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Reiki Drum Technique

By Sarah Gregg

Throughout history drumming has been regarded as sacred and healing. Indeed the drum was a valuable tool used by priestesses in many temples during the times of  ancient Egypt and Greece and was used for its therapeutic and spiritual benefits in much the same way as it is today.  Indigenous cultures throughout the world have also used and revered the drum for its healing power. 

Combining shamanic healing drumming with Reiki, a system of natural healing which is hugely popular the world over has resulted in The Reiki Drum Technique.  This energy and sound healing therapy has been introduced into the UK by Sarah Gregg, a natural therapy practitioner and Reiki Master Teacher based in Hertfordshire.  

he Reiki Drum Technique originates from the USA.  Michael Baird, a well known American Reiki teacher and Middle Eastern drummer discovered that combining the two therapies enhanced their therapeutic effects following a healing drumming session he carried out at a Reiki retreat in Michigan.  After several hours practising healing drumming he fell ill and later realised that by adding Reiki, not only was the healing much more powerful, but he could protect himself from being drained by other people’s energies. 
The Technique is practised widely in the States. Sarah trained with Michael in Sedona, Arizona and was so impressed by its effects, she introduced workshops in to the UK in 2007.  Sarah had read many positive testimonials before travelling to Arizona and was not disappointed on her arrival.  About six months prior to her visit, she developed a back problem.  She tried various complementary therapies, but the pain persisted.   

During her first Reiki Drum Healing session she lay on the treatment table, and as the energy enveloped her, carried by the drumbeat, the pain lifted.  Having been in considerable discomfort for a long time, Sarah realised that the Reiki Drum Technique was truly remarkable and should be shared with the Reiki community and general public in the UK and Ireland.  There are currently about 60 practitioners in the UK and it is gathering momentum as a therapy. 

The technique comprises three healing methods, all different and used for separate aims.  A buffalo drum is traditionally used because of its ease of use and harmonious tone.  Treatment sessions typically last an hour.  Students and clients alike who have tried shamanic drumming before a Reiki Drum session say the energy of the Reiki Drumming makes for a more gentle experience, albeit no less powerful on a therapeutic and healing level. 

Reiki Drum Healing involves the practitioner drumming over the client whilst focusing their intent to allow the drum’s sound waves to carry Reiki into the client’s energy field.  The drumming is followed by normal hands on Reiki. 

Clients find the beat of the drum helps them switch off easier and drift into a deep state of relaxation, with all the normal benefits of a traditional Reiki treatment albeit on a much deeper level.   Clients report feeling as if the healing Reiki energy reaches deep inside their bodies. 

Reiki Drum Mental Reprogramming is a way of treating negative habits or natural tendencies, to focus the mind on something important or for achieving a goal. Drumming facilitates the energetic shift necessary to positively affect the subconscious mind. The client focuses their mind on the issue in question and repeats a positive affirmation, whilst the practitioner drums gently over them.  The drumming is again followed by Reiki for integration.  

The repetitive beat of the drum helps people focus on their particular issue and prevents their minds from straying, thus reinforcing the positive messages.  The mental/emotional reprogramming technique has best results if the client can have a series of treatments.  Sarah says she has witnessed clients recover from a wide range of illnesses after treatment, once they let go of the negative mental/emotional patterns which are causing the disease.

The Reiki Drum Journey helps to facilitate altered consciousness for the client to access information for change in any area of their life. It can be used for healing personal issues, career concerns, relationship problems, accessing the client’s inner wisdom and tuning into spiritual guidance. It can be exceptionally empowering and healing on all levels.  

Clients have many different experiences.  Some drift into a relaxed state, others see beautiful colours or feel energy pulsating through their body, and many have profound visual and auditory experiences allowing them deep personal insight.  Some fall asleep, feeling refreshed on awakening and receiving spontaneous intuitive messages over the next few days.  

Although the journey assists a client in gaining clarity in a situation, Sarah explains she tends to use it most when someone has suffered a trauma of some description in what is known in shamanic practises as a soul retrieval.  After a negative incident of any kind, some people experience what is known as soul loss, or soul fragmentation, which in a nutshell means they leave a little bit of themselves at the time and place of the incident, resulting in them experiencing negative feelings such as anxiety, depression or even addictive behaviour. 

On an energetic level the journey allows them to retrieve that part of themselves they have lost, resulting in wholeness again.  Clients have reported incredible changes in themselves after these types of journeys.  If you wish to sample a Reiki drum journey, you can listen to one on the Reiki Drum website. 

On a scientific level drumming has many physiological effects.  It increases heart rate and blood flow.  It engages both logical left brain and intuitive right brain.  It has been demonstrated that IQ scores have improved after drum playing.1  Other benefits are improved musical co-ordination and brain activity, physical therapy and stress relief, as well as improved social skills such as team work, self esteem and discipline and improved abstract thought processes.  Large corporations have found drumming helps employees focus attention and improves well being. 

