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Telephone: 0117 952 5273 or use the contact form here

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Rhythm for a Healthy life: using rhythm for health and wellbeing, relaxation and meditation

Rhythm for Life now offer the Remo HealthRHYTHMS® Group Empowerment Drumming protocol which is a structured and research-based drumming programme that has demonstrated significant and tangible health benefits from exercise, boosting the immune system, nurturing and social support, to intellectual stimulation, spirituality and stress reduction. The drum plays a unique and key role in enabling people to experience the health benefits of rhythm therapy and recreational music making and is suitable for all ages and levels of ability.

Evidence-based elements of HealthRHYTHMS Group Empowerment Drumming:

  • Stress-Reduction
    HealthRHYTHMS (Group Composite Drumming) strengthened the immune system by increasing Natural Killer (NK) cell activity. (Bittman, Alternative Therapies, 2001) This protocol also reversed multiple components of the human stress response on the genomic level, not just reducing but reversing 19 genetic switches that turn on the stress response believed responsible in the development of common diseases. (Bittman, Medical Science Monitor, 2005)
  • Exercise
    Drumming is an accessible exercise which burns calories and improves mood and may reduce the risk of disease. A Norwegian study of 25,000 women age 20-54 that performed leisure time exercises at least 4 hours/week experienced a 37% reduction in the risk of breast cancer. (Thune, Brenn, Lund, Gaard, 1997)
  • Self-Expression
    HealthRHYTHMS Empowers people to move beyond their perceived boundaries
  • Camaraderie/Support
    A 1992 Duke University Study linked lengthened lifespan with having a close confidant. HealthRHYTHMS protocol builds camaraderie and support by creating a safe space where people feel comfortable sharing and offering support
  • Nurturing
    HealthRHYTHMS protocol creates a level playing field where support of growth and development is encouraged. As equal partners in this process participants often discover inner strength and encouragement by those sharing the experience
  • Spirituality
    HealthRHYTHMS is a group hand-drumming protocol. According to Jan Gregory, Adjunct Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Spirituality at Hartford Seminary, "Hand drumming is an ancient art that has been used in many cultures. The music of drums creates a conduit to the Divine. This is an opportunity to experience worship with our bodies as well as our minds"
  • Music-Making
    Systematic inquiry into the relationship between music and brain function is one of the most rapidly developing fields of human research. "Music making offers extensive exercise for brain cells and their synapses (connections). It would be difficult to find another activity that engages so many of the brain's systems."(Weinberger, N., 1998)

Potential applications for this ground-breaking programme:

  • Support Groups
  • Health and Wellbeing Initiatives
  • Patient Groups
  • Senior Citizen Groups
  • At-Risk Adolescents
  • Stress Management & Morale

Simon Carver, founder of Rhythm for Life is a trained HealthRHYTHMS facilitator.

Download a HealthRHYTHMS brochure here, or use the contact form here to request a printed copy.

For further information and to talk to Simon about how this can be used for your particular community please telephone: 0117 952 5273 or use the contact form here.

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Health benefits of drumming - The healing power of the drum

We live in a vibrational universe where playing a drum can really help us to relax, de-stress and connect with ourselves and those around us.

As well as the numerous benefits of drumming that are associated with empowerment, communication, confidence, community and team building, the drum has an amazing ability to facilitate healing and therefore there are also many health benefits associated with playing a drum and participating in a rhythm-based event.

Rhythm-based events:

  • enhance psychological and spiritual well-being
  • enhance physical well-being
  • enhance social relationships
  • enhance sensory awareness and physical dexterity
  • improve self-esteem, self-confidence and personal development

The evidence:

There is an ever-increasing body of anecdotal and scientific evidence which points to the drum's ability to promote well-being.

The following brief descriptions (courtesy of the Remo website, where further information can be found) are from 9 years of research, 7 peer-reviewed published research studies, which have demonstrated biological and/or psycho-social benefits.

  • Impact on immune system study
    Strengthens the immune system (2001)

    A healthy immune system is the key component to preventing infectious diseases. We are all exposed to millions of germs every day, so our reliance on our own immune system to fight off most potential infections is indisputable.

