Can Drum Therapy Cure Mental Illness?


The use of drums in our lives is nothing new. Excavations of Mesopotamian sites have revealed that drums existed as early as 6,000 BC. Throughout the years, drums have been used for creating music, for rituals, and for ceremonies. Older cultures also used drumming for therapeutic purposes. While many individuals have claimed over the years that drumming is an excellent resource for mental health, the science to back this up hadn’t appeared until recently.

Drumming and Mental Health Research

Barry Bittman, a neurologist who helped develop a program called Health Rhythms, focusing on the use of recreational music for physical and mental health issues, has performed studies revealing drumming as having an unmistakeable affect on mental health. In one of the studies, Bittman found that drumming and other forms of recreational music can increase the amount of cancer-killing t-cells in the body while also reducing stress.

Drum therapy has also been regarded as an effective component in mental health treatment, especially when combined with traditional talk therapy. Psychologist Shari Gellar, from York University, uses group drumming and drum therapy in combination with emotion-focused therapy to help those she works with. She found that drumming allowed her patients to more easily process trauma and express difficult emotions.

Health Benefits of Drumming 

According studies published in Psychology Today, drumming is beneficial to both our mental health and physical health. Research has shown that drum therapy helps with eating disorders, autism, Alzheimer’s and is even beneficial for addiction recovery. When it comes to your daughter’s mental health, there are several advantages to using this type of music-based therapy as well.

Drumming Reduces Depression

study published in 2016, showed that drumming groups are able to significantly improve and reduce levels of depression and anxiety. Studies throughout the years back this up, showing us how drumming lowers stress hormones and blood pressure, while at the same time inducing a relaxed state that helps reduce tension and anxiety.

Drum Therapy Increases Self-Awareness

Troubled teens are often plagued with questions, like “Who am I?” “What is my purpose?” Drumming helps provide a path to these answers by activating both sides of the brain and coordination between both hemispheres. This can increase alpha waves in the brain that have a calming effect while also leading to improved consciousness. The result is greater creativity and insight.

Drumming Helps Her Connect

Group drumming is a powerful experience, and one that your daughter can share with others. It requires teens to work together and reach a common goal. At Greenbrier, your daughter will be led through drum therapy by other girls who have been drumming for a little while. Eventually, she’ll teach new girls who join the circle. This type of group activity promotes bonding, communication, and group involvement while reducing isolation.

Drumming is a Form of Self-Expression

There are times in your life when you just don’t have the words to articulate what’s going on inside. Maybe it’s not clear yet even to you. The trauma may be too much to process and the words just won’t come. If your daughter is struggling with trauma, like many other troubled teens, she may benefit from the way drumming lets her express herself non-verbally. Drumming can make it possible for her to be heard, even if she doesn’t know what to say yet. This can be a powerful tool for self-realization, and may make it easier for her to transition to traditional talk therapy.

Drumming is an ancient practice rich with mental health benefits for us today At Greenbrier, our mission is always to provide your daughter with the best tools to help her reach her highest and healthiest potential.

Leave a Comment