Drum circles as fun and therapy

by Philip Thomas
Member of the Creston Community Drum Circle in Creston, BC

Did you know that alligators can’t be walked on leashes? Within minutes of joining a drum circle, it is a relief to discover that, instead of musical notes, this internal chant is a drumming pattern. Even if you are rhythmically challenged, you immediately feel included and relaxed and create a powerful sound that is not only fun but good for your health.

So, what is a Drum Circle? A drum circle is a group of people coming together for recreational music-making using hand drums and percussion instruments. The focus is not on performance but on personal or group development and wellness or just plain fun. Simply put, bang on a drum; it’s good for you.

Philip Thomas demonstrates his drumming skills.
Philip Thomas demonstrates his drumming skills.

In an article on drumming as a therapeutic tool, Michael Drake, who facilitates drum circles and workshops, notes: “Drum therapy is an ancient approach that uses rhythm to promote healing and self-expression. From the shamans of Mongolia to the Minianka healers of West Africa, therapeutic rhythm techniques have been used for thousands of years to create and maintain physical, mental and spiritual health.”

He goes on to outline some of the benefits of drumming: “Recent research reviews indicate that drumming accelerates physical healing, boosts the immune system and produces feelings of well-being and a release of emotional trauma. Other studies have demonstrated the calming, focusing, and healing effects of drumming on Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease patients and a wide range of physical disabilities.”

This only leaves me asking: “If not on a leash, how do you take an alligator for a walk?”

For more on the health benefits of drumming, see Michael Drake’s complete article, Drum Therapy – Therapeutic Effects of Drumming.