Drumming Proven to Help the Immune System and Reduce Stress
I live in the city and we have a neighbor who just gave his teenage son a DRUM SET for his birthday. Boy this kid, to the neighborhoods demise, has been practicing and practicing. Let me put it this way: He has not found his rhythm yet! Coincidentally, while waiting in my doctor's office for my yearly routine physical (more on this later), I came across a piece of literature with the above headline. I am going to share some points from it.
Drumming and the Immune System(1)
Barry Bittman is a MD, who's research has proven scientifically that drumming improves the body's immune system and reduces stress. Dr. B. took a group of 61 individuals and divided them randomly in six groups. Participant's blood was sampled both before and after the scheduled session. The six groups included:
1. Resting Control Group
(read books and magazines, did nothing else)
2. Listening Control Group
(listened to drumming, but did not drum themselves or me listening to my neighbor's kid "abusing" the drums)
3. Basic Drumming Group
(drumming half the time, instructions the other half)
4. Impact Drumming Group
(drumming 80% [eighty percent], instructions 20% [twenty percent])
5. Shamanic Drumming Group
(drummed according to shamanic tradition)
6. Composite Drumming Group
(was involved in various rhythmic activities and drumming with a music therapist leading the group)
When everything was said and done and the only participants exhibiting increase in T-cell (immune response) and a decrease in stress levels were the members of the Composite Drumming Group. Included in the Composite sessions was Guided Imagery (more on this in later posts), while the participants continued to play their drums. After Composite Drumming NK Cell (Natural Killer) and Lymphokine Cell activity increased, showing an increase in the body's immune function. This demonstrates that Drumming could has positive effects and does not only feel good. This leaves me still in the listening group, and no mention is made of immune system benefits for the listening group. The next time I hear the neighbor's kid beat the drums, I think I will invite myself for an hour or so of active "Stress Relief."
This brings us to the end of Music Therapy and to sum up the findings up to until now:
Research suggests that music can affect mood state, decrease pain, and increase cognitive function. To be effective music selection must match the intended outcome. Personal music selection might be based on current mood, which could reinforce a problem such as anxiety, fear, and depression, rather than provide relief. Music selection seems the most beneficial when initially entrained to current mood, but slowly moving the person from current mood state into a more "instrumental" (no pun intended) mood state, allowing for relaxation, producing endorphins, promoting alertness, and other intended outcomes.(2)
Mind Body Communication continues with Written Expression and effects on the Immune System. Stay Tuned.
1. Friedman R. Drumming Proven to Help the Immune System and Reduce Stress. Percussive Notes, Vol 42. No.4 August (2004):70
2. Freeman L. Complementary & Alternative Medicine: A Research based Approach. Mosby, St. Louis, Missouri. (2004):24