Skip to main content


I'd love to hear your thoughts and reflections on any of these posts.
Font size: +

Drumming for the Health of It!

IMG_0875 My well-used drum...

Have you ever gathered in a group and jammed to music or drummed together? When everyone syncs up and gets into a rhythm, so to speak, it’s as if the group and music takes on a life of its own. No structure or sheet music is followed and yet everyone seems to know where to go next with the music and rhythm-making. 

I remember sitting in The Barn in Topsham for a Soul Retrieval training with Dory Cote with other shamanic practitioners. The structure is gorgeous — post and beam construction, high ceilings and elegant blonde wood. Twenty or so open-hearted healers gathered to deepen into the work of retrieving part of the soul that had become inaccessible due to trauma or any number of life's difficulties. Dory called the group to order and we started drumming together to raise our vibration and honor the opening of the work we were going to engage with. 

For some reason, on that occasion more than other times when I’ve drummed with others in that space, I felt the waves of vibration in the depths of my being. It felt as though the room was full to the brim with the sound and vibrations of the drums that took on a life of its own. I felt enveloped, a fullness of energy surrounding me. It was both uplifting and profoundly tender and touching.

Drum circles are a wonderful way to gather, offering community, healing and connection to self, other and the Spirit world. 

I’ve drummed on my own and I’ve drummed in a group, and I much prefer drumming with others. 

Many different cultures have gathered for centuries and drummed together: the Celts with their Bodhrans, Native American’s with the large and sacred Pow-wow drums, Tablas in India, Djembes in West Africa and Congas in South America marking rites of passage, an integral part of ceremonies and rituals. 

Gathering with others on its own can offer healing. I bet you’ve experienced such a thing over the last few months….the ability to breathe deeply with others around, hug friends and neighbors or offer a comforting gesture. 

The Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute,  an organization that looks at how creative musical expression can enhance our lives, studied a group of people drumming and measured the impact of drumming on people’s bodies.  They found that the participant's T-cells levels increased, offering improved immune functioning against cancer as well as various viruses. 

Brain functioning is also improved with drumming, since it calls on both sides (or, hemispheres) of the brain. When I was collecting information about drumming and drum circles recently I found Dr. Christiane Northrup’s post about the health benefits of drumming. In the post she cites research showing that the physical transmission of rhythmic energy to the brain actually synchronizes the left and right hemispheres. 

She also talks about when the logical left hemisphere and the intuitive right hemisphere of your brain begins to pulsate together your inner guidance system — or intuition—becomes stronger. 

And!!! Drumming can also produce a natural high by increasing the calm, relaxing Alpha brain waves resulting in feelings of well-being and even euphoria. 

Who doesn’t need a boost of reducing stress hormones, increasing immunity and a sense of calm and wellbeing? Plus a boost of improved brain functioning and just the fun of gathering? Bring on the drums! 

I know from my years of studying and practicing shamanism that drumming can induce a trance state, which is why shamans and shamanic practitioners use drumming or rattling to shift into an altered state from which they connect with their spirit helpers, power animals and teachers. 

All of which brings me to my recent investigation into drumming and drum circles:  I’ll be hosting a drum circle onThursday, Aug. 19th from 6- 7 PM at Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth. 

No previous experience needed!  Only an interest in checking out what it’s like to drum in a group and see if you experience the many benefits that drumming has been found to offer. 

Send me an email if you’d like to participate. No charge, but people do need to register with me. 

Bring your drum, a rattle, a rainstick, anything that makes noise (including flutes, tin whistles, etc).  We’ll gather under an almost-full moon, sending healing intentions to the Earth and ourselves, and set an intention that healing be shared beyond our circle, to places and people who need it most. 

Happy summer, all! 











Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

Power Animals and You
Maine's Mystics....