In Health/ Shamanism

Drumming Medicine

female drummer

“Drumming opens portals to the spirit world, draws spirit in, and opens you up to receive it.” ― Michael Drake

Drumming is one of the oldest forms of vibrational healing on this planet, and drums and rattles have been used in shamanism for thousands of years. The beat of the drum can be used to enter into altered states of consciousness for journeying, healing, and ceremony.

The drum is one of the primary tools in shamanic work, and a shaman may use the drum to summon spirit allies and make contact with the spirit world. Tuvan shamans believe that the spirits of nature create their own sound world, and it is possible for humans to communicate with them through the sound of the drum.

Tuvan Shaman performs a waterfall ritual with drum. Image: David Baxendale / Lonely Planet

Drumming connects us with the natural pulse of life, our heartbeat, and the pulse of mother earth. Everything in existence has a rhythm. By drumming we entrain our bodies to the greater rhythm of life. Humans have an ancient and primal connection to the beat of the drum that is deeply transformative.

Studies have shown that the physical act of drumming induces deep relaxation, lowers blood pressure, and reduces stress. Drumming tunes the brain into alpha brain wave state, which in turn reduces stress levels, and allows for healing to occur. Alpha brain wave activity is associated with meditation, shamanic trance, and integrative states of consciousness.

When you drum you are connecting both hemispheres of your brain – like creating a bridge between your thinking side and feeling side – which naturally induces greater awareness, learning, and healing. By synchronizing the two hemispheres you are able to access a much wider spectrum of your brain capacity.

Some of the many benefits of drumming include:

  • Helps you connect more deeply with your own body
  • Reduces stress
  • Helps with depression
  • Induces synchronous brain activity (creating connection between hemispheres)
  • Helps heal trauma and release emotional blockages
  • Reduces tension and anxiety
  • Boosts the immune system

Drumming is a powerful tool for releasing emotional blockages. This is true for all sound therapy, but drumming seems to be particularly well suited for this purpose. Next time a feeling arises that you are unable to express in conventional ways, try drumming it out instead. Tune into the feeling and give it a beat. The rhythm may develop into your personal medicine song.

This article was written for Shamans Market February 22, 2016. Image by Michael Amici.

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