Left Brain, Right Brain, Whole Brain – Rhythm & Hemispheric Synchronization

Swimming.  Juggling.  Marching.  Ambidexterity.  Drumming.  What do all these activities and skills have in common?  They all utilize hemispheric synchronization, or both sides of the brain (left and right) working at the same time.  Most of us know that the left brain is reserved for more analytical skills, and the right brain for more creative skills, but did you know that bridging the gap between the two can offer a whole host of mental and physical benefits?

From the Book of Good Practices:  “The two sides of the brain are connected by the corpus callosum, which transfers information back and forth between left and right hemispheres, allowing the brain to function as a whole unit.”

What can hemispheric synchronization enhance?

Various studies have been conducted to determine how hemispheric synchronization can have an effect on well-being.  Some have turned up results that include:

  • better sleep
  • more creativity
  • improved immunity
  • enhanced mental processing
  • reduced stress
  • less fatigue
  • potential reduction in addictive tendencies

How can drumming facilitate left-right brain communication?

Michael Drake notes that “the sound of drumming creates strong, repetitive neuronal firing in the auditory pathway that could block out other sensory stimuli.”  This repetition of sound can help to block out the left brain’s tendencies to continually process and evaluate environmental stimuli; in other words, it helps put you in a state of ‘in-the-moment being’ that allows you to momentarily dismiss your worries, concerns, stresses, and other busy thoughts.

Drum circle facilitator Judy Atkinson leads a group in a rhythmic exercise which requires the participants to continually change their dominant hand from left to right in a rhythmic pattern in threes.  This challenges participants to shift away from their comfort zone of playing patterns with their dominant hand, which offers mental benefits and gives the brain a workout!

This is especially the case when drumming with both hands, or with two drumsticks.  The continual left-right repetition of patterns helps strengthen the corpus callosum, the neural pathway between the left and right brains.

Want to strengthen hemispheric integration?

Drumming is a great way to do it!  You can also check out these activities that work with balance and bi-lateral movement.  The upshot is that you could experience improved mental and physical dexterity, which can improve your quality of life in the long term.  Pick up a drum today!

 

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