All sorts of new and fancy breakthroughs in science and healthcare are allowing us to be happier and healthier. These days tech has become a way of life and it’s easy to forget that before, people had to find other ways to cope stress.
One of the most successful activities is drumming, particularly interactive drumming, or group drumming which has become a wildly popular team building activity for companies worldwide.
When I found that drumming is found all throughout history, in different parts of the world and in widely differing cultures, I got to thinking.
If it’s found throughout history in almost every culture and is still alive today, what did our ancestors know that we don’t?
Today, science is finally catching up with, well, Neanderthals.
Dr. Barry Bittman, a neurologist from the good ol’ US of A, wanted to find out what effect team building drumming and music-making has on people. What he found is nothing less that incredible.
Team Building drumming has a positive effect on a company’s bottom line thanks to staff who complain less and work more, happier hours. This naturally results in fewer people getting kicked out on the company porch Tom and Jerry style, and fewer employees giving the boss the two fingered salute, mumbling something about dying in a house fire.
What’s really astounding to me is that drumming has shown indisputably clear benefits when used as therapy for various incurable diseases and mental disorders.
Here are some studied and documented facts regarding health benefits associated with drumming (I was surprised, yes indeed!):
1. Not as surprising as the rest, Team Building Drumming dissipates your stress
Blood samples from participants of an hour-long drumming session revealed a reversal of the hormonal stress response. Yes someone actually gave their hard earned blood to prove this.
2. Interactive Drumming Reduces Tension and Anxiety
Drumming lowers blood pressure, stress, tension and anxiety. These factors apparently contribute to almost all disease and is a primary cause of such life-threatening illnesses as heart attacks, strokes, and immune system breakdowns.
Team Building Drumming Reduces Employee Burn-Out
Research shows significant reductions in burn-out and improvements in the moods of long-term care workers. The study found that a regular team drumming session helped reduce stress and employee turnover in the long-term care industry.
Interactive Drumming Counters Depression
Stanford University School of Medicine conducted a study with thirty depressed senior folk and found that those who partook in a weekly music therapy group were less anxious, less distressed and felt better about themselves.
Drumming is a Natural Cancer Fighter (can you believe it?)
Those who participated in a clinical trial had more killer cell activity and their immune systems were far more effective. Now for Pete’s sake, Thelma, NO it’s NOT a cure for cancer. But those battling the disease might be interested to know.
Interactive Drumming Helps Alzheimer’s Patients
Studies show that Alzheimer’s patients who drum connect more effectively with loved ones.
Interactive Drumming ALSO Helps Parkinson’s Diseases Sufferers and Those Who Have Had a Stroke
The rhythmic nature of drumming and music helps to retrain the brain after a stroke. So says one Michael Thaut, (no I didn’t know about him either but apparently he’s director of Colorado State University’s Center of Biomedical Research in Music).
Studies have also found slow and steady beats gives Parkinson’s patients more stability when moving around. Good to know because I plan to be drumming for a long, looooong time!
Team Building Drumming Produces Deeper Self-Awareness by Inducing Synchronous Brain Activity
Hippies of the world have known about this for ages. Wacky tobaccy, interactive drumming, and bonfires in equal measure got them through the 60’s.
Research shows that, not just hearing, but playing the drum synchronises the two cerebral hemispheres. When the logical left and the intuitive right brains start playing with one another in a more harmonious fashion, the drummer’s ability to “intuitively know” is improved along with their logical reasoning and creative thinking.
That’s probably why, immediately after our Rock Star Drumming sessions, people report more participation and better moods in company conference sessions where a lot of brain fog can occur. And listen folks, if you’ve even bothered to read this far down, we both know when brain fog happens, you come up with STUPID ideas, and that’s bad news!
My good friend Barry Quinn, Ph.D. demonstrates that even a brief drumming session can double alpha brain wave activity which apparently dramatically reduces stress. (Barry isn’t really my friend)
Considering all this, it’s not surprising that some of the largest corporations world-wide have collectively spent millions on drumming as a form of team building and stress-reduction. In fact, Toyota has even built a dedicated interactive drumming room in their California office building (if memory serves).
All Toyota HASN’T done yet is invite us to do our Rock Star Drumming with them, because as they would discover, not all team building drumming experiences were created equal.