The Benefits of Drumming for Body, Mind, and Spirit

“I can’t drum … I’ve got no rhythm!”

We’ve heard it a million times.

But the truth is, if you’re alive, you’ve got rhythm!

From your constantly beating heart to the rhythm of your breath to the rhythm of brainwaves to the rhythm of your walking, just for starters—you can’t help being full of rhythm.

For many people, the challenge is that, somewhere along the way, we’ve been cut off from our outward expression of rhythm. The traditions of dance and drumming that once were part of everyday life in many cultures have faded away or were taken from people over time.

So, when my husband, Shaun Laframboise, and I teach people to drum, we aren’t actually teaching them anything new, as much as we are helping them to remember an innate ability that is our birthright.

For those who are ready to reclaim this birthright (or exercise it more!), there are huge benefits to drumming, a few of which include

  • Huge stress relief. We live in a culture of stress, so way too often we have stress hormones pulsing through our bodies. Drumming shifts the brain from releasing stress chemicals to releasing endorphins and other healing chemicals.
  • Supreme presence. Drumming creates a powerful state of presence, which takes you out of processing the past or worrying about the future (and out of your stress response) and brings you instead into a state of freedom within the present moment, where everything is possible.
  • Easy meditation. Drumming induces a meditative state in a way that is really fun and happens without effort. In more subtle forms of meditation, there can be a struggle to focus the busy mind. When you drum, it’s hard not to focus on the rhythm, because the vibration is powerful and all-encompassing.
  • Balance. Drumming brings your biorhythms into sync. From your heart to your brain, major organs and systems fall into a pattern of entrainment where rhythms are aligned. This helps your systems to function optimally, which means that you are functioning optimally.
  • Boosted immune system and more positive emotions. Research shows that drumming produces an elevated mood state, enhances immunity, and improves social resilience.
  • Joy, joy, joy. With the release of feel-good chemicals, increased energy, and physical and energetic balance, drumming leads to simply feeling really good and full of happiness.

You can reap many of the same benefits from yoga, which is why the two are such excellent complements. With drumming and yoga combined, the healing effects and positive benefits are exponential.

Find out about upcoming programs with Allison Gemmel Laframboise at Kripalu.

© Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. All rights reserved. To request permission to reprint, please email editor@kripalu.org.