Good vibrations: Cancer Fighters in Music and Drum Circles

A sacred space

“For many patients music plays an important role in spiritual and emotional healing during cancer treatment. Whether it is singing in a choir or simply humming along to a favorite tune, listening to a relaxing melody during a treatment session or strumming a few chords on the guitar, patients often find spiritual solace in music.

Steve White, LCSW, a Mind-Body Therapist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) in Goodyear, Arizona, believes that music has a positive impact on many of his patients. For those who are having anxiety about an upcoming treatment or procedure, the hospital’s Mind-Body team has created a music CD of soothing melodies to help them relax.

The hospital also regularly hosts talented musicians, including a harpist and a violist, who move patients with not only their peaceful sounds but also the positive vibrations that are created by their live performances. “If you’re in a room with live music, your body starts to feel and absorb the vibrations of the music,” White explains. “There hasn’t been a lot of scientific study into it, but people have reported that they feel better afterward.”

A drum circle held three times a month at CTCA is another unique and powerful opportunity for patients and caregivers to share their emotions while connecting with others in a musical environment. Andrew Ecker, founder of Drumming Sounds and facilitator of the drum circle program at CTCA, explains that up to 30 participants come together each week to create a “sacred space” filled with a sense of camaraderie and empowerment.“

It is an opportunity to connect with our spirit. The spiritual nature of our existence is very apparent when we drum with intention,” Ecker explains. “It’s about being present with one’s own connection to their spirituality.”

Ecker says that music is perhaps the oldest mind-body therapy, practiced before yoga or tai chi or qigong. “Long before doing those exercises, people were singing, and soon after they were beating on drums,” he says. “When we beat on a drum today, we connect with the rhythm. We connect with our human spirit. That is very powerful.”

Because there is no technical musical knowledge or expertise required to participate, the drum circle breaks down many of the barriers that might otherwise prevent a patient or caregiver from experiencing the healing power of music. Ecker believes that healing begins with the soothing vibration that comes from the drums.”

Continue reading at Source: Good vibrations: Cancer Fighters Thrive Magazine

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