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Intended Audience

All members including people living with cancer, family members and significant caregivers.

Program Description

As people move toward an enlightened view of health and personal well-being, ancient rituals such as drumming have resurfaced and found their place in modern times. Drum circles have become especially prolific in health and business environments, commonly prescribed for physical and emotional healing and as an antidote for stress. In the uplifting and nurturing environment of a drum circle, participants are empowered by the reinforcement of community; a secure setting for individual expression, gratifying release and tremendous joy.

“To be moved to tears while participating in this session was a true surprise to me.”

“Clearly, drumming fills my soul to overflowing. I loved it!”

“Drumming is ultimately about revitalizing, invigorating and inspiring.”

Benefits and Impact

Recent studies suggest that music can play a significant role in the lives of people living with cancer. Music therapy has been shown to improve health-related outcomes such as quality of life, anxiety, pain, symptom distress, and fatigue (Bradt et al., 2017; Köhler et al., 2021. One study from 2017 found that even simply listening to music may reduce the incidence of pain, anxiety, and drowsiness (Bilgiç & Acaroğlu, 2017). A report from 2019 on a drumming-based therapy highlighted the importance of drumming as a positive and confidence-boosting emotional outlet for cancer survivors (Harmon & Arpajian, 2019). This program invites the kids of adult participants as it has been found that family-oriented support programs like this one can be effective at reducing isolation and normalizing the experience of children who have parents living with cancer (Ellis et al., 2017).

What to Expect at a Session

Participants gather in a circle and are guided as they learn to play hand drums from around the world. After simple instruction, everyone finds their rhythm and the group is united in the soothing embrace of harmonious vibrations. The facilitator initiates a stress relief round, which is fast rumble drumming and humming of voices to realign the body’s energy centres. There is also a rhythm cradle exercise in which one or two people lie on the floor or sit in a chair in the center of the circle, close their eyes and receive the vibrations of the group. The group continues drumming using large native healing drums. The circle comes to a close with participants sharing their feelings – often using words such as peaceful, calm, energized and happy.

Program Frequency

2 hours per week

6 weeks per program

1 program per session
Winter, fall

Optimum Class Size: 20


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