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D
rumming for Wellness
 
The Healing Power of the Drum - Part I

© Robert Lawrence Friedman

The following excerpts are from "The Healing Power of the Drum", by Robert Lawrence Friedman, published by White Cliffs Media, Inc., October 2000.

In The Healing Power of the Drum, psychotherapist and drum facilitator Robert Lawrence Friedman weaves an tapestry of personal experience, fascinating anecdotes and compelling research, demonstrating the hand drum's capacity to provide significant health benefits for everyone. This breakthrough book examines the use of hand drums in treating at-risk adolescents, stressed-out employees, Vietnam veterans, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and more.

Following are excerpts from my book:

The hand drum has been used for thousands of years in celebrations, rituals and ceremonies. However, the merging of science with the healing qualities of the hand drum is a relatively new development.

Psychological and Physiological Applications
Some of the psychological applications in which hand drums are being used include assisting veterans to release the emotional pain of post-traumatic stress disorder, releasing the pent-up anger and negative emotions of "at-risk" adolescents, and promoting health in corporate executives through releasing their day-to-day stress, in addition to many other applications.

In the medical field, the hand drum is being used to help Alzheimer's patients improve their short-term memory and increase social interaction and to help autistic children increase their attention spans. In some cases, it is not necessarily the hand drum that provides positive changes in an individual, but a rhythmic device such as a metronome or an audiotape which plays specific rhythms. Such tools are being used to aid Parkinson's patients and stroke victims to regain the control of movement or increase their gaits.

As a drum facilitator and psychotherapist, I have personally witnessed the power of the drum to relax the tense, energize the tired, and heal the emotionally wounded. I have also observed the hand drum's extraordinary and consistent ability to create states of euphoria, induce light trance, promote play, release anger and promote feelings of community and unity.

My hope is that through examining the breadth of work that is available we can realize that the application of rhythm and its ability to heal the body, mind and soul is boundless. Yet much more research is necessary to confirm what many have experienced and studied already-that rhythm in relationship to the body and mind has many benefits-an idea that our society is just beginning to grasp.

In this century, when we seem to be moving farther and farther away from ourselves and our deeper needs, the drum, through its simplicity, effortlessness and naturalism, offers us a link back to that which we knew before technology separated us from our soul.

Through providing a channel back to our deeper nature, the drum concurrently provides those who use it with a link to others. The drum seems to have the capacity to unite all individuals who choose to experience it together. Despite race, religion, color, creed, background, or ideology, all are joined together through this ancient instrument's calling. The drum, therefore, becomes a vehicle for transporting all who utilize it, across all boundaries, to an experience of wholeness and community.

Alzheimer's Disease
As our life spans becomes longer and longer, mental problems such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia become more common. Many people with these diseases eventually require institutional care. Nursing homes are required to provide activities for residents which enhance the quality of their lives. Playing drums has been found to be the ideal activity for people with diminished physical and mental capacities.

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