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The many benefits of group drumming are centered on whole-person wellness.

Empowerment drumming is an evidence-based approach based on an emerging discipline called rhythmacology, the interdisciplinary study of rhythm, as researched by Dr. Barry Bittman of the Mind-Body Wellness Center in Meadville, Pa., and Christine Stevens, MT-BC, of HealthRhythms™. It begins with innate biological rhythms and extends to personal and group expression in the form of empowerment drumming.

Research has shown that regular participation in group drum circles, following the HealthRhythms™ protocol:

  • boosts natural killer cell activity (specialized white blood cells of our immune system that seek out and destroy cancer and virally-infected cells)

  • as an employee wellness strategy can produce significant improvements in mood and reductions in employee turnover

  • on the genomic level, literally reverses the DNA switches that turn on biological stress responses that can lead to the development of a host of diseases

Drumming and wellness pioneer Barry Bernstein, MT-BC, of HealthySounds, Rhythm For Life, and Unity With a Beat, has researched the positive effects of drumming for individuals facing the challenges of Alzheimer's and other dementia disorders.

Additional studies have shown benefits such as increasing social indicators and connection to the school community with at-risk youth.

"Group drumming from a HealthRhythms™ perspective is transcendent," says Dr. Bittman. "It empowers people to more effectively express themselves while enabling them to move beyond their perceived limitations and put back into their lives what is missing."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 90% of the doctor visits in the USA may be triggered by stress-related illness.

Watch Christine Stevens, co-founder of HealthRhythms, talk about the benefits of group drumming on this episode of PBS's Healing Quest.

Additionally, learn about how an in-school drumming-based therapy program improved the social and emotional behavior in disadvantaged students in this video and Time magazine story.

Roots To Rhythm Director Toni Kellar is a Trained HealthRhythms™ Facilitator, and offers programs to hospitals and support groups, social services, YMCAs, youth services, health departments, nursing homes, and other wellness outreach agencies.


Research by Rex Bacon, MT-BC

  • Release of negative energy / emotions

  • Increased sense of wellness

  • Increased sense of presence

  • Increased connection with others

  • Increased feeling of relaxation

  • Increased energy

  • Increased insight into self

  • Fun!


  • Creates a health promoting environment

  • Empowers people to see beyond their perceived boundaries

  • Brings to the surface what is difficult to express in words alone

  • Draws people together and raises awareness of interactions with others

  • Enhances communication and morale

  • Stimulates sensorimotor synchronization

Read what the Percussive Arts Society has to say about Recreational Drumming: Celebrating Health and Wellness.




HealthRhythms logo

About the HealthRhythms

Group Empowerment Drumming protocol:

"Every group drumming experience I've
 participated in with EcaP (Exceptional
 Cancer Patients) brings to the surface
 remarkably deep, heartfelt, healing
 emotions that are difficult to express
 with words alone."

-- Bernie S. Siegel, MD
author of Love, Medicine and
and Prescriptions For Living

"Many of our patients are socially
 isolated and the drumming sessions
 help them feel connected with each
 other. In a short period of time they
 develop a mutually supportive, caring,
 healing community. I would
 recommend the HealthRhythms

 protocol to health care providers
 working with patients in a variety of
 settings. One of the key challenges
 facing health care providers today is
to help create a truly health promoting
 environment. Group drumming
 sessions using the HealthRhythms

 protocol can help this process

-- Jeffrey Ritterman, MD
Kaiser Permanente



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