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The Science

Benefits of Movement

From the Mayo Clinic

"Your secret weapon during cancer treatment? EXERCISE!"

Don't stop moving. Research confirms that exercising can help you not just survive but thrive during and after cancer.

The evidence keeps rolling in: Exercise can be one of your most important cancer treatments. For anyone dealing with a cancer diagnosis, that's great news. Starting — or maintaining — an exercise program can empower you to move out of a more passive "patient" role; it'll help improve not just your well-being but your attitude, too.

Any person with cancer should first discuss an exercise program with his or her health care provider. Once you've got the green light, start moving.

Exercise benefits

Many research studies support the idea that exercising during cancer treatment helps you feel better. Some of the documented benefits include:

·         Reduced depression and anxiety

·         Increased energy and strength

·         Reduced pain

Worried that it might not be safe? There's evidence to the contrary. For instance, when researchers reviewed 61 studies involving women with stage 2 breast cancer, they found that a combination of aerobic and resistance exercise was not only safe, it also improved health outcomes.

Other studies have found that exercise during treatment can actually change the tumor microenvironment and trigger stronger anti-tumor activity in your immune system. And very recent animal studies have found that exercise can lead to tumor reduction in rodents."

Health Benefits of Drumming 

Rhythm Research and Resources

Site prepared and maintained by Peter Scheer, MS, NCC, and Health Rhythms Facilitator.  


Senior advisor, Christine Stevens holds masters degrees in both social work and music therapy. The founder of UpBeat Drum Circles, Christine has appeared on NBC & PBS.   

These studies have statistically demonstrated a range of benefits; including improvement in many mood states, as well as physiological changes; including boosting the immune system, and even changing and rebuilding brain matter
This ongoing research, around the world, has now created a growing amount of evidence of the therapeutic effects of drumming. However, the documentation is scattered across many journals, research reports, scholarly papers, dissertations, and books making it easy to overlook the vast amount of evidence that group percussion is an effective and inexpensive way to significantly mitigate, and even reverse, many symptoms of distress, and lead to positive changes to our health and well being.  Even for those not in distress, drumming has been shown to be an effective way to promote wellness and reduce the chances of distress, disease, and disorder. 

Playing rhythms is a mindful practice that significantly reduces the effects of long term stress on the body. Mindful practices have been linked to the the same range of positive effects as well as promoting the reversal of cellular degeneration.   ( Search for telomerase and telomeres on this site)

Health Rhythms Research Summary

Numerous research studies have been published in peer reviewed journals which demonstrate the health & wellness benefits of our research-based HealthRHYTHMS Recreational Music-Making (RMM) protocol. HealthRHYTHMS Group Empowerment Drumming is Remo's internationally acclaimed research-based RMM program and is the basis for this research.

Impact on Immune System

Strengthens the Immune System (2001)


A healthy immune system is the key component to preventing infectious diseases. We are all exposed to millions of germs every day, so our reliance on our own immune system to fight off most potential infections is indisputable.

What do we mean it can strengthen the immune system? The study of 111 HealthRHYTHMS Group Empowerment Drumming participants showed a statistically significant increase in natural killer cell activity after a one-hour group session. Natural Killer cells (NK) are the white blood cells that seek out and destroy cancer and virally infected cells. Additionally, the protocol appears to reverse specific neuroendocrine and neuroimmune patterns of change associated with the classic stress response.

Read the Abstract

Read Remo Belli's Interview with Researcher, Barry Bittman, MD

Reducing Student Drop-Out Rate

Retains Students: Mood Improvement & Burnout Reduction (2004)


In July 2007, a report released by the PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute found that though the average nurse turnover rate in hospitals was 8.4%, the average voluntary turnover for first-year nurses was 27.1%. (GIH, 2008) Drop-out rates for nursing schools are rising further compounding this problem.

In this study the mood states of 75 first year associate degree nursing students were evaluated including: tension/anxiety, depression/dejection, anger/hostility, vigor/activity, fatigue/inertia and confusion/bewilderment. In spite of the fact that being required to participate in the study added additional time requirements to their schedule a 28.1% improvement in total mood disturbance was reported. Analysts project that these reductions in burnout and improvements in mood would likely reduce drop-out rates. This has the potential to positively impact the number of nurses completing nursing school and entering the nursing profession.

Read the Abstract

Quality of Life Improvements in At-Risk Adolescents

HealthRHYTHMS Adolescent Protocol is a catalyst for quality of life improvement

Despite the devotion of significant resources to rehabilitate juvenile delinquents (youth who have committed offenses that would be considered criminal in adults)a limited number of effective, replicable, evidence-based treatment strategies exist, which are supported by peer-reviewed research. This new research published in Advances Journal demonstrates significant improvements in these youths through the use of the HealthRHYTHMS adolescent protocol. In fact this is the first strategy we are aware of which may actually hold hope for reducing what some refer to as "the columbine effect" which has driven so many adolescents to commit horrible violent acts. (Instrumental Anger)

Read the Abstract

"This is an accessible, affordable and sustainable strategy that can positively impact juvenile rehabilitation." Barry Bittman, MD

Jim Donovan Health

Improves Blood Circulation

A study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine found that drumming helped improve blood circulation. It's believed that the rhythmic movement of the hands and feet helps stimulate the flow of blood through the veins and arteries.


Boosts Immunity

Drumming is used as an alternative therapy for people with various ailments. They may help boost immunity by increasing the production of white blood cells. 

National Library of Medicine


Reduces Inflammation

In a 2016 study published in PLOS One, during a 10 week drumming program with mental health service users, participants showed a decrease in depression symptoms, an increase in social resilience and a significant shift away from a pro-inflammatory towards an anti-inflammatory immune profile.


Boosts Mood

This 2014 study published in The Arts in Psychiatry reported significant positive effects on university students’ scores along all five spectrums of affective state (i.e., wide awake–drowsy, relaxed–anxious, cheerful–depressed, friendly–aggressive, and clear-headed–confused).


Better Cognitive Functioning

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Huntington's Disease reported that after two months of drumming training, improvements in executive function, cognitive enhancement and enhancements in the brain’s white matter were observed.


Relieves Stress and Anxiety

One of the most common reasons people drum together or alone is for reliable stress reduction. This 2018 study reports that a 10 week drumming series improved qualitative measures of well-being, agency, mood and social connection. And another 2016 study found that group hand drumming effectively relieved anxiety and depression. 


Reduces Pain

A 2012 University of Oxford study looking at drumming and music performance’s effect on pain and mood concluded that active, vigorous performance of music can lead to an Increased pain tolerance. This comes from a release of endorphins that produce a similar euphoria to opioids – without the risk of overdose. According to this study, continuous drumming likely triggers an  euphoric endorphin release in the central nervous system.

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