Observations placeholder

Drumming as a therapy for drugs



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Am J Public Health 2003 Apr;93(4):647-51.  Complementary therapy for addiction: "drumming out drugs".  Winkelman M.  Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University, Tempe 85287-2402, USA. 

OBJECTIVES: This article examines drumming activities as complementary addiction treatments and discusses their reported effects.

METHODS: I observed drumming circles for substance abuse (as a participant), interviewed counselors and Internet mailing list participants, initiated a pilot program, and reviewed literature on the effects of drumming.

RESULTS: Research reviews indicate that drumming enhances recovery through inducing relaxation and enhancing theta-wave production and brain-wave synchronization. Drumming produces pleasurable experiences, enhanced awareness of preconscious dynamics, release of emotional trauma, and reintegration of self. Drumming alleviates self-centeredness, isolation, and alienation, creating a sense of connectedness with self and others. Drumming provides a secular approach to accessing a higher power and applying spiritual perspectives.

CONCLUSIONS:  Drumming circles have applications as complementary addiction therapy, particularly for repeated relapse and when other counseling modalities have failed.

PMID: 12660212

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Listening to beating sounds


Music therapy