Playing Drums cures Depression! New study reveals proof!


I spent most of my morning doing research on coping with depression with playing drums and being involved in drum circles and I have to say that I am a little thrown back. 

After studying tons of articles on drum circles and researching the question ” is it possible that playing drums cures depression? “. This is where my little depression drum off ended up.

I typically wake up at about 5AM every morning, I walk my dog, make some cold brew (mine’s the strongest) and run through my list of my favorite entrepreneurial podcasts. This morning I caught an episode of EO Fire featuring a gentleman named Neil Pasricha. He talked heavily about depression and happiness and a point he spoke on specifically was ” Remember the Lottery ” In short, this just means taking a look at your current situations and comparing them to winning a lottery. To break it down further, if you have the luxury of an internet connection and running water you are basically a part of a small world population of maybe 15% of people in the world. If you happen to have a job on top this the statistic drops even lower putting you in somewhere to under 10% of the population. This was absolutely mind blowing to me and during my morning dog walk I had an epiphany as I started really looking at my life and comparing to what my situation might be had I not just been BORN into my circumstance. I will even be the first to admit that compared to the average American household I really had a lot of disadvantages and hurdles I had to overcome in life but it could still be ten times if not one hundred times worse.

So what are you talking about Rich ? When are you going to start talking drums? It was important that I build up the back story to really prepare you for this one as my focal point is really just talking natural remedies for depression.

Wikipedia classifies Drum circles (or group drumming) as this : “Typically, people gather to drum in drum “circles” with others from the surrounding community. The drum circle offers equality because there is no head or tail. It includes people of all ages. The main objective is to share rhythm and get in tune with each other and themselves. To form a group consciousness. To entrain and resonate. By entrainment, I mean that a new voice, a collective voice, emerges from the group as they drum together.”

The beauty in this to me is based on the formation of a group consciousness. I think more than ever that we are disconnected from our country or community and our lapse of rhythm has really hindered our ability to decide on what’s good for the entire population. We are so focused on our own wants and needs that a lot of people have lost track of what matters in this life. Let me cut the preaching down a little and get back on focus here…

How could anyone here feel any form of depression ? Now that you have had enough with these youtube drum circle rhythms. Here is an excerpt from an article on :

“Today, growing numbers of mental health organizations are developing community music-making interventions for those seeking natural healing, and while up until this point there had been no real evidence of the effectiveness, in a study released March 14, 2016, researchers in the UK recruited 30 participants who were diagnosed by mental health services and (who had not yet received any kind of anti-depressant medication), in a 10 week program to study its adverse effects.

The participants were separated into two groups, one being a control group which was informed that they would be participating in a music and mental health study, but were
not given access to the drums and instead were enrolled in social activities (quiz nights, book clubs and women’s institute meetings). While the treatment group received weekly 90 minute sessions of hands-on authentic drumming with a traditional African djembe drum.

The results of the study were sensational and reported as below:

Significant improvements were found in the drumming group but not the control group: by week 6 there were decreases in depression (-2.14 SE 0.50 CI -3.16 to -1.11) and increases in social resilience (7.69 SE 2.00 CI 3.60 to 11.78), and by week 10 these had further improved (depression: -3.41 SE 0.62 CI -4.68 to -2.15; social resilience: 10.59 SE 1.78 CI 6.94 to 14.24) alongside significant improvements in anxiety (-2.21 SE 0.50 CI -3.24 to -1.19) and mental wellbeing (6.14 SE 0.92 CI 4.25 to 8.04). All significant changes were maintained at 3 months follow-up. Furthermore, it is now recognized that many mental health conditions are characterized by underlying inflammatory immune responses. Consequently, participants in the drumming group also provided saliva samples to test for cortisol and the cytokines interleukin (IL) 4, IL6, IL17, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), and monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP) 1. Across the 10 weeks, there was a shift away from a pro-inflammatory towards an anti-inflammatory immune profile. Consequently, this study demonstrates the psychological benefits of group drumming and also suggests underlying biological effects, supporting its therapeutic potential for mental health.”

To summarize, by week 6 participants in the treatment group experienced a significant decrease in depression and increased social resilience with further improvement in mental health and well-being by week 10. Improvements continued and were maintained upon a 3-month follow-up. The drumming group also reported a major shift from pro-inflammatory to an anti-inflammatory immune profile.”

So in short, playing your drums can change your biological profile in a manner that actually promotes psychological benefits. So maybe those practice sessions can be looking at as drum therapy activities or drum therapy training! 

So, what you’re really saying is this.


drum circles, depression, playing drums cures depression

So maybe you should consider your lottery ticket next time you’re feeling low and If you have a drumkit nearby I would advise a little jam sesh every time the going gets tough. I really embrace any chance I get to play drums and view it as my biggest escape. Without I would honestly go crazy and lose my grip on the world. Just kidding. Kind of.

– Richard

P.S. Heres a link to a few easy hand drum beats in case you aren’t sure what to play!

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