Alchemical drumming includes the transformative work of the three arrows (black, white and red) in your life, through 'drumming', or playing percussion (djembé, rattles, bells, shaman's drum, ...)
The reintegration of rhythm as a structural base in your life, to take your life in your own hands and come to action.
Playing drums or djembé is a form of human expression such as talking, which probably existed long before people developed capacity to use their lips, tongue and vocal cords as communication.
The first sound we ever heard while resting in our mother's tummy was the beating of her heart and the rhythm of her breathing. Regardless of our race, gender, religion or belief system, this same experience exists for all human beings.
When beginners are introduced to drumming for the first time, they often say "I have no sense of rhythm," in an effort to exonerate themselves for their imagined inadequacy.
The truth is: we all have rhythm!
Rhythm is our natural heritage. It lives in our bodies, in our hearts, our breathing. It lives in the vibration of atoms, the cycle of the seasons, the ticking off the clock, the orbit of the earth. There is no piece of creation that is without rhythm!
Drumming is an act that exists worldwide and is integrated in every culture. It has been used for centuries in rituals, ceremonies, communication, rites, music, dance, celebration, healing, cultural events and strengthening unity.
A private or groupsession
Drum therapy can be given one on one or in small group. Every two weeks we offer an open session in Alchemistic drumming through the Djembé for all levels and from the age of 13. These sessions are followed by a Breathing Sounds session, a great combination workshop touching the whole body, mind and soul. The focus is not on the 'music lesson', but rather on the feeling in your system.
What is Drumtherapy?
Drum therapy is an age-old approach that uses rhythm to bring healing and self-expression. Drum therapy is a wonderful holistic healing technique that breaks down social barriers, promotes the feeling of freedom in expression, non-verbal communication, unifying, peace and ecstasy. From the shamans from Mongolia to the Minianka healers from West Africa, therapeutic techniques have been used for thousands of years in creating and maintaining physical, mental and spiritual health.
Background information and studies
Recent research shows that drumming speeds up physical healing, boosts the immune system and produces feelings of well-being, letting go of emotional trauma and reintegration of the 'self'.
Other studies demonstrate the calming, targeted (focus), effect of drumming in Alzheimer's patients, children with autism, emotionally confused teenagers, people recovering from addiction, trauma patients, and people who live in isolation. Studies demonstrate that drumming is an effective treatment for stress, fatigue, anxiety, hypertension, asthma, chronic pain, mental illness, migraine, cancer, MS, Parkinson, heart attack, paralysis, emotional disturbances and a range of mental disorders.
Reduces tension, anxiety and stress
Drumming causes deep relaxation, lowers blood pressure and reduces stress. According to current medical research, stress contributes to most diseases and is a primary cause of life-threatening diseases such as heart attack, and the failure of the immune system.
A recent study showed that a group drumming session helps to reduce stress among employees, so that long-term unemployment & long-term failure can be avoided.
Increase in white brain liquid & executive cognitive functions
A study published in 2014 in the journal of Huntington's Disease showed that during a two-month drum intervention with Huntington's patients (being considered an irreversible neurodegenerative disease), an improvement was noted in the executive function and change of the white brain fluid microstructure, more precisely in the nature of the Corpus Callosum that connects the prefrontal cortex with both hemispheres. The study thus explains that drumming can lead to cognitive improvement and reinforcement in the microstructure of the white brain substance.
Chronic pains & search for conflict
Chronic pains are a real strain on the quality of life. Researchers suggest that drumming can serve as a distraction for pain, drumming increases the production of endorphins and endogenous opiates, the body's own morphine-like painkillers, and this helps to control the pain.
This therefore contributes to alleviating the pain, but the underlying conflict must be resolved, preferably in another work (one on one), where we will work with you to determine the cause of all this and why you cannot / do not want to give yourself a life without pain.
Solving socio-emotional disorders
A beautiful study in 2001, published in the newspaper 'Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, said that children from low-income families who enrolled for a 12-week drum group session made great strides in the socio-emotional domain and a decrease in problematic behaviour, from fears to attention problems and post traumatic disorders.
By way of demonstration to show that everybody has rhythm, take a moment to look at the video and see how this 4-year-old boy feels the rhythm as part of his nature. Something that we often stop, reject and camouflage at a later age.
