Clinical Studies Involving Therapeutic Drumming and MusicFire Ritual

Therapeutic drumming and music have been found to be an effective intervention for the treatment of depression.   many clinical studies have been done to support this therapy and the results have been remarkable. One such study was conducted by Dr. Barry Bittman in 2001 and involved  111 participants. Another interesting study was conducted by Sandra Harner PhD. Dr. Harner used a technique of drumming called “Shamanic Drumming” combined with a  meditation process referred to as “journeying”. This form of meditation was utilized by the great psychologist Carl Jung who referred to the process as ” Active Imagination”. The results of each of these studies show clearly that the body and mind, the emotion and psyche of a person is profoundly and positively affected by therapeutic drumming music. Here is an abstract from the study done by Dr. Bittman:


Drum circles have been part of healing rituals in many cultures throughout the world since antiquity. Although drum circles are gaining increased interest as a complementary therapeutic strategy in the traditional medical arena, limited scientific data documenting biological benefits associated with percussion activities exist.
To determine the role of group-drumming music therapy as a composite activity with potential for alteration of stress-related hormones and enhancement of specific immunologic measures associated with natural killer cell activity and cell-mediated immunity.
A single trial experimental intervention with control groups.
The Mind-Body Wellness Center, an outpatient medical facility in Meadville, Pa.
A total of 111 age- and sex-matched volunteer subjects (55 men and 56 women, with a mean age of 30.4 years) were recruited.
Six preliminary supervised groups were studied using various control and experimental paradigms designed to separate drumming components for the ultimate determination of a single experimental model, including 2 control groups (resting and listening) as well as 4 group-drumming experimental models (basic, impact, shamanic, and composite). The composite drumming group using a music therapy protocol was selected based on preliminary statistical analysis, which demonstrated immune modulation in a direction opposite to that expected with the classical stress response. The final experimental design included the original composite drumming group plus 50 additional age- and sex-matched volunteer subjects who were randomly assigned to participate in group drumming or control sessions.
Pre- and post-intervention measurements of plasma cortisol, plasma dehydroepiandrosterone, plasma dehydroepiandrosterone-to-cortisol ratio, natural killer cell activity, lymphokine-activated killer cell activity, plasma interleukin-2, plasma interferon-gamma, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, and the Beck Depression Inventory II.
Group drumming resulted in increased dehydroepiandrosterone-to-cortisol ratios, increased natural killer cell activity, and increased lymphokine-activated killer cell activity without alteration in plasma interleukin 2 or interferon-gamma, or in the Beck Anxiety Inventory and the Beck Depression Inventory II.
Drumming is a complex composite intervention with the potential to modulate specific neuroendocrine and neuroimmune parameters in a direction opposite to that expected with the classic stress response.

Picture of DrumsDr. Harner’s Results

In Dr. Harner’s study she concludes:

Results of this study suggest that although shamanic journeying accompanied by drumming appears to have a significant effect on affect, it does not have an effect on immune response as indicated by S-IgA levels. All the well-being factors increased in the Drumming/Journeying Condition compared to the Birdsongs Condition. Total, Physical, and Affective Well-Being increased in the Drumming/Journeying Condition compared to Baseline. Only Physical Well-Being was greater in the comparison of the Drumming/Journeying Condition to the Resting Condition. This suggests that Drumming/Journeying increases well-being across several dimensions. Lower anxiety was found in response to the Drumming/Journeying Condition than in response to Baseline, Resting, and Birdsongs conditions, supporting the hypothesis that shamanic drumming/journeying effectively reduces anxiety. All mood disturbance subscales (Anger, Confusion, Depression, Fatigue, Tension-Anxiety) except Vigor had lower levels after the Drumming/Journeying Condition than at Baseline. Tension-anxiety, anger, confusion and fatigue were lower for the Drumming/Journeying Condition than after the Birdsongs Condition, while vigor was significantly higher for the Drumming/Journeying Condition. Depression and confusion levels were lower after the Drumming/Journeying Condition than after the Resting Condition. The results of the present investigation revealed that, for the participants in this project, shamanic journeying accompanied by drumming was helpful, not harmful, over a range of psychological dimensions. While it appears unlikely to increase S-IgA concentration, the domain of immune response to shamanic journeying/drumming should not be closed off prematurely. Other studies have suggested a link of positive psychological factors to increased immune response. Shamanic journeying accompanied by drumming appears to be a robust means for effecting significant positive changes in some affective domains.

 Freedom From Depression

I have recently produced a  CD of therapeutic music specifically targeting the symptoms of depression. Those in my test group have found extremely positive results in consistent use of these music tracks when exhibiting symptoms of depression. this CD contains four music tracks approximately 15 minutes each. Each track is designed to assist in eradicating common symptoms of depression such as:

  • sadnesscd_freedom-from-depression_front copy
  •  low energy
  • overeating
  • erratic emotional shifts
  • substance abuse
  • feelings of uselessness
  • lack of motivation

Click here to listen to samples from this CD

 Begin Your Recovery

download therapeutic music tracks Here

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, everyone occasionally feels blue or sad. But these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes with daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you. Depression is a common but serious illness that affects 350 million people worldwide.

Many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment. Medications, psychotherapies, and other methods can effectively treat people with depression.

In my work over the past 20 years I have seen significant results in treating depression with therapeutic drumming and music. The tracks in this download are designed to help reduce the symptoms of depression. Used regularly, these music tracks can assist with other therapeutic models to enhance treatment for this condition.

Freedom From Depression is the desired outcome!