Drumming the soul within: Drumming to support birth and life transitions
What if I told you that there is a simple tool that can help women reconnect to their intuitive power and wisdom during the birth journey, and spiritual thresholds such as the menopause? What if I told you that it can also change states of consciousness, calm nerves, reduce anxiety, reduce pain, and increase confidence?
What if I told you that this tool belongs to women, and that we have forgotten how to use it, that it is simple and intuitive to use, and that anyone can do it?
I have been supporting mothers through their birth journey using the drum for over 10 years. By delving into the science behind why drumming is so helpful during birth, and collecting the stories of mothers for whom I have drummed during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum and beyond, I have been amazed about how powerful it is. Did you know that drumming not only calms the nervous system and produces an altered state of consciousness, but that it also reduces anxiety, but that it even increases the release of endorphins? Beyond birthing human babies, drumming is also a life long tool to support birthing ourselves through life transitions, such as menarche, motherhood, and the menopause.
I want to demystify the process and show you that it is simple and doesn’t require expert knowledge, simply an open heart and willingness to practise.
A bit of background
Pregnancy, birth and the postpartum constitute a profound rite of passage. Expectant families are often guided to seek holistic approaches to enhance their birth experience. One such approach, which is gaining recognition, is the ancient practice of drumming. Rhythm is innate, and every culture around the world has (or has had) drumming traditions.
Beyond its musical and cultural significance, drumming offers a unique potential to support and empower and heal during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period.
Drumming can be part of bringing more sacredness to the pregnancy and birth journey. Pregnancy and birth are sacred processes which deserve reverence and a sense of ritual. In today’s modern healthcare system, where many births take place in hospital settings, it is essential to find ways to re-infuse the birthing process with a sense of sacredness. Adding this ritualistic element that can positively impact the birth experience.
During birth, the brain undergoes a modified state of consciousness/trance, due to the effect of birth hormones such as endorphins. This process is not recognised within the Western medical model of maternity care, and neither is the rite of passage/spiritual process. Drumming provides a way to reclaim this.
Drumming practices are often perceived as lacking evidence, yet a growing body of research provides evidence for significant neurophysiological and somatic effects. Controlled studies demonstrate that drumming can induce measurable changes in brain activity, hormonal levels, and physiological arousal. Current findings contradict outdated assumptions that drumming provides merely subjective spiritual or creative benefits. Published research substantiates drumming as a legitimate modality for inducing altered psychobiological states with applications spanning cognitive, emotional, social and physical wellbeing. The measurable impact of drumming on human neurobiology and physiology challenges its classification as an unscientific practice.
Aside from the trance/spiritual aspect, there are many scientifically proven effects of drumming that support the birth process. These include:
- Induces relaxation/calms the nervous system
- Changes brain waves (Alpha/Theta state-trance)- supporting the altered state of consciousness that needs to happen for labour to unfold.
- Increases endorphins
- Decreases stress
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Decreases anxiety/improves mood
- Supports giving birth as a rite of passage/ spiritual transition
“For labour, the best drumming is live, a drum and an intuitive drummer who you know and trust, who you feel comfortable to have in your birth space. This way the actual vibration of the drum beats will help reduce the pain of the contractions. If that isn’t possible you can reach the same level of focus with a recorded drum beat.” Jane Hardwick Collings
Women whose births I have supported by drumming confirm this:
“During my birth, the drumming felt a bit like when you are jogging and you have power music on, it gave me a power boost. It felt like it was saying “open up, relax, trust your body, have faith in the journey. It made me feel more confident in my abilities.” Leigh
“I wanted a doula who could drum for me during birth for many reasons, to mark a huge initiation, welcome my baby into the world to the sound of the universe’s heartbeat, to have something of me present in a medical situation, a reminder of the vast context of the process I was going through. The main thing I remember was my consciousness ascending with the drumbeat and connecting with my baby’s consciousness and bringing him into this reality before I did it physically.” Ailsa
“During labour, when contractions were on top of each other, it felt like the speed of the labour was taking over. The drum acted as a rhythm that I could hold onto, it held me open, soft, and I felt much calmer” Malwina
What does the workshop contain?
In this training, I will share history, evidence, stories and tutorials to show how simple and effective drumming is. The course will contain:
- A historical background of drumming
- Why drumming supports the birth journey, with scientific evidence
- Seeing and trying some of the range of drums (I have 20), and how to pick the right one for you
- A lot of practical drumming exercises, ranging from intuitive healing, to guided meditation, to shamanic journeys
- Stories to illustrate how healing and effective drumming is during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum, and to support women’s life transitions
- How to tailor what you offer your client’s needs and preferences
By the end of this course, you will know why drumming is such a powerful tool in supporting the birth journey. You will immediately be able to practise and offer drumming to others.
Who is this course for?
This course is for birth professionals and for parents who want to learn how to drum to support the birth journey and beyond.
It is only for supporting labour and birth?
No, by birth I mean birth in its wider sense, as in giving birth to a human child, but also giving birth to yourself, to a project etc. I see drumming as a tool to support through life’s transitions, for example, it is also extremely well suited to supporting fertility and conception, menarche, relationship changes, the perimenopause, or any period of self-growth. In the course, I will also teach you how to use the drum for intuitive healing.
What makes this course special?
I offer a unique blend of scientific, traditional, and practical knowledge. I have over ten years of experience in using drumming to support the birth journey.
About the instructor
I was introduced to shamanic drumming ten years ago and it ignited a deep desire to learn. I acquired my first drum shortly after. I birthed 3 drums and acquired many others. After years of self-teaching, I trained to become a Reiki Drum practitioner and teacher. Drumming is an active practice for me. I have been part of a closed circle of women for 3 years with whom I drum weekly in the woods each week, and I run shamanic drum circles in Cambridge. I use drumming in many of my pregnancy, birth and postpartum support sessions, from pregnancy healing to mother blessings to birth support and postpartum healing ceremonies. I have drummed at homebirths, birth centre births, and even in my local delivery unit.
I worked as a birth and postnatal doula for ten years. I also have a diploma in antenatal education and spent several years teaching antenatal classes. I have been facilitating workshops for birth professionals for over ten years, and online courses for 5 years. I know how to present information in a way that is entertaining, easy to follow, and which allows students to learn easily and enjoyably, as well as apply what they have learnt in the class immediately.
Prior to being a perinatal educator, I gained a PhD in Physiology of Reproduction and spent 20 years working as a biology research scientist. I also have a DiPhe in antenatal education.
I am the author of the book Why Postnatal Recovery Matters, published by Pinter and Martin.
When is the training taking place?
The live weekend of training will take place near Cambridge on the week-end of the 27th and 28th of January 2024
How much does it cost?
The in-person training workshop costs £349.