The Beat Goes On … Prayer, Chants, and Music
Prayer is pervasive in Native-American healing as prayer can affect health. Native-American prayer concentrates the mind on healing, promotes health-enhancing emotions and feelings, and connects people to sacred healing forces. In contrast to more familiar whispered prayers, Native Americans robustly proclaim, chant, or sing prayers. Singing is often accompanied by drumming or rattles, which, by synchronizing group consciousness, greatly magnifies healing impact.
This Healing drum circle empowers their spirits and heals their hearts. They are transforming themselves in the deepest way: without speaking, through music and rhythm. They leave refreshed, re-inspired, and re-connected.
“Sound” is within the very definition of health. According to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, health is “being sound in mind and body.” Other expressions, such as being at a “higher vibration” and being “in tune” also indicate the role of music and sound in healing and wellness. The drum offers a vibrational tuning, mirroring what is inside our hearts, a rhythm that has been within us since our birth. Perhaps this is where the start of the expression marching to the beat of a different drum.
Drum circles are becoming more popular throughout the nation, providing benefits like music therapy and friendship. Therapists use drumming to help patients reduces stress-related hormones and enhance immune system responses. The word “recreation” comes from the Latin word recreatio which means “restoration of health.” Recreational drumming can happen in communities, businesses, schools, or among friends. If you’re looking for a great way to relieve stress, be creative, and improve health in general, find out where the closest drum circle meets.
And the process of group drumming is quite possibly the next big method of creative fitness for stress reduction. There is healing value in playing music, expressing oneself rhythmically, and connecting with others. In fact, in a controlled study of 111 normal subjects, just one hour of group drumming showed a significant increase in circulating white blood cells and two specific cytokines, markers of cellular immune function. Drumming successfully boosted the immune system.
According to a study published in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, drumming helps increase the number of subjects’ natural killer cells, which fight virus infections and boost the immune system.
Another study done on “burned-out” UCLA college students found that one week of group drumming dramatically reduced stress levels and improved mood states
For centuries, drumming has been valued as a tool of personal and community well-being. Shaman, healers in many cultures, rode the rhythms of their drums to the invisible worlds to bring back antidotes and totems for healing. Doctor and drummer were one and the same. Modern day shamans called music therapists continue to lead their patients on vision quests of musical expression to their own inner healing resources. Used in this way, drumming is not so much a cure as it is a preventative measure, a vehicle of life-enhancement, spirituality, and empowerment.
Making music is becoming an integral part of the wellness movement, not as entertainment, but as a tool for healing, self-expression, and connection. Today, drum circles can be found in community centers, music stores, churches, festivals, and local parks and spas.