Why use drumming in a therapeutic sense?

Drumming could quite possibly be civilization’s first method of artistic expression1. Everyone is wired for rhythm, with no exceptions. The heart is our own personal metronome, and how many of us can say we’ve never tapped our feet, or clapped our hands to music? Even some animals have been shown to follow the cadence of a beat. Quite simply, drumming comes naturally, and is available, to all of us. And while playing other instruments may also have psychological benefits, not many of us can pick up a guitar and play it with any level of satisfaction the first time you start plucking away at the strings.

Benefits of group drumming for psychological issues such as PTSD.

Studies have shown that drumming in a group setting provides a wide range of psychological benefits. A Univerisity of Oxford study discovered that when a group of drummers play together, all participants benefited from increases in both their happiness and pain tolerance levels2. The study also concluded that drumming was essential for community-building and instilling behaviors required for the evolution of human society.

Another study authored by Dr. Barry B. Bittman revealed that drumming can help reverse 19 genetic responses to stress3.

A study published by Science Direct Journal, titled Drumming Through Trauma: Music Therapy With Post-Traumatic Soldiers3, concluded that

“a reduction in PTSD symptoms was observed following drumming, especially increased sense of openness, togetherness, belonging, sharing, closeness, connectedness and intimacy, as well as achieving a non-intimidating access to traumatic memories, facilitating an outlet for rage and regaining a sense of self-control.”

Drumming and Physical Benefits

Just as drumming has shown to help with psychological issues, it has also been shown to help with physical issues as well. Drumming has obvious benefits in physical rehabilitation, helping those who have suffered from injury rebuild muscle strength under some situations. Studies show that drumming also helps boost the body’s immune system3.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drum
  2. https://mic.com/articles/89363/science-shows-how-drummers-brains-are-actually-different-from-everybody-elses#.Vsnx0ZxQh
  3. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/21/drums-aren-t-just-for-music-they-re-therapy-too.html


Additional Reading:

Promoting well-being through group drumming with mental health service users and their carers

Making music for mental health: how group drumming mediates recovery