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.