    What do we mean it can strengthen the immune system? The study of 111 HealthRHYTHMS Group Empowerment Drumming participants showed a statistically significant increase in natural killer cell activity after a one-hour group session. Natural Killer cells (NK) are the white blood cells that seek out and destroy cancer and virally infected cells. Additionally, the protocol appears to reverse specific neuroendocrine and neuroimmune patterns of change associated with the classic stress response. Read the Abstract

  • Employee burnout & turnover study
    Improves mood, reduces burnout & turnover (2003)

    Working in the long-term care environment can be very stressful. Lower employee stress and turnover rates translate into better care for residents and cost savings for employers. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates there is an annual turnover rate of between 70 to 100 percent in nursing homes (Wilner 1999).

    In this 6-session (HealthRHYTHMS) study of 112 long-term care workers 46% demonstrated significant mood improvement. When follow-up testing was done 6 weeks after the end of the study, the improvement in mood had continued to grow increasing to 62%. Based upon what is already known from previous studies of factors that influence an employee's decision to quit, an independent team of economic-impact analysts projected these improvements would result in an 18.3% reduction in turnover. When follow-up was done with this facility the annual turnover experienced was actually reduced even more than these projections. Read the Abstract

  • Reducing student drop-out rate study
    Retains students: Mood improvement & burnout reduction (2004)

    In July 2007, a report released by the PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute found that though the average nurse turnover rate in hospitals was 8.4%, the average voluntary turnover for first-year nurses was 27.1%. (GIH, 2008) Drop-out rates for nursing schools are rising further compounding this problem.
    In this study the mood states of 75 first year associate degree nursing students were evaluated including: tension/anxiety, depression/dejection, anger/hostility, vigor/activity, fatigue/inertia and confusion/bewilderment. In spite of the fact that being required to participate in the study added additional time requirements to their schedule a 28.1% improvement in total mood disturbance was reported. Analysts project that these reductions in burnout and improvements in mood would likely reduce drop-out rates. This has the potential to positively impact the number of nurses completing nursing school and entering the nursing profession. Read the Abstract
  • Creativity & bonding in seniors study
    Inspires creativity & bonding in long-term care residents (2004)

    This study demonstrates the efficacy of recreational music-making as a means of inspiring creativity and helping long term care residents bond. Residents reported that RMM activities produced far more favourable effects, when compared with antidepressants or mood-stabilizing drugs.

    To test this hypothesis, two real-world laboratories were established at Wesbury United Methodist Retirement Community, Meadville, Pa., a facility with independent living, skilled nursing, assisted living, and memory support (skilled and assisted); and Fredericka Manor, Chula Vista, CA., a retirement campus with independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing, including 60 beds for persons with dementia.

    While ongoing RMM programs are currently offered at both facilities, the data collection period extended from 2002 through 2003. A total of 550 seniors participated in the study. All subjects (or family members when appropriate) signed informed consents, and the protocol was approved by the Institutional Review Board for Human Studies of Meadville Medical Center. The program was conducted by an interdisciplinary facilitation team that included a physician, two music therapists, a music teacher, musicians, and members of the facilities' activities staffs. The program included a Yamaha Clavinova Keyboard assisted drum circle which followed the HealthRHYTHMS Protocol.

    Resident Observations: After completion of the program, many residents noted the immediate benefits of creating connections with staff and other residents. Participation in just one RMM session often promoted identifiable and meaningful connections. The predominant conclusion was that there are no "strangers" at the end of an RMM session. Several residents remarked that their ability to more effectively deal with the loss of a loved one or friend was enhanced through RMM sessions. The acknowledgement of a person who had recently passed on served as an effective means for honouring an important relationship through empathetic group
    support. A number of participants commented that RMM positively influenced their overall perspectives and expectations for living in a long term care environment. In addition, residents reported that RMM activities produced far more favourable effects, when compared with antidepressants or mood-stabilizing drugs. Read the Abstract