Drumming is gaining recognition amongst researchers and scientists as a therapeutic tool.  Recent studies have shown that drumming can boost the immune system, increase production of Natural Killer cells and reduce cortisol levels. 2   Other studies have shown the positive effects on Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. 3  Because rhythm is so intrinsic to our nature, even those patients in the latter stages of the disease, can copy simple drum rhythms. 

This takes on great significance when all other forms of communication have been diminished. Drumming seems to focus Alzheimer's patients for a short time, and they appear momentarily coherent.
Studies have been conducted and benefits have been recognised with all of the following population groups; cancer patients, autistic children, emotionally disturbed teens, recovering addicts,4/ 5  trauma patients, and prison and homeless populations.  

Drumming has proven to be helpful when treating stress, tension,6 fatigue, anxiety, hypertension, asthma,  arthritis, mental illness, migraines, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, stroke, paralysis, healing after surgery and sleep and emotional disorders.  Research has found that drumming serves as a distraction from pain and grief.  It promotes the production of endorphins and endogenous opiates, the bodies own painkillers, and therefore can help to control pain.7 

Drumming accesses the entire brain, synchronizing the two cerebral hemispheres.  When both pulsate in harmony, intuitive knowing flows unimpeded into conscious awareness.  Unconscious information can be accessed through symbols and imagery, facilitating psychological integration and a re-integration of the self. 

The frontal and lower areas of the brain are synchronised, integrating non verbal information from lower brain structures into the frontal cortex, producing feelings of insight, understanding, integration, certainty, conviction and truth which surpass ordinary understanding.  The mind becomes sharper and more lucid, it synthesizes more rapidly than normal and emotions are easier to understand and transform.  

Drumming generates dynamic neuronal connections in all parts of the brain even when there is significant damage or impairment.  The more connections that can be made within the brain after a stroke or neurological impairment such as Parkinson’s Disease, the more integrated the patient’s experiences can become. 

Drumming has proven to induce altered states of consciousness.  The brain changes from Beta to Alpha and Theta waves producing feelings of euphoria and well being.  Alpha and Theta waves are associated with altered states such as meditation and shamanic trance.  It allows people to enter these states easily contrasted to the long periods of practise normally required.  These experiences are deeply healing, releasing negative feelings, blockages and emotional trauma. 

Drumming can help people express and address emotional issues.  Drumming aids the removal of energy blockages and produces emotional release.  Sound vibrations resonate through every cell of the body, stimulating the release of negative cellular memories. 

As with traditional Reiki, each client should be assessed on their individual needs.  Generally there are no contraindications as Reiki is drawn by the client as needed, bar two exceptions.  It is not recommended for epileptic clients and due to the imagery content often induced by the drumming, caution is required for clients with a history of severe emotional disorders, schizophrenia, psychosis or hallucination problems.  It is necessary for an individual to be able to easily distinguish what is real or ordinary reality.  If in doubt, medical / psychological advice should be sought where appropriate.

Sarah Gregg is a natural therapy practitioner, Usui and Karuna Reiki® Master.  She has introduced the Reiki Drum Technique to the UK & Ireland.    She holds regular workshops in both traditional Reiki and Reiki Drum and has a schedule of Reiki Drum workshop dates around the UK for 2010.  She has a private practise in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire.  For further information please telephone 01279 600104 or visit www.reikidrum.co.uk .

1.  NewswireToday - /newswire/ - Akron, OH, United States, 02/03/2007
Study by E. Glenn Shallenberg at the University of Toronto demonstrated that IQ test scores for a study group of 6 year olds significantly improved after receiving drum lessons.
2. Composite Effects of Group Drumming Music Therapy on Modulation of Neuroendocrine-Immune Parameters in Normal Subjects (2001)
Bittman MD, Berk LS, Felten DL, Westengard J, Simonton OD, Pappas J,  Ninehouser M        Alternative Ther Health Med 2001: 7:38-47
3"The Healing Power of the Drum", by Robert Lawrence Friedman, published by White Cliffs Media, Inc., October 2000. 978-0941677875
4.  Health Rhythms:  A preliminary inquiry into group drumming as experienced by participants on a structured day services programme for substance-misusers.   Authors:  Blackett Peter S; Payne Helen L Source:  Drugs:  Education, Prevention & Policy, Volume 12, Number 6, December 2005, pp.477-491(15) Publisher:  Informa Healthcare
5.  2003  Complementary Therapy for Addiction: “Drumming Out Drugs” American Journal of Public Health 93(4): 647-651
6.  Bittman, M.D., Barry, Karl T. Bruhn, Christine Stevens, MSW, MT-BC, James Westengard, Paul O Umbach, MA, “Recreational Music-Making, A Cost-Effective Group Interdisciplinary Strategy for Reducing Burnout and Improving Mood States in Long-Term Care Workers,” Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, Fall/Winter 2003, Vol. 19 No. 3/4.
7. Winkelman, Michael, Shamanism: The Neural Ecology of Consciousness and Healing. Westport, Conn: Bergin & Garvey; 2000.