Drumming strengthens the immune system
A recent medical study states that drum circles strengthen and enhance the immune system. Led by renowned cancer expert Barry Bittman, MD, the study demonstrates that group drumming effectively reduces cancer cells, helping the body fight these cells as well as other viruses such as AIDS. According to Dr. Bittman, 'group drumming tunes our biology, it orchestrates our immune system and initiates healing.
Access to the entire brain
The reason why rhythm is such a powerful thing is that it permeates our entire brain. The sight, for example, lies in a certain part of our brain, speech in another, but drumming accesses the entire brain.
The sound of drumming generates dynamic neural connections in all parts of the brain, even in the parts where there is damage. According to Michale Thaut, director of Colorado State University's Centre for Biomedical Research in Music, 'rhythmic signals can help to retrain the brain, e.g. after an attack or other neurological impairments such as Parkinson's. The more connections are made in the brain, the more our experiences can be integrated.
Letting go of emotions
Drumming can be used to express emotions, whether you want to 'let go' alone or in psychotherapy. We can drum through lots of emotions such as joy, fear, grief and anger. Friedman says 'happiness is usually played as a series of fast, synchronous strokes (beats)'. Fear can be expressed as staccato strokes. Sadness often expresses itself slowly with heavy blows while; when you are angry it will become loud and energetic.
Friedman also talks about 'Alchemical drumming' to release unhealthy emotions, whether it is fear, frustration or guilt, in the drum. By simply striking the drum, negative emotions can be transformed into healthy ones.
There is nothing as good as drumming to get someone into a sense of personal power. It builds self-esteem.
Even insects know how to drum
Drumming can be found in many species of birds, rodents and insects. Of course we all know the characteristic features of the woodpecker, but did you know that the mouse often drums with its legs at specific locations in their hiding place, on one side to mark the territory and on the other hand to sound an alarm?
Did you know that termites use vibrational drumming to communicate with the group. For example, soldiers who are threatened by an attack, drum their head against the tunnel to pass on signals, they warn the workers and other soldiers. (see video)
Drumming as meditation - drumming brings you to unity
Drumming is usually done as entertainment. If we take it out of this context, and reduce its speed and volume, it can be used to silence mental babbling and to generate deep relaxation and concentration. One of the reasons why drumming can be considered as a form of meditation is that it raises our state of consciousness, it persuades us to be in the moment, keep attention, not be distracted by intrusive thoughts and be aware of what happens inside you.
Drumming and Brain Waves
When we play drums, there is a lot more going on than just grooving on the beat. Rayne Redmond, author of 'when the women were drummers', says that drumming synchronizes both brain halves. Through the rhythmic repetition of ritual sounds, the body, the brain and the nervous system are energized and transformed.
When a group of people drum together for an extended period of time, their brain waves are equalised with the rhythm, and they get equal brainwaves among each other. The longer the drumming continues, the stronger you will be influenced by the unison. It is truly the oldest form of 'bringing to unity' of all religious rites.
The right and left hemisphere of the brain usually work in different modes, in different wave cycles, with one hemisphere that dominates the other. Drumming generates a total brain functionality, also known as hemisphere synchronization, where both hemispheres work the same way and resonate in the same brain under the same brainwave cycles, mostly alpha or theta.
The rebirth studies by Melinda Maxfield showed that hitting a drum at 4.5 beats per second brings us into a trance-like state called theta, which is about 4 cycles per second. Many benefits can be derived from this: lucid thinking, integration of the unconscious and conscious thinking, transforming emotions, creativity ... Even when the brain is in theta state, sodium / potassium will be balanced, relieving from fatigue.
The shaman drum is a means of travelling. Through various tempos, as well as with rattles or bells, we can travel to the underworld to communicate with our subconscious, to the middle world to connect with self-consciousness or to the upper world to merge with the higher self.
The drum will get you into a trance, make you feel ecstasy and help you come into a broadened consciousness.
The beating of the drum is universal, and is understood by everyone, breaking through cultural barriers. It balances, heals and recharges us. Gershwin hit the nail on the head when he said: "I have rhythm, what more can I ask for now".