Reiki and Drumming

Reiki Drummingby Michael Baird and Laurelle Gaia

The more we immerse ourselves in Reiki energy and it becomes a part of our daily life, the more we learn about Reiki’s limitless healing potential.

In our beginning Reiki training many of us are taught that Reiki is a stress-reduction and relaxation technique. We learn that it is used in “hands-on” healing. We learn that Reiki can help to heal physical, mental, and emotional issues. Once we begin using Reiki regularly, we soon learn that the energy is truly a teacher. Some would say the Master teacher.

Our experience of Reiki is that it IS Divine healing Love. There is no time, place, or situation where Reiki is not appropriate, because Divine Love can only enhance our experiences.

Today Reiki is combined with western medical practices in surgical procedures and during cancer therapy. Reiki is often included in massage and bodywork sessions. Many chiropractors and dentists use Reiki, and the list goes on and on. Truly, Reiki can become a part of your daily activities or vocation.

When someone with a passion for drumming, like Michael, began to share his life with Laurelle, who has a passion for Reiki, it would seem that combining Reiki and drumming would have easily occurred to us. However, it didn’t happen quite that way. As Reiki often does, the energy guided us to what has unfolded into a powerful healing method, and much more.

At the International Reiki Retreat, Labor Day Weekend in 1999, Michael was invited to join two other drummers in providing healing drumming sessions for the retreat participants. From that one event grew the beginning of our experience with Reiki drumming. While drumming for those sessions, Michael was able to first experience healing drumming without Reiki and then during the second night’s drumming sessions combined healing drumming with Reiki.

He learned to first prepare himself and strengthen his light with Reiki before picking up the drum. Then he would prepare the drum by charging it as a Reiki healing instrument with the use of all the sacred Reiki symbols. Finally, as he drummed over each person he would visualize the energy of a Reiki symbol moving from his hands and through the drum to the person under the drum.

The intention was for Reiki’s energy to ride on the drum’s sound waves, and for Reiki to help the person under the drum heal in a way that was for the highest and greatest good for all. This allowed the infinite intelligence of Reiki to facilitate healing without the possibility of harm.

That weekend we learned the value of combining Reiki with drumming. We were reminded of the importance of combining Reiki’s Love in all we do.

Since that time, the Reiki energy, the spirit of many drums, the guides, angels, and spirit helpers have taught us much more about powerful new ways to incorporate Reiki with drumming and other forms of sound. We are learning how to facilitate deeper and more profound healing experiences.

The concept of sound and healing is not a new one. In the Reiki Chants booklet contained in his new kotodama CD with the same name, sound healing pioneer Jonathan Goldman states:

If we explore various spiritual paths on this planet, you will find a commonality in their understanding that the first basic creative force was sound. In the New Testament it is written: “In the Beginning was the Word!” The Old Testament tells us: “And the Lord said: ‘Let there be Light!’... the act of sound creating light. In the Hopi traditions, the Spider Woman sings the song of creation over the inanimate forms on this planet, bringing life to them. From the Vedic tradition it is written: “In the Beginning was Brahman, with whom was the Word and the Word was Brahman.” The idea of sound as the principle creative energy is almost universal. Sound creates form.

If you are interested in exploring your ability to heal and manifest with sound, drumming is one good place to start. Absolutely everyone has the talent and ability to drum. Your beat may be different, but it is your very own unique beat. Your beat is neither wrong nor right. It is an expression of your being that is perfect in its wholeness and completion.

Like you, a drum is a sacred healing tool with a unique spirit. The spirit of your drum can often be sensed while it is being played. It is also possible to journey to meet the spirit of your drum. As you drum you may become aware of other sounds contained within the drumming, as if it is connecting to another dimension.

In shamanism, the drum is known as “the shaman’s horse,” as it allows the shaman to “ride” the sound waves created by the drum into another dimension to help a person heal. When combining Reiki with drumming, the Divine wisdom inherent in Reiki energy merges with the sound waves and carries the Reiki energy more deeply into the client at the same time it creates a safe and sacred environment for healing.

