New Zealand Rhythm Centre - Rhythm and Healing - Research on composite effects of group drumming, page 3
Rhythm Centre :: Rhythm and Healing :: Research and Studies
"Composite effects of group drumming music therapy on modulation of neuroendocrine-immune parameters in normal subjects." - Page 3


      Subjects were excluded who reported active medical illnesses, or if they were receiving treatment for a medical problem or infectious disease. A history of heart or lung disease, hearing loss, pregnancy, or having missed the last menstrual period also precluded participation. In addition, volunteers were eliminated who used prescription medications other than aspirin or birth control pills. Illicit drug use, cigarette or cigar smoking, tobacco chewing, and routine consumption of more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day within the last month served as criteria for exclusion. Subjects were asked (and signed a statement agreeing) not to consume alcoholic beverages or to participate in sexual activity or aerobic exercise within a period of 24 hours prior to the experiment. All subjects refrained from eating for a minimum of 2 hours before the study. To avoid conditioning effects, subjects were also eliminated if they had drummed in the past, listened to drumming music on a regular basis, or participated in drumming within the past 3 months. Fear of blood drawing also was an exclusionary criterion.

Clinical Methods

      Each group of 10 subjects arrived at the center on Mondays at 2:45 PM, 45 minutes prior to the onset of the intervention. After meeting the study coordinator in a waiting area, subjects completed and signed a written exclusionary checklist (which had been previously reviewed and checked by phone) and an informed consent. Subjects entered another room where a blood sample (approximately 30 mL) was drawn using standard Vacutainer tubes by certified and licensed laboratory technicians and nurses. A minimum of 5 staff personnel were available to facilitate immediate blood drawing within a period of less than 5 minutes for all subjects. Aliquots were immediately processed and handled according to standard laboratory procedures on site. Participants subsequently returned to the waiting area for further directions.
      Each subject was provided with a clipboard and asked to fill out 2 surveys: the Beck Anxiety Inventory and the Beck Depression Inventory II. The inventories were typically completed in less than 20 minutes. Upon completion of the surveys, subjects were directed to the center's group activity area.
      Control subjects sat in chairs arranged in circle formation in an open area (a room measuring 30 ftjx 40 ft), and read maga-zines and newspapers. They were given the opportunity to read a wide selection of current magazines provided by the center. Experimental subjects participated in a group-drumming exercise according to the experimental procedure described below. Monitors were present to carefully observe all groups and to direct subjects to restrooms.

Experimental Procedures

      Preliminary Protocol. Prior to designating the protocol ulti-mately used for the experimental intervention, 6 preliminary groups (9-11 subjects each) were evaluated using the above methodology under the following conditions: resting control --- subjects read magazines, newspapers, or books during the session; listening control --- subjects listened to drumming music recorded from an experimental session; basic drumming --- group drumming facilitated by a community-based drumming instructor (approximately 50% instruction and 50% activity); impact drumming --- group drumming facilitated by a community-based drumming instructor (approximately 20% instruction and 80% activity); shamanic drumming --- group drumming facilitated using a shamanic approach; and composite drumming --- group drumming facilitated by a music therapist (ultimately chosen as the treatment model based on statistical analysis).
      Experimental Protocol. Each experimental group was facilitated by a music therapist or clinician with drumming experience. After brief introductions, subjects were given "shaker eggs" (plastic eggs containing sand or gravel). To establish an initial sense of teamwork and camaraderie in a lighthearted manner, the facilitator instructed the subjects to pass the shaker eggs, hand to hand, from individual to individual. The speed of transfer progressively accelerated to the point that participants could not maintain the pace, eggs were dropped, and a lighthearted response ensued.
      Subjects were then instructed to choose a hand drum from a wide selection of instruments stored in an adjacent area. The facilitator provided brief percussion instructions. Each subject was then asked to tap out a simple rhythm (basically a self-designed rhythm consistent with the number of syllables in their first and last name). Thereafter, each subject played his or her respective rhythm along with other members of the group. The facilitator then varied the beat and tempo of drumming for the group for the next 20 minutes, changing tempo and volume every few minutes. With the assistance of one of the center's clinical staff, the facilitator then led the guided-imagery phase of the drumming session. Two descriptive stories were told (each approximately 15 minutes) while members of the group played their drums with a rhythm, tempo, and volume along with the facilitator in a manner that matched the spoken imagery. Subjects were allowed to keep their eyes open or closed. The entire percussion session lasted 1 hour.
      Subjects were then directed to the blood drawing area, where blood samples were taken in accordance with the procedure described above. Subjects then returned to the waiting area and filled out postexperiment surveys including the Beck Anxiety Inventory and the Beck Depression Inventory II. In addition, subjects completed the Sense of Coherence Scale by Antonovsky./25 Thereafter, subjects were paid and left the center. The protocol for these studies was approved by the Internal Review Board for Human Studies at Meadville Medical Center. MORE...

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