The Effect of Drumming and Shamanism on Health

Drum therapy is an ancient approach that uses rhythm to promote healing and self-expression. From the shamans of Mongolia to the Minianka healers of West Africa, therapeutic rhythm techniques have been used for thousands of years to create and maintain physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Current research is now verifying the therapeutic effects of ancient rhythm techniques. Recent research reviews indicate that drumming accelerates physical healing, boosts the immune system and produces feelings of well-being, a release of emotional trauma, and reintegration of self.

The gentle pulsating rhythms (binaural beat) of our brain synchronization tapes act in a similar fashion, yet because the frequencies are computer generated, they are precise, consistent and can be targeted to induce highly specific and desired brain states. Much like tuning a radio to get a particular station, our brain synchronization tapes can induce a variety of brain states. Effecting Alertness, Concentration, Focus & Cognition Relaxation, Visualization, & Creativity Intuition, Memory, Meditation Vivid Visual Imagery Deep Sleep, Detached Awareness

There are frequencies/rhythms which when dominant in the brain correlate with a specific state of mind. There are generally 4 groupings of brain waves:

  1. Beta waves range between 13-40 HZ. The beta state is associated with peak concentration, heightened alertness, and visual acuity. Nobel Prize Winner, Sir Francis Crick, and other scientists believe that the 40HZ beta frequency used on many Brain Sync tapes may be key to the act of cognition.
  2. Alpha waves range between 7-12 HZ. This is a place of deep relaxation, but not quite meditation. In Alpha, we begin to access the wealth of creativity that lies just below our conscious awareness – it is the gateway, the entry point that leads into deeper states of consciousness. Alpha is also the home of the window frequency known as the Schumann Resonance, which is the resonant frequency of the earth’s electromagnetic field.
  3. Theta waves range between 4-7 HZ. Theta is one of the more elusive and extraordinary realms we can explore. It is also known as the twilight state which we normally only experience fleetingly as we rise up out of the depths of delta upon waking or drifting off to sleep. In theta, we are in a waking dream, vivid imagery flashes before the mind’s eye and we are receptive to information beyond our normal conscious awareness. During the Theta state, many find they are capable of comprehending advanced concepts and relationships that become incomprehensible when returning to Alpha or Beta states. Theta has also been identified as the gateway to learning and memory. Theta meditation increases creativity, enhances learning, reduces stress and awakens intuition and other extrasensory perception skills. When the brain is in Theta it appears to balance sodium/potassium ratios which are responsible for the transport of chemicals through brain cell membranes. This appears to play a role in rejuvenating the fatigued brain.
  4. Delta waves range between 0-4 HZ. Delta is associated with deep sleep. In addition, certain frequencies in the delta range trigger the release of Growth Hormone beneficial for healing and regeneration. This is why sleep, deep restorative sleep is so essential to the healing process.

Drumming produces deeper self-awareness by inducing synchronous brain activity

Research has demonstrated that the physical transmission of rhythmic energy to the brain synchronizes the two cerebral hemispheres. When the logical left hemisphere and the intuitive right hemisphere begin to pulsate in harmony, the inner guidance of intuitive knowing can then flow unimpeded into conscious awareness. The ability to access unconscious information through symbols and imagery facilitates psychological integration and a reintegration of self.

Drumming also synchronizes the frontal and lower areas of the brain, integrating non-verbal information from lower brain structures into the frontal cortex, producing according to Winkelman: “feelings of insight, understanding, integration, certainty, conviction, and truth, which surpass ordinary understandings and tend to persist long after the experience, often providing foundational insights for religious and cultural traditions.”


An Intuitive Health Tool: The Tarot

When I began reading the Tarot Decks back in 1993, I used the traditional readings. Later on, I studied Carl Jung and his analysis of using Tarot for the study of emotional and mental problems. The many students in my area were using the Major Arcana of Tarot Cards to do the analysis. After many years, I have finally discovered a mannerism to use the entire Tarot Deck for the ‘Healing Intuitive Reading’. In this reading, we examine five planes of health in a being. The heart and blood, the liver, pancreas, adrenals and kidneys, thymus, immune system and finally, the brain, are examined.


All areas in the reading are similar from the Minor Arcana and Major Arcana or trump cards. The numbered cards from Ace through Ten all have the same definition. Aces reflect the beginning of something new. This is not necessarily an illness but perhaps a dietary change or a lifestyle change. In any case, it discovers something new. Two through Ten merely defines the degree of intention within the situation, with Two being very mild and Ten reflecting a more serious problem. The court cards were the King and Queen reflects parents and genetic transfers or emotional and mental problems, are all the same. The Prince and Princess or whatever your deck depicts in the court cards are friends and co-workers who create challenges with emotional and mental blocks.

The Major Arcana are very different in that each card in each field has a different intention. The Major Arcana has within it cards that depict every planet in our solar system, including the Sun and Moon. It also has all twelve zodiac signs from the 0 of the Fool to 21 ‘The Universe’, which is the planet Saturn. Tarot is nothing more than the feminine interpretation of astrology and healing is a feminine activity. The Major Arcana will show up if something is going on. If none of these cards appear in any plane, the individual is relatively healthy but may have a pre-existing condition or a chronic condition under control. Most likely, the Major Arcana will appear somewhere and impact the reading.


Using the tarot as a diagnostic tool for healing is a very effective way to analyze the five planes of existence. We create a spread of cards that has five planes of three cards each. To begin this reading, start in the middle of the reading area and place three cards face down diagonally left to right so that the bottom right corner touches the upper right corner of the card below it. Then we move to the lower right of this center spread and place one card face down. We move to the upper right just beyond the center spread and place one card face down. Repeat this in the upper left area and the lower left area and then continue placing one card into each plane until all four areas have three cards each.

We turn the center area over first. This will represent the activity of the heart in the person. All Tarot decks have some form of ‘Pentacles’ which represents the element ‘Earth’. All decks have Swords or some facility representing ‘Air’. All decks have Wands or some facility reflecting the element ‘Fire’. All decks have some form of ‘Cups’ reflecting the element ‘Water’. All healing intuitive diagnosis is a combination of either Earth, which normally indicates a physical anomaly or existing manifested illness; Swords, which reflects a supporting mental disposition aiding the illness; Wands, which indicates the depletion of energy or compromising energetic position due to the illness; and Cups, the fluid environment being affected.

The diagnosis will often indicate a precursor condition leading towards a potential illness. In this reading, we learn how to evaluate the hormonal balance, the endocrine system, the meridian system, and the universal life flow patterns in the body. We will also learn to sense the ‘free radical’ level in the body as well as DNA disruption levels. The sympathetic nervous system feeds generously into the Tarot to teach us about our clients. We will work on the basic premise that the client has a 90% chance of being too acidic in both dietary discipline and mental attitudes. The reading will further indicate light body energy and proximity to higher levels of conscious awareness.