Percussion Music Therapy Brookings SD
Hot Springs, SD
American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA)
American Holistic Health Association (AHHA)
Drumming Up Wellness
On a recent morning at Beth Abraham Hospital in the Bronx, New York, 18 adult day care
By Allan Richter
Corinthia Bolden, 64, stiff on her right side from a stroke, tapped and palmed an African floor drum just to the left of her wheelchair. In sync with the others and her own cadence, Bolden rocked to and fro, bobbed her head and raised her left shoulder on back beats. “The touching seems to be important to her,” therapist Ariel Weissberger, MTBC, said later. “Touching the drum in different ways helps her ground herself, and at the same time she gets into a very kinesthetic movement.”
Call it a Berlitz lesson with rhythm instead of words. With gaps in their ages spanning decades, these patients—some who speak only Spanish, some unable to speak at all because of their illness—held a conversation with drums. And with science backing the idea that rhythm helps heal, more Western health care facilities are embracing drum circles as therapy sessions. It’s a natural step, proponents say, because we are attuned to rhythms that precede even our own in utero heartbeats.
An Ancient Tune
Sound and rhythm have been a part of the universe for eons. The Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, England found ripples spaced 30,000 light-years apart that emanated from an enormous black hole at the center of the Perseus Cluster of galaxies more than 250 million light-years from Earth. With those details, the scientists calculated the frequency of the sound waves and the pitch—a B flat 57 octaves below middle C on a piano—that have been resonating from the black hole for 2.5 billion years.
“We are multi-dimensional rhythm machines and we’re embedded in a universe of rhythm,” Mickey Hart, the Grateful Dead drummer and musicologist, tells Energy Times.
Hart has testified before the US Senate on the benefits of drumming, particularly for the aged. Drum circles, he asserts, lift feelings of loneliness and alienation, boost self-esteem, focus the mind, reduce stress, and provide empowerment and exercise. And all participants share equal billing because a drum circle, as Hart puts it, has neither head nor tail.
“Here is one place you can be exactly who you want to be and you’re a success as long as you’re in a group,” Hart says. “All you have to do is listen to the person next to you and go with the rhythm.
There’s a very spiritual content; you’re bordering on the secular and the sacred here. Then there’s the transformative power of rhythm, where it elevates your consciousness and it takes you into like a group ...