The Autism Spectrum Disorder and Reiki Relationship

Let’s take a look at Reiki as a tool of support for our loved community of gifted children, specifically diagnosed as Autism Spectrum Disorder…

How Can Reiki Help with ASD?

Studies and anecdotal reports indicate that Reiki may provide a number of different benefits to people who participate in sessions on a regular basis.

Some of the benefits that may be helpful for people with ASD may include:

A chance to connect with another person in a different way.
One of the hallmarks of ASD is difficulty with social interaction. Children and adults with ASD may find it difficult to make a connection with the people around them, whether they are family members or classmates. During Reiki sessions, an individual with ASD will have the chance to connect with his or her practitioner in a unique way.

Reduced stress and anxiety.
People with ASD are often fidgety and hyperactive. Studies have shown that exposure to Reiki may reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, which may in turn have a calming effect on individuals with ASD.

Healthier sleep patterns.
ASD can disturb sleep patterns significantly, which leads to exacerbated symptoms and more stress. Reiki may improve these sleep patterns, allowing the client to get a more restful, restorative sleep.

More control over the disorder.
The parents of children with ASD, as well as the children themselves, often feel that they are at the mercy of a disorder they cannot control. Reiki sessions allow both children and their caregivers to be proactive about dealing with symptoms and improving quality of life.

Challenges

Although some studies and reports indicate that Reiki may be helpful for people with ASD, performing Reiki on a client with this condition can be challenging for the practitioner. Especially in the case of young children, ASD makes it difficult to remain still and calm for extended periods of time. Because Reiki sessions require the client to be still, this can present a problem. Some parents of children with ASD have found that Reiki sessions are more successful when the child is drowsy or asleep. Other parents report that beginning with a shorter Reiki session and gradually working up to a longer one is effective for children with ASD. I highly recommended finding a practitioner who is familiar with and embraces the ASD child’s perspectives and boundaries. Make sure that your practitioner is aware of the diagnosis and the potential challenges before the first session so that he or she can prepare properly. A short initial 15 to 30 minute session may be appropriate.

Reiki for Caregivers

The effects of Autism Spectrum Disorders aren’t restricted to the person with the diagnosis. Parents and other caregivers of children with ASD also deal with significant worry, fatigue and emotional turmoil as they attempt to care for the affected individual. In many cases, these caregivers even experience physical problems as a result of the ongoing stress. Reiki may help caregivers to deal with some of these issues so that they can provide better care for their child. Specifically, caregivers who participate in Reiki sessions may benefit from lower stress levels, less anxiety and better quality of sleep. Participating in Reiki sessions may also help the caregiver to improve his or her understanding of the purpose of these sessions, the procedure used and the nature of the results.

Reiki is not a substitute for medical treatment. However, some of its effects may be beneficial to children and adults with ASD. Because Reiki produces no side effects and poses no risk of complications, it can be used in conjunction with medication and other therapies. Reiki’s role is as an adjunct therapy to support traditional care and is used with many symptomatic illnesses and disorders as a complementary therapy.

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