Recently, percussionist Tracey Kroll visited The Saybrook at Haddam to host our first drum circle. His energizing program, “Drumming for Health,” allowed residents the chance to find their own inner rhythm by playing hand drums. It was a unique and fun evening (one we will definitely host again) – and got us to thinking a little more about the connection between music and health.
We know the act of drumming has been around since the dawn of man – and was used for communication, expression, gathering, celebrating, meditating and, yes, even therapy. Today, Dr. Christiane Northrup, women’s health expert, author and radio host, says drumming can provide many upsides for seniors. In “10 Health Reasons to Start Drumming,” Dr. Northrup says the benefits to drumming include boosting our immune systems, helping to control chronic pain, and simply making us feel happy:
Renowned neurologist and author Dr. Barry Bittman from the Institute of Innovative Healthcare has done extensive research on the effects of “recreational music making” (RMM) particularly among older age groups and those needing long-term care. One of his studies observed that after even just one RMM session “many residents noted the immediate benefits of creating connections with staff and other residents.” Some residents even remarked that “their ability to more effectively deal with the loss of a loved one or friend was enhanced through RMM.”
Dr. Bittman believes the connection between sounds and life contributes to overall health and wellness, which he discusses in his article “Deep Within: Drumming as a Healing Strategy.”
“Deep within the essence of who we are there’s a sound, a vibration, an emanation that expresses life from every cell,” Dr. Bittman explains. “It resonates in harmony with all living creatures– an inner voice ready to emerge as a vital heartbeat that inscribes a personal signature.”
So, when we all picked up hand drums last week (many of us for the first time), we were doing far more than making music together. And by participating in this happy event, we were able to build strong connections with ourselves and each other – and take a wonderful step towards better health.
Watch our activities calendar to see when the next drum circle takes place. And if you want to start playing even sooner, visit the Drum Circle World web site to find your very own local drum circle!
Private tours of The Saybrook at Haddam are available by contacting David Downey or by calling 860-345-3779. Please visit our Facebook page for information on upcoming musical and social events.