therapy.

For more information see: Study Abstract

Stress Release

According to the New York Times, medical studies have shown that the relaxation effects of drumming have helped improve the lives of those suffering form Alzheimer’s disease and autism. Other studies indicate that the brain requires rhythm for proper development. According to Barry Quinn, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist specializing in neurobiofeedback in Colorado Springs, biofeedback also indicates that brainwave activity may be altered by drumming, in turn reducing stress.


At the Royal Institution of Great Britain, London, Professor Michael Thaut demonstrated a specific rhythm protocol that helped stroke patients with severe uncoordinated walking abilities to gain immediate benefits in orientation and gait.”Through the use of rhythm, we can stimulate the improvement of neurological processing and cortical reorganization in the injured brain. This technique is proving to be more effective than conventional physiotherapy.”

Professor Thaut. For more information see:

Rhythm in Life

At the Royal Institution, scientists from the United Kingdom and North America presented the mounting evidence that music is not merely a cultural phenomenon. It is a biological fact of human life – as demonstrated by infants who are too young for even informal music training, yet distinguish consonance from dissonance, and recognize tunes even when their timing or pitch has been altered. Among the potential applications of this new understanding are therapies for brain injury, protocols to alleviate anxiety without medication, methodology to enhance children’s learning and development, and moreover, the presenters offered dramatic evidence of their progress in these areas.

For more information see:


Studies have shown that vibrations from rhythmic sounds have a profound effect on brain activity. In shamanic traditions, drums were used in periodic rhythm to transport the shaman into other realms of reality. The vibrations from this constant rhythm affected the brain in a very specific manner, allowing the shaman to achieve an altered state of mind and journey out of his or her body.

Brain pattern studies conducted by researcher Melinda Maxfield into the Shamanic State of Consciousness found that the steady rhythmic beat of the drum struck four and one half times per second was the key to transporting a shaman into the deepest part of his shamanic state of consciousness. It is no coincidence that 4.5 beats, or cycles per second corresponds to the trance-like state of theta brain-wave activity. In direct correlation, we see similar effects brought on by the constant and rhythmic drone of Tibetan Buddhist chants which transport the monks and even other listeners into realms of blissful meditation.

The Sounds Drums create

The type of sound is mostly a result of the shape and size of the drum body and the nature and tension of the drum head. Put simply, long or large-shaped drums have a low sound, small or short drums create a high sound. Loose skins have a low sound and tight skins a high sound.

Other important concepts to consider when understanding the sounds drums make, are vibration and resonance. Vibration is basically the movement of air; sound waves are created by rarefactions and compressions between air molecules. Resonance involves the enhancement of sound by forcing a contained body of air into vibration.

Drums vibrate in extremely complex ways and are capable of producing a wide spectrum of pitched and unpitched sounds depending on the relationship between the vibrating membrane, the resonating air space and the resulting harmonic content of the sound.

Striking different areas of the drumhead produces very different qualities of timbre. The implement used to strike the drum also makes a huge difference to the sound.

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