Young boy with Autism

ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder is usually diagnosed in children by the time they are 2 years old and lasts their entire lifetime. 

The severity of ASD varies greatly from those with very mild symptoms who live a full life to those needing full time care.

Some of the common traits of those with ASD are:
– repetitive behaviors like rocking
– being obsessed with a particular object or topic
– difficulty in making or maintaining eye contact
– high anxiety to changes in routine
– often repeating words or phrases
– social interaction and conversation problems
– difficulty with interpreting facial expression

There is no known cure for ASD to date so often the symptoms only are treated.  Medications are often prescribed to help with irritability, aggression, and hyperactivity. People are now looking at other ways to also manage symptoms.

4 ways that Reiki can make a difference are:
– reducing the level of anxiety that is being experienced and replacing it with calmness
– having a time out away from normal stressors so the mind can relax
– releasing stress from the body
– better sleep as the body is more relaxed

One of my clients was an 8 year old higher functioning, verbal, very active boy.  His grandma brought him to me as she was looking for a non-invasive way for him to experience what it felt like to be calm. 

He was learning to self-regulate himself.  His first Reiki session lasted maybe 7 minutes while he fidgeted and then he had had enough. 

The second session was completely opposite!  He came through the door, threw off his coat, grabbed his toy and was up on the massage table waiting for me to start.  His little body relaxed for a full 20 minutes before he said that he had enough.

His grandma said he was calmer for the week following each session.

Another client is a 22 year old high functioning, verbal woman whose mother was looking for a way to reduce her anxiety.  She says the Reiki helps her be calmer plus her dreams are less scary.

The parents and caregivers of those with ASD also can greatly benefit from Reiki.  They are often stressed and anxious as they tend to look after everyone else’s needs instead of their own.  In order to function at their best, their self-care is also crucial.

Reiki sessions last from 15 minutes for younger ASD children to 30 minutes for ASD adults and can be done with hands on or holding hands just above the body. 

Regular adult sessions last for 60 minutes.  Being a type of energy work, Reiki can also be done at a distance.

Multiple Reiki sessions have a cumulative effect and may be required to bring a more continual state of calmness and relaxation.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCAM) states that Reiki is a “part of complementary and alternative medicine” and is in no way a replacement for professional medical care.