What Is Reiki Drumming?
Reiki drumming is a specialized method of healing that makes use of the sound waves from the drum to introduce Reiki energy more deeply into a client’s energy field to facilitate deep relaxation and stress relief. As stress is relieved, tensions in the physical body are often released as well. Biofeedback research indicates that even brief heartbeat drumming can double light meditative brainwaves (alpha) and reduce stress. We now know that stress depresses the immune system and has been linked to nearly all diseases.

Reiki DrummingReiki practitioners around the world are beginning to combine Reiki and drumming.
Reiki drumming affects the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies simultaneously, helping to bring them into harmony while raising the vibratory rate to levels that may allow the body to accelerate its innate healing abilities. Drumming reminds our body of its ideal vibratory rate, which is in harmony with the pulse of the earth and the Universal flow of creation.

Reiki drumming can enhance the power of distant Reiki, or help to send Reiki through time, as well as to strengthen the vibration of the peace ray on the planet, while assisting in harmonizing our human consciousness with the Earth.

We connect directly with the Heart and the Mind of the Divine when we access Reiki energy. Drumming is also a way to align with the Divine, as has been experienced since ancient times, through native spiritual and shamanic healing practices. When the two are combined, the result is an enhanced healing experience.

Swiss scientist Dr. Hans Jenny demonstrated how various substances such as sand, plastics, and liquid would take on a particular shape and form when various sound waves were passed through them. These experiments indicate that sound has the ability to affect and change matter.

In addition, sound can only be created by and travel through a material substance such as a solid, liquid, or gas, but cannot travel through a vacuum. Sound travels though different materials at different speeds, traveling through water at about 1500 meters per second, iron at about 5100 meters per second, and much slower through air at about 340 meters per second.

Striking any material will cause it to vibrate, and this can have an effect on nearby objects by creating a sympathetic response. When a drum is played, the drumhead will vibrate causing the nearby molecules of air to vibrate. The vibrating molecules of air will strike other nearby molecules of air and continue on. This is known as a sound wave. This wave will continue and pass through the client you are drumming for, causing the molecules composing their body to sympathetically respond with vibration. When done with a therapeutic intention, the vibration produced will be healthy and will displace any vibrations of disease, which may be present in the client.

The ability to feel Reiki is part of our Divine inheritance. After Reiki drumming many people experience an increased sensitivity to vibration and many who have not had the awareness of feeling Reiki’s energy are able to begin feeling it. We suspect there is a simple explanation for this. Could it be that after feeling the low frequencies of drumming mixed with what may be the high frequencies of Reiki the person has had a direct experience of what healing energy feels like? After having had such an experience are we then able to detect frequencies higher than the frequency of the drum’s sound and actually feel the healing energy of Reiki by itself? Based on our experiences the answer to both questions is yes.

Reiki DrummingDrumming the sacred directions.
Science has yet to develop devices to measure Reiki’s frequency, but we need to be patient. It was just a few decades ago that radio waves were just the idea of an eccentric thinker. With all of the amazing advancements of science we will likely one day soon have an electronic device that will measure what we all can already feel.

Medical Research
A medical research study indicates that group drumming enhances the functioning of the immune system. Published in the January 2001, issue of Larry Dossey’s Alternative Therapies, the ground-breaking study was performed by a team of MDs using control groups and blood tests.

