Research proves what we’ve has always known, that making music helps people feel better.

Participating in group drumming, or drum circles, has been clinically proven to raise the killer cell count in cancer patients.  Check out the research below and any of the 1000’s more online articles and you’ll see that drumming helps people deal with all kinds of challenges.  How does it work?  No one knows.  We do know that people who stay engaged in life and connected to others have better chances at positive outcomes than those who become isolated.  Which means that the connection, engagement, and joy people experience when participating in a drum circle can be great “medicine”.  The problem is, you can’t always find a drum circle when you need one!  In her years working with cancer patients, Saragail Benjamin perceived a need.  She says, “I thought it would be so wonderful if anyone, anywhere, anytime, could play drums and feel better.”  Now, with an internet connection and a set of headphones, everyone can.

Use Saragail’s Playalong App in any situation where you’d rather be somewhere else, experiencing just about anything else.  Playing the app will get you out of your head, away from sad, scary thoughts, and can give you a buffer from pain.  Connect with the drumming you’re doing and the drumming, music, and people of the video.  Not exactly the same as a real, live drum circle, but it’s fun and it’s a good substitute.  Let yourself get involved with the music.  Let everything in–the sights and sounds of your favorite videos, and the sounds you’re making.  Immerse yourself in the total experience while your imagination and your spirit take you where you need to be be.


  • When you’re getting chemo, transfused, waiting in the doctor’s office
  • When you’re feeling ill, scared, bored, lonely, or sad
  • When you’re in pain
  • On your own
  • With a friend, caregiver, or family member–for example, one person can play the LEFT buttons, the other can play the RIGHT
  • With a mobile device & headphones, so you can play anywhere, anytime, in lots of different settings & not disturb anyone around you
  • If you won’t bother anyone, play with your speakers blasting!
  • Vocalize your own sounds & FX–use the app as a starting point.  Add your own laughing, drum, monster & fairy sounds, or anything you like–just have fun!
  • At any age–all ages benefit from the therapeutic joy of making music

Here is a sampling of research on the benefits of musical activity and cancer. There are 1000’s more articles online.
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.
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For many people, listening to or making music is an absolute pleasure. Consider also that music, a beloved form of entertainment for some and a passion or career for others, has a significant role in the care of cancer patients. Music therapy may accompany medical treatment to promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, enhance memory, help patients communicate and express feelings, and even promote physical rehabilitation. Studies have shown that making or listening to music can even lower blood pressure and heart and breathing rates. But, according to Dr. Deforia Lane, director of music therapy at University Hospitals of Cleveland Ireland Cancer Center, music’s most precious contribution to individuals undergoing cancer treatment is how it can stir a person at the core, bringing out and honoring the real person behind the diagnosis and allowing for more freedom of self-expression.”
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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
“Although cancer can sometimes deplete the human spirit, music therapy can uplift and transform — bringing the mind, body, and soul into harmony. Until you or someone you love is battling cancer, you may not be able to understand the magnitude of the illness and how it can affect you emotionally, physically, and spiritually.”
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“Singing, playing an instrument or even just listening to music may lessen anxiety in cancer patients and improve their overall quality of life, according to a new analysis of previously published research.”
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Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
“Music therapy is offered to some cancer patients through Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Integrative Medicine Service. Music therapist Karen Popkin describes how playing relaxing music for patients or engaging them in musical activity can help them cope with the emotional and physical demands of treatment, such as fatigue, pain, and depression. Popkin notes that music, which stimulates several areas of the brain, may be especially helpful for brain cancer patients.”
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American Cancer Society
“Many people find listening to music relaxing, soothing, and enjoyable. For cancer patients, it also can be a way to cope with some of the symptoms of their disease and side effects of their treatment. New research supports listening to recorded music, as well as music therapy, to improve anxiety, pain, mood, quality of life, heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure in cancer patients.”
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