28th Oct 2014

Rhythm and Pain Relief

Many of us know someone who is dealing with regular bouts of pain. In fact, chronic pain is a complaint of an alarmingly high number of people. While the reasons why people live with pain may vary, rhythm has been successfully used to offer consistent and long-term pain relief. The rhythm is usually played using a drum and while this may be news to some of us, rhythm and pain relief have been in cahoots for a large portion of the human experience.

Anthropologists would say that drums have been used as part of the human healing repertoire for tens of thousands of years. Historically, drumming has always had specific uses and healing is one. The idea behind rhythm and pain relief is that our bodies are composed of their own rhythms. We all move in sync to the rhythms and frequencies of the world; we are the microcosm to the macrocosm. By acknowledging and respecting this rhythmic connection, ancient cultures were able to determine how to use the drum to help people who were out of sync.


Today, even science acknowledges that there must be balance. Drums offer a way for humans to naturally restore that balance, which is how rhythm and pain relief came to be friends. Rhythm healing is a drumming use that has touched every part of the world at some time. It is based upon the idea that external rhythms can influence our internal rhythms. In cultures that use rhythm healing, there has always been an understanding that being out of sync equals illness. When used correctly, specific rhythms alleviate illness and pain.

In addition to rhythm healing, there is shamanic drumming. Shamanic drumming serves the same, basic purpose: tune the internal through drumming. Traditionally, shamanic drumming works by affecting the listener’s consciousness. A drumming rhythm of four beats per second is played to get the consciousness into theta range, affecting the nervous system. It is clear to see how rhythm and pain relief come together with shamanic drumming, since pain occurs in the realm of the nervous system. The more the listener hears the drumming rhythms, the more relief will be felt.

While these healing methods are still available to us today, there are modern versions which might be easier to use. Regardless of how a person wants to use drumming to help relieve pain, it is good to know the options available. With natural living becoming more popular as people wake up to the significance of what we put in and on our bodies, healing opportunities like those offered with rhythm and pain relief may become more conventional. If drum rhythms can offer relief to those suffering from chronic pain, there is no telling what’s in store.