Led by well-known researcher, author, and cancer expert Barry Bittman, MD, who is the CEO of Meadville Medical Center’s Mind-Body Wellness Center in Meadville, PA, the study shows that group drumming actually increases cancer-killing (NK) cells, which help the body combat not only cancer but also viruses including AIDS.
According to Dr. Bittman, “Group drumming tunes our biology, orchestrates our immunity, and enables healing to begin . . . When our hands connect with a drum that vibrates with our energy, vitality... and unity, we become whole again.” Dr. Bittman’s weekly radio program, Mind-Body Matters, is syndicated nationwide on NPR. For more on Dr. Bittman, visit

Drumming has also been used successfully with Alzheimer’s patients to focus attention, with war veterans to end trauma, with addicts in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse, and with prison and homeless populations to enhance self-esteem. Progressive corporations like Motorola, AT&T, and Levi-Strauss have drummed with middle management to promote team-spirit building.

Widely published research also indicates that playing musical instruments increases children’s learning abilities. This appears especially true of those instruments that can be played intuitively like the drum. Studies indicate that drumming enhances right-brain functions such as intuition and creativity.

James Gordon, MD, of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington D.C. states “Oncologists should be open to group drumming if their patients are interested in it. Drumming can put people in a state of relaxation. It was used as a healing technique 1,000 years ago. Why not now?” (MAMM Magazine, July/August, 2001)

Noel John M. Carrasco, MD, has the following to say about Reiki and therapeutic drumming:

As a medical doctor, with a focus on blending complementary and holistic modalities with allopathic medicine, I incorporate Reiki into my practice.

Over the past year I have become an Usui Tibetan, and a Karuna Reiki® Master, as well as a practitioner of Reiki drumming and Reiki Crystal Healing through the ICRT and Infinite Light Healing Studies Center in Sedona.

In Reiki drumming, I find that the drum acts as liaison between the drummer and Reiki energy. It swiftly brings about a deep sense of relaxation.

One of my patients is a gentleman in his sixties who is in the process of healing from prostate cancer that has metastasized. He is also a scientist and is participating in traditional allopathic treatment as well as complementary therapies.

I have been able to incorporate Reiki drumming into his healing sessions with encouraging and intriguing results.

The drumbeat has a quickening effect, which helps direct the intent, ceremoniously calling us (practitioner and patient) to focus our attention. This patient has gone through chemotherapy and other aggressive treatments, which has placed extreme stress on his body. During our first Reiki drumming session, I observed him deeply relax for the first time since we had been working together. He seemed to experience deep emotional release, and as he did so, he relaxed even more.

He responded well physiologically also. First he had an awareness of a decrease in the pain he was experiencing, and he had noticeably more energy after each session. He also reported being able to sleep better. Clinical results indicated that some of his marker levels decreased, suggesting a health improvement as a result of his full treatment program.

Through combining Reiki and drumming, we are blending two specific frequencies, that of Reiki and that of sound. This brings about entrainment of consciousness and the heartbeat, both of which often become synchronized with the beat of the drum. The rhythm appears to move through the emotion and the intellect, connecting us with our natural rhythm, our spirit. This experience often enables the body to come into contact with its own innate ability to heal.

The sound of the drum becomes a carrier of the Reiki energy. This method assists in focusing attention into areas of awareness that are difficult to reach in normal consciousness. This allows the patient to feel the energy somatically. It is as if one is “hearing” with the entire body at the systemic and cellular level.

Drumming with Reiki connects with us deeply, bringing about an entrainment on all levels of being—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Reiki drumming is an additional tool that allows me to assist my patients as they learn to connect with and activate their inner healing power.

Joan Hoffman, Reiki Master and talk therapist, uses Reiki drumming in her practice:

When I receive a Reiki drumming session from another or myself, I feel I can revisit previous situations in my life where I felt “stuck.” There is a soothing element, which comes into play when I can feel the vibration, the rhythm, and the beat of the drum being guided into my physical being. A sense of safety accompanies me when I hear the rhythmic drum beat in the distance as I work through the feelings and memories I am exploring. This constant rhythm has the ability to center me quickly and painlessly in each moment. Yet, at the same time, a sense of endurance prevails as the drumbeat keeps me moving forward in a steady manner.

