Who Founded HealthRHYTHMS?

The HealthRHYTHMS Group Empowerment Drumming Protocol was developed by neurologist Barry Bittman, MD in collaboration with Remo Inc.. Remo was interested in discovering ways to use the company's core competencies to make the world a better place. 

At the conclusion of the study of the immune system effects, Christine K. Stevens, MSW, MT-BC, MA, Karl Bruhn and Barry Bittman, MD worked together to develop the training program to teach the specific protocol which demonstrated a healthful biological impact. The protocol was named “HealthRHYTHMS”. The first training program was offered in 2001. HealthRHYTHMS facilitation training teaches participants to facilitate the research-based HealthRHYTHMS protocol. 

Who is HealthRHYTHMS For?

One thing that makes HealthRHYTHMS unique is that it can be adapted to virtually any population. (Exceptions) It’s for you – HealthRHYTHMS teaches you strategies for nurturing, reducing stress and building camaraderie and support through drumming.

HealthRHYTHMS is a group empowerment drumming protocol that is utilized in clinical, workplace, education and wellness settings.

Partial list of clinical applications: Drug & Alcohol Treatment, Oncology, Cardiology, Pulmonary, Psychiatric, Mood Disorders, Eating Disorders, Post Traumatic Stress, At-risk Youth, Developmental Disabilities, Partial list of Workplace applications: Stress Reduction, Workplace Wellness, Employee Teambuilding, Change Management, Partial list of Education Applications: After School Programs, Rhythm-Based Curriculum Integration, Character Education Integration, Special Needs, Staff Wellness, Partial list of Wellness Applications: Conferences & Retreats, Faith-Based Programs, Yoga Centers, Intergenerational Programs, and Community Outreach 

How to Begin Your Own HealthRHYTHMS Program?

9 Steps to Planning your own HealthRHYTHMS® Program

1. Define Purpose– It all starts with the purpose of the program for the needs of your setting.

Whether you are there to reduce stress, resolve conflict, offer support, improve morale, or just to offer a fun activity…defining your purpose is the place to begin. 

2. Acquire Instruments & Equipment - The HealthRHYTHMS Collections are designed to meet the instrument needs for HealthRHYTHMS sessions. The instruments are selected to align with the steps of the protocol and provide a balance of ambient, percussive rhythm and drum sounds. 

3. Storage Space -Where you will store your instruments is important. We do not recommend that you store them in extreme temperatures. But our products are extremely durable and and are not affected by temporary temperature fluctuations. This will give you an idea of how much space you’ll need. These are estimates based upon the boxed dimensions. If you take them out of the boxes to store them they will require less space. HealthRHYTHMS Essentials Collection (DP-0085-00 Boxed) – 3’ x 4’ x 4’ (approximate)

4. Select Location – 

Right Size: Large enough for all participants to be seated in a circle. It is important that your HealthRHYTHMS participants be seated in a circle (not an oval). So be sure that your room size will accommodate a circle of chairs for your group size.

Considerate: Plan a location where others won’t be disturbed when you drum. Be mindful of applicable noise ordinances if drumming outdoors. (usually after 10PM) 

Accessible: Also be sure your location is accessible for bringing in instruments & equipment. A secluded island location may be beautiful, but could create a hardship if you are hiking two miles with all the equipment. Comfortable: Participant comfort is critical. Choose locations with temperature control, or advise participants in advance to layer clothing for temperature comfort. 

5. Choose Time - The program lasts 1 to 1 and ½ hours. Recommended scheduling times; for example, an evening program or after-lunch program, or start the day program. 

6. Find Trained Facilitator- Train your staff or consult with a HealthRHYTHMS trained facilitator from our facilitator finder. Having a HealthRHYTHMS trained facilitator is vital to your program success. Find one now.

7. Plan Program Launch - Create a special launch of the program, inviting key staff and providing copies of the research and clear explanation of health benefits. The HealthRHYTHMS Facilitators Business Kit (FBK), provided free to all HealthRHYTHMS Trained Facilitator’s at the training, is a comprehensive set of marketing tools which will facilitate launch.

8. Advertise – Flyer and/or permission-based email. (Flyer templates are included in the Facilitator's Business Kit included in our training program). 

9. Evaluate – Plan a method that allows participants to anonymously rate the program on a scale of 1 – 10 and add their own open-ended comments. Understanding the impact of the program on participants will help you target the best applications of the program for your organization. 

Tips were provided by Christine Stevens, Alyssa Janney & Frank Thompson


A contraindication is a specific situation in which a drug, procedure, or surgery should NOT be used, because it may be harmful to the patient. (Medline Plus, 2008). Though HealthRHYTHMS Group Empowerment Drumming utilizes drums not drugs, it is important to note that there may be circumstances where it is not appropriate. The ten-step protocol can be adapted for most any population within health care, education, corporations, and outreach contexts. However, because the ten-step protocol includes an imagery component, it is not recommended for use with psychotic populations. Psychiatric professionals have reported successful adaptation of the program for use with psychotic populations by simply eliminating the imagery component. However, we have not scientifically researched this adaptation.

Endorsements & Affiliations

Remo, Inc. is actively involved in the promotion of music therapy and whole person models of care through our affiliations with a variety of music therapy & healthcare organizations.

American Music Therapy Association - As a patron member for more than 20 years Remo, Inc. supports a variety of music therapy programs and projects at both the regional and national level. Planetree - HealthRHYTHMS Group Empowerment Drumming is the "Recreational Music-Making Program of Choice for Planetree". Visit for more information about this whole person model of healthcare provision. Planetree Hospitals across the country are using our HealthRHYTHMS program for patients and staff. This research-based protocol has been incorporated at the corporate level into their Planetree Coordinator program. 

American Holistic Nurses Association - We value our membership in the AHNA. As the definitive voice for holistic nursing, the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) promotes the education of nurses, other healthcare professionals, and the public in all aspects of holistic caring and healing. Holistic nursing is defined as all nursing practice that has healing the whole person as its goal. (AHNA, 1998)

World Federation of Music Therapy - A patron member of the WFMT Remo supports music therapy around the world. We were very proud when Music Therapist and HealthRHYTHMS Endorsed Facilitator Annie Heiderscheit became president of the WFMT.