The Healing Power of the Drum: A Rhythm-Based Wellness Workshop

by Sonja Boodajee, MA, ATPQ

In a world where we are bombarded by technological beeps, blings and sounds, has perpetuated a disconnection to what is real and, to what connects us: OUR RHYTHM. Presenter Robert Lawrence Friedman  MA ,  presented  at the Royal Mental Health Care & Research in Ottawa on March 13th 2015, a full day theoretical and hands on workshop relating to the topic.

M.Friedman informed the 52 attendees from various areas of Eastern provinces with pertinent information and statistics relating to the efficacy and well-being that rhythm-based exercises provide. M.Friedman statement, “We are all drummers”, which allows for an inherent connection to happen, due to natural rhythms that occurs within us; he describes these activities as one of developing  ‘self-soothing’ exercises as a way to enhance our energy &  promote relaxation after each workshop. The community generating connection allows for this primal exercise accessible for all people of any cultures and abilities to engage.

Key element that was brought up is the notion of Awareness of the rhythms that surrounds us and is registered, that the drummer outputs. Once this is established, the notion of being grounded is established which enables for attuning with others. A sense of responsibility is created as being an important key rhythm, in a collective. The improvisational community score provide a witnessing for everyone in the group to work in harmony and support.

The power of using rhythm based exercises is irrefutable when being used with various groups which help promote self-acceptance and/or within a community.  Due to its “process” based approach, its physiological internalisation can provide healthier exteriorisation of sublimation. The process of the drumming and engaging in rhythm sessions, create the phenomenon of entrainment of the brain to help restore the “Sacred Self”. At a neurological level, entrainment offers the nervous system a super fertile atmosphere, triggering enormously positive transformations in your body and brain.  Just as higher levels of exercise force your body to strengthen and develop, the higher levels of neuro-stimulation provided through audio rhythms to the nervous system into optimal performance.

After lunch we all engaged in rhythm-based exercises that ended the week and day on a high note of relaxation.

Friedman, Robert Lawrence, (2011) The Healing Power of the Drum, Book Two: A Journey of Rhythm and Stories Paperback, Pathway Book Service.