When I become the Reiki drummer, I am often amazed at how quickly the drumming creates a sense of sacred space and purpose in the most mundane places. This, in turn, facilitates an instant connection to the drum and the type of healing the client needs. I am a counselor trained in “talk therapy,” and I find that others surrender and trust this process with very little preparation, which is gratifying. Clients benefit most from the self-discovery that takes place during the drumming session. Some of their responses and stories of how they are being healed have created a sense of marvel at how brilliant Reiki drumming can be. Reiki drumming is a very powerful tool for transformation. I’ve experienced it both as a receiver and a practitioner, and I know it works.

As medical research is beginning to validate much of what the ancients have known, Reiki practitioners around the world are beginning to combine Reiki and drumming.

Drumming is for anyone who was ever told they were not musical, or who has ever felt they are not talented enough. Drumming is for anyone who has ever been silenced by another. Drumming is for anyone who wants to feel healthier, stronger, and more alive.

Drumming has been practiced throughout the ages. It is an excellent vehicle for creative expression, while simultaneously relieving stress through movement and improving one’s mental clarity and emotional and physical state.

Reiki Drumming Session
The following are instructions for a basic Reiki drumming session, which can be done by itself or as part of a regular Reiki session. A hoop drum is used in this session with the client lying on a massage table or on the floor or earth, but it’s also possible for the client to be seated in a chair. This can be a general session for healing and relaxation or it could focus on healing a specific issue.

1) Client Preparation
Ask your client to relax and take a deep breath. Ask them to focus on being willing to let go of all that isn’t healthy and to be deeply healed. Also ask them to focus on being grateful for the gift of healing they are about to receive. If they have a specific issue, ask them to explain what it is.

2) Drummer Preparation
Draw or visualize a large CKR over your entire body, and also on each chakra starting at the base and moving toward the crown. Intend that your chakras are aligned, clear, and open to the full power of the Reiki healing energy. Hold the intention that your light is being strengthened, and that any denser energy that is released during this session will be healed and not absorbed by your energy system.

3) Drum Preparation
Draw all the Reiki symbols that you know over your drum with your mallet, and with each symbol, channel the energy into the drum. Alternatively, use those symbols you’re guided to use for the client. Hold the intention that the frequency of the energy contained within each symbol will flow out on [of?]the drum as you beat it.

4) Space Preparation
Draw a CKR in all seven directions, NSEW as well as the sky and the earth and the center of the space.

5) Prayer of Intention
Call on your guides, or pray to God, the Higher Power or any other Divine energy you or your client chooses to work with. Ask that the drum and its voice be charged with healing power and that the client be deeply healed. If you’re working on a specific condition pray that this condition be healed as well. Give thanks for all the Love and healing and blessings that are about to flow.

6) Reiki Drumming
Hold the drum from the back with the open side of the drum facing the client and keeping the drum at least six inches or more away, allowing your intuition to guide you to the right height (which could vary during the session). Begin drumming at the head with soft rhythmic beats and slowly work your way down. As you continue also allow yourself to be guided in terms of the rhythm and intensity of the sound. Remember to focus on Reiki energy with the intention that it is combining with the vibration of the drum and flowing to the client. Continue moving slowly down to the feet, stopping at any areas that seem to need more healing and staying there until the area is cleared. Continue as long as you are guided to do so, but also staying within your allotted time frame.

Specific Issue
If the client has indicated a special issue to be healed, you may be guided to the right areas for the issue during your drumming session, or you could also use Reiji ho or byÛsen scanning to determine the best area(s) to treat the specific issue. When the area has been found, use your intuition to decide the right height, rhythm, intensity, and duration.

If the client has a specific issue, the use of affirmations can also be helpful. “I AM” statements are powerful as they activate the client’s Godself. Before you begin drumming, ask the client to repeat these statements three times with the emphasis on the “I AM.” “I AM ready and willing to release (state issue) completely now and forever.” And, “I AM ready and willing to make any and all changes necessary to complete this healing.” Congratulate the client for a job well done. Other affirmations can also be formulated and stated before the drumming or during the drumming.

