Sound Healing Toolkit: Easing Anxiety Through DrummingJul 09, 2021
Anxiety & Its Effect On The Body
In last month's blog, Self Care For Anxiety we looked at how sound healing can help with the symptoms of anxiety. We discovered that anxiety is an emotional response that persists after a stressor has dissipated or, can present as a sense of overwhelm about future perceived stressors that may not happen. We also looked at how sound healing instruments, specifically tuning forks can help the brain entrain into a state of deep relaxation and out of a fight or flight state.
This month we look at the powerful drum and how it can also reduce symptoms of anxiety in the body. Drumming helps to focus the mind and through active listening it brings us into present awareness, allowing your body to heal and recover.
How Can Drumming Help Ease Symptoms Of Anxiety?
The potential of music within mental health has been recognised for a long time. When we drum, our bodies release neurochemicals such as dopamine and serotonin creating that feel good factor in our body.
More recently the Royal College of Music in London focused on studying the effect of drumming on anxiety and depression. The Centre for Performance Science, experimented with more than 50 volunteers, who were suffering depression or anxiety, in a 10-week trial during which they played the drums in groups of up to 20 for one hour a week.
Amongst their other findings they discovered that group drumming can reduce the symptoms of anxiety by 20% and that it can make a real difference in people’s lives. 1
Sound Healing Academy teacher Annie Ridgway works with Hand-held Frame Drums (Shamanic drums) for self-care plus therapeutic 1-2-1 sessions and in groups with family and friends.
In her workshops she has found the Shamanic rhythm of 180 beats per minute incredible for anxiety. "many people go into a trance like state and any stress that is hidden in the subconscious can rise to the surface in the form of release (seen in twitches in the body and also emotional release e.g tears.)... the effect is such that the release calms the anxiety."
Using this rhythm is very powerful tool for brain health because by the very nature of its constant rhythm, it permeates the entire brain, bringing both hemispheres into rhythmic balance.
How Can We Create A Healing Response If Playing On Our Own At Home?
First and foremost enjoy your journey with your drum. Play using your intuition and connect with the sound, vibration and rhythm that is beyond the physical.
Let go of any stress or tension in the body or energy centres and slowly start to play the drum as you feel the sounds, vibrations and rhythms that the drum wishes to bring forth.
Slow solo rhythmic playing of your drum, can also access deep states of healing and calm.
We asked Sound Healing Academy teacher Morag Wylie, for some simple steps to help us create this calm within and reduce symptoms of anxiety.
She tells us that an excellent way to calm your body is to drum a simple heartbeat rhythm of around 70 beats per minute.
"Start where you are (take your pulse) beating a steady rhythm then gradually slow it down to 70 beats per minute or even 60 beats per minute. Use a soft beater and a gentle, steady beat. You’ll find your heartbeat and mental chatter will calm as your brainwaves also slow down, easing anxiety in the body"
So pick up your drum and connect with yours and your heart today.
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1. Reference: "Effects of Group Drumming Interventions on Anxiety, Depression, Social Resilience and Inflammatory Immune Response among Mental Health Service Users" Daisy Fancourt et al; PLOS ONE, March 2016
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