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Group Drumming Better Than Prozac, Study Suggests

"With the World Health Organization identifying depression as the leading cause of disability, globally, and psychiatric medications causing severe side effects, including permanently disabling the body’s self-healing mechanism, drug-free alternatives are needed now more than ever. Could group drumming provide just such a solution?   

Titled, “Effects of Group Drumming Interventions on Anxiety, Depression, Social Resilience and Inflammatory Immune Response among Mental Health Service Users,” UK researchers enrolled thirty adults who were already recipients of mental health services but were not receiving antidepressant medications in a 10 week program of drumming versus a control group of 15. The two groups were matched for age, sex, ethnicity and employment status.

The control participants were informed that they were participating in a study about music and mental health but were not given access to the group drumming sessions. The treatment group received weekly 90-minute group drumming sessions over a period of 10 weeks. The drum group sizes were between 15-20. Each participant was provided with a traditional African djembe drum and sat in a circle.


The results of the study were remarkable and reported as follows:

By 6 weeks the drumming intervention group experienced decreases in depression, increased social resilience; by 10 weeks they saw further improvements in depression, alongside significant improvements in anxiety and mental wellbeing. These changes continued to be maintained 3 months follow-up. The drumming intervention group also saw their immune profile shift from a pro-inflammatory towards an anti-inflammatory response.

This remarkable research opens up the possibility that group drumming may produce positive psychospiritual changes that, in comparison to conventional treatment with psychiatric medications like Prozac, support side-effect free improvement in parameters beyond symptom suppression."


Group drumming better than Prozac, study suggests. (n.d.). DrumConnection World Djembe & Drum Shop.