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Reiki: Could This Alternative Treatment Help Adult ADD?

Reiki is a natural therapy from Japan used to relieve stress, but can it ease attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms, such as inattention and poor sleep? The ADHD Coach takes it for a test run.

Peace: It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work β€” it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

That’s the quote Reiki Master/Teacher Rickie Freedman (“Reiki by Rickie“) uses as her e-mail signature. I think it’s so true, especially for adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who live in the midst of chaos. We yearn for a calmer place, a clearer mind.

Reiki is one way to achieve a state of relaxation, according to Rickie, who has worked with a good number of ADHD clients in her 15 years as a Reiki healer, including her own son. She says, “Reiki can be extremely helpful with ADHD as it can help quiet your mind, and assist with [finding] clarity and direction in your life. It is the quickest way I know to stillness and inner-peace.”

Reiki is not endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which recommends treating ADHD in children and adolescents aged 6 to 18 with FDA-approved medications, plus parent training in behavior modification and behavioral classroom interventions. Likewise, research confirms that “stimulant medications are most effective, and combined medication and psychosocial treatment is the most beneficial treatment option for most adult patients with ADHD.” All ADHD treatment decisions should be made in consultation and coordination with a licensed medical provider.

[Free Download: The ADDitude Guide to Alternative ADHD Treatment]

What is Reiki?

In simple terms, Reiki is a form of energy healing. It connects our personal energy with the energy of the Universe (a.k.a. Spirit, Source, Truth, The Divine, God, whatever you want to call it), kind of like plugging in a rechargeable battery. It balances and aligns vital energy centers in the body. It releases the stress and tension accumulated in day-to-day activities, which, as a result, gently soothes our emotions and calms our overactive brains.

Basically, it helps heal whatever’s ailing you, physically, emotionally, or mentally.

I had my first Reiki session almost a year ago. It was something I had been interested in for a long time, but had never had a real reason to try it. I had heard amazing things about it from friends who had grown used to living with daily discomfort from chronic health issues. With Reiki, however, stomach problems disappeared, knee pain went away. I went mostly out of curiosity, to find out what it’s all about, since I didn’t have any physical ailments. What I did have, like many of you, was an inability to concentrate, and a block in my creative flow. On a whim (ADHD impulsivity?), I scheduled an appointment with Rickie.

What Is a Reiki Session Like?

The session lasted for about an hour. Rickie had me lie down on a table and covered me with a light blanket and an eye pillow. It was similar to a massage, but without the physical contact. At times, her hands rested gently on my body, and at others they hovered directly over it, moving slowly from my head to my feet. There was music playing, but it’s not necessarily a standard part of Reiki treatments. Unlike hypnosis, another alternative healing method, there is no direct instruction to think β€” or not think β€” about anything in particular.

[Can Hypnotherapy Treat Symptoms of ADHD?]

How Can a Reiki Session Improve the Symptoms of ADHD?

By the end of my session, I felt incredibly relaxed. So much so that I had to sit for a while before I was able to drive home. This stress-free state lasted for a few days. I found that not only was I calmer, but I was able to focus! I was able to think. I was able to write. Coherent ideas finally started coming to me. I had clarity I hadn’t experienced in a long time. I thought it was probably the Reiki, but I also thought it could have been a coincidence. So I went for a second session a few weeks later. Same results, but this time they lasted nearly a week. I noticed my sleeping problems were beginning to dissipate, and I was able to take things in stride that would normally have upset me. In short, I felt at peace. I am now convinced that the improvement in my mental functioning and emotional well-being was a result of the Reiki.

Why I Will Continue to Use Reiki to Manage My ADHD

I recently took a class from Rickie and learned how to do Reiki for self-healing and healing others. I hope some day to be able to share this alternative ADHD treatment to help my coaching clients. For now, I’m just using it for myself and my family. It seems to be continuing to help with my ADHD symptoms. I used to sit on the couch and “listen to the radio.” By that I mean listen to all the thoughts racing around in my mind. At times, there was so much going on in there, that all I could do was sit and listen to it β€” fighting it would have been fruitless. (Pausing to check mental status…) Yep, my head is totally clear today. Seems like it’s been a while since the broadcast has been on. I’m much more calm and relaxed these days.

Is There Any Research About Using Reiki to Help Treat ADHD?

I’m not aware of any research specifically linking Reiki as a treatment for ADHD. However, my own experience, and the testimony from my Reiki teacher and others, is compelling, and, to me, it makes sense logically.

Is Reiki Worth it?

If you could use some peace and inner-calm, give Reiki a try. It’s often available at wellness centers for about the same price as a massage, which can vary widely depending on where you live. In my area, the cost is about a dollar a minute. You may not have the same results that I did, but unlike some other treatments, it can’t hurt.

[Homeopathic Remedies for ADHD: Research and Reviews of Popular Options]