The Exadon Initiative: Taiko Drumming for Health Promotion + Preventive Healthcare (Short Intro)

When I first joined Exadon,
I wasn’t doing so well physically, so I was slightly depressed, but I started
playing taiko and my fitness improved. Being introduced to Exadon on Sado really
opened my eyes to the infinite potential of what we can do with more intention
and awareness as a taiko community. The name “Exadon” is a coined word that combines
exercise, Sado, and “don” (the sound of a drum beat). Ready, GO!
(drums beating) Exadon originally started as a form of
dementia prevention, so the program has a range of activities that use your head
and body simultaneously, to help both. Exadon started about six years ago when
Sado City’s Senior Welfare Department approached us about a health promotion
program using taiko, driven by an expert, Dr. Yoshinori Morimoto, who is co-developing
the program with Kodo Cultural Foundation. It’s exercise, and we already knew that
routine exercise helps prevent dementia and improves people’s mental state. But I didn’t think everyone would be
this pleased by it. It exceeded my expectations. At first I thought I’d learn the correct way
to play taiko, but with each session I became stronger mentally, more proactive.
I used to be a bit shy before. Offering this taiko exercise, we learned
it increased the well-being of participants. So in a sense, in Japanese culture, I think
there may be an inherent trait in festivals and religion that increases the well-being
and happiness of the people involved. There’s the social interaction aspect where
you’re working on skills like turn taking, impulse control, listening to others
and responding, also the cognitive aspects of sequencing
and memory, and the physical benefits. Using both your arms is really powerful
for people with movement disorders. And so for me as a therapist,
it’s the jackpot of a therapy modality. Just hitting a taiko drum with your hand,
or any object, it makes a sound, so anyone can play taiko. The label of being disabled or being sick
melts away because everyone is able to play taiko together. You’re not fat or skinny, strong or weak.
Everyone is just a taiko player. I feel that’s what taiko does,
it creates connection. First of all, we want many people to find out
about Exadon, and we’d like professionals to get involved so many more people create
the program with us, add depth to it, and verify its effects. Also, we would like to
increase the number of Exadon facilitators who carry the program forward,
so please contact us if you’re interested.

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