7) Client Integration
When you feel guided to stop, put your drum down and begin to beam Reiki into your client’s energy field to help them integrate the changes that have taken place during the healing session. We have found CKR, or DKM, or Rama from Karuna Reiki® to be helpful for integration.

8) Closing and Offering Gratitude
Give a prayer of thanks for the healing to the Divine, the guides, and angels and the spirit of the drum. Then draw a CKR over the client to seal the healing energies in with Love and with light. We use a final closing prayer by saying three times, “We seal this healing with Love and light” and then saying, “So It Is, Blessed Be, Amen.” You can use any other prayer or closing statement that you feel is appropriate.

Reiki DrummingStanding Reiki drumming.
Standing Reiki Drumming Session
This is a simple technique designed to give an overall toning and healing effect. However, this technique can also be used to heal specific issues using the instructions for this from above. Using hoop drums, have one drummer stand behind the client and another in front. The drummers hold the drum from the back with the back of the drum facing the client so the drum is beat toward the client. This technique can also be done with one drummer going up one side, then down the other.

1) Client Preparation
Ask your client to stand with their knees just very slightly bent, and their feet just a little more then shoulder-width apart. Then ask that they close their eyes, take in a deep breath, and let it out slowly and relax. Ask them to focus on being willing to let go of all that isn’t healthy and to be deeply healed. Also ask them to focus on being grateful for the gift of healing they are about to receive.

2—5) Follow steps 2—5 in previous instructions

6) Drumming
Begin with both drummers starting at the bottom and drumming together. As you drum, think of Reiki and imagine it flowing through the drum and into the client. Slowly and together begin moving up. If either drummer feels an area needing more Reiki, stop and drum there until the area feels cleared. Carefully watch the other drummer to know if this is happening so you can stay synchronized.

Continue up but as you get close to the heart soften the drumming and especially around the head and ears. Continue up over the crown.

Then go back down, ending with a somewhat longer period at the feet to establish grounding.

7) Client Integration
When you feel guided to stop, put your drum down and begin to beam Reiki into your client’s energy field to help them integrate the changes that have taken place during the healing session. We have found CKR, or DKM, or Rama from Karuna Reiki® to be helpful for integration.

8). Closing and Offering Gratitude
Give a prayer of thanks for the healing to the Divine, the guides, and angels and the spirit of the drum. Then draw a CKR over the client to seal the healing energies in with Love and with light. We use a final closing prayer by saying three times, “We seal this healing with Love and light” and then saying, “So It Is, Blessed Be, Amen.”

Additional Instructions:
Always respect the wishes of the client for softer or louder drumming. Encourage your client to let you know what they would like.

Drum softer during the first moments of the session. Gradually increase the volume of the drumming to a comfortable level. Be aware of where the edges of the drum are at all times so as to avoid bumping the client with the drum.

Drum intuitively. Trust and know that there is no right or wrong rhythm. Yet, we have discovered that a beat of a steady, even, un-fluctuating rhythm and volume will allow the client to slip into a deep restful state.

You may find that you are guided to chant the names of the Reiki energies while drumming. If so go ahead and allow the energy of your voice to blend with the Reiki drumming energies. You could also chant the affirmations you and the client have formulated for the session.

Final words
When you allow the Reiki energy to assist and guide you in all that you do, it will take you into places within your being, and dimensions and realms that you have not yet experienced in this life.

We hope this article has inspired you to explore the healing power of sound blended with Reiki. Through Reiki drumming you can channel healing and joy to yourself and others and allow the essence of well-being to flow into the lives of future generations. By doing so you will be working and living in an age of awakened joy, peace, and prosperity for all people.

This article appeared in the Spring 2006 issue of Reiki News Magazine.