  • Genomic impact study
    Reverses stress on the genomic level (2005)

    "Stress is really a component of every disease," says James Rosenbaum, MD.
    This groundbreaking study published in the February 2005 issue of the international research journal Medical Science Monitor shows for the first time that playing a musical instrument can reverse multiple components of the human stress response on the genomic level. We know from previous studies that HealthRHYTHMS Group Empowerment Drumming Protocol (RMM) reduces stress, burnout, improves mood states and boosts the immune system. This study looked at the effects of Recreational Music Making (RMM) at the genomic level and demonstrated not simply a reduction in stress but a reversal in 19 genetic switches that turn on the stress response believed responsible in the development of common diseases. This study also "extends our understanding of individualized human biological stress responses on an unprecedented level".(Bittman, B., 2005) Read the Abstract

  • Corporate employee wellnes benefits study
    Strengthens the immune system of corporate employees (2007)

    Growing evidence linking job stress to illness emphasizes the importance of finding an effective means of stress management. This study of Corporate Employees in Japan was conducted to assess whether or not this wellness strategy demonstrated a positive effect on stress biology in the corporate environment.Read the Abstract

  • Quality of life improvements in at-risk adolescents study
    Adolescent protocol is a catalyst for quality of life improvement (2009)

    Despite the devotion of significant resources to rehabilitate juvenile delinquents (youth who have committed offenses that would be considered criminal in adults)a limited number of effective, replicable, evidence-based treatment strategies exist, which are supported by peer-reviewed research. This new research published in Advances Journal demonstrates significant improvements in these youths through the use of the HealthRHYTHMS adolescent protocol. In fact this is the first strategy we are aware of which may actually hold hope for reducing what some refer to as "the columbine effect" which has driven so many adolescents to commit horrible violent acts. (Instrumental Anger). Read the Abstract

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Modern research can also show us exactly how our brain waves are affected by rhythm and drumming. The research has shown that the drumbeat alters brainwave patterns, increasing Alpha (a light meditative brainwave), and dramatically reducing stress. Through the rhythmic repetition of sounds, the body, brain and the nervous system are energised and transformed. When a group of people play a rhythm for an extended period of time, their brain waves become entrained to the rhythm and they have a shared brain wave state. The longer the drumming goes on, the more powerful the entrainment becomes.

Drumming is being used all over the world to help people with Alzheimer's disease; cancer; multiple sclerosis; paralysis; Parkinson's disease; many differing types of addiction; psychiatric rehabilitation and stress management.

So, is it just about healing?

We can all derive health benefits from drumming. It gets the heart beating faster thereby providing beneficial aerobic exercise. We relax, we stop worrying about tomorrow, or yesterday - we are in the here and now. We have some fun and smile and laugh. We can connect with a deeper part of ourselves which can help block out self-criticism, fear or doubt.

Conclusions:

  • Response to rhythm is basic to human functioning, making rhythm-based events appealing to people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Everyone can enjoy rhythm-based events regardless of ethnic and cultural background, musical preference or age, making these activities fun and positive for a wide variety of people.
  • Participation in group drumming activities has physical benefits including sustained physical activity, relaxation, and use of fine motor skills.
  • A strong sense of group identity and a feeling of belonging is created because participants are actively making music together and because the sustained repetition of the steady beat acts to bring people together physically, emotionally, and mentally (rhythmic entrainment).
  • Rhythm-based events can be undertaken with no previous musical background or training making these experiences accessible to everyone.

References:

For more information please click here to go to the excellent "Health Rhythms" section of the Remo drum company website which has numerous articles and research on the healing power of the drum.

I would especially like to thank Robert Lawrence Friedman for his truly inspiring book "The Healing Power of the Drum". This book presents in considerably more detail, much of the information above and I would recommend the book to anyone who wishes to discover the true extent to which the drum can help us all.

Other interesting articles (please click on the title):

Drumming up a happier workplace

Can our natural rhythm heal us

Therapeutic effects of drumming

The voice of the drum

Telephone: 0117 952 5273 or use the contact form here

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