I first decided to try energy therapy for A.D.D. with 8-year-old Eric. He had been on continual medication for many years and, even so, had a difficult time coping with “normal” life. I had no idea if energy work would help him, but he and his mother were willing to try it. A standard adult energy therapy session lasts an hour. Eric was a big boy, but with A.D.D. I thought I’d be lucky if he could stay quiet for 20 minutes, so I planned for that long. I would begin with a combination of Reiki and Earth Energy and use Therapeutic Touch to finish up.

I first did a full energy work session for Eric’s mother, so she would know what energy work felt like. Then Eric and I talked about what kind of music he liked and I chose some background music. This would give his mind something to occupy itself with if he got bored. (An interesting sidelight: I had a thunderstorm tape, and Eric was afraid of thunderstorms. He chose to listen to this tape several times during treatments, and we found that his fear was lessening.)

Reiki, Earth Energy work, and Therapeutic Touch are done with the client either sitting or lying down. The practitioner puts her hands on or near various parts of the client’s body and an energy adjustment or transfer occurs. I chose Earth Energy to cause a deep grounding in Eric—a settling into slower rhythms and a larger mental perspective. With one’s feet planted deep, one is calmer. Reiki deeply relaxes the body and emotions, and balances the energy system, which helps the body to correct A.D.D.’s chemical imbalances. Therapeutic Touch can cover more of the energy system in a short time than Reiki. Closing with a Therapeutic Touch technique would allow me a wider, though less deep, area of influence in the short time available.

Eric was fidgety at first, but after a few minutes he quieted down. After 20 minutes or so, when I was finishing up, he asked if I would mind if he took a nap! This was wonderful, as it showed he was responsive to the relaxation effects of Reiki, and also it gave me more time to work with him. We did a full session for his size—about 45 minutes. Afterwards I did a mini-session with his younger sister, who was feeling left out. Then Eric asked if I would “give him some more.” I did, for another 10 minutes. His mother and I were amazed that he liked it so much, and that he had gone to sleep.

Over the next week I did 3 sessions with Eric in his home. He would have the room prepared and remind his little sister to be quiet. He would tell me what tape he wanted to hear that day. (Another sidelight: Eric began to learn how to choose music to help him calm down when he needed to, outside our sessions.) We timed our energy therapy for the end of a medication period so that we worked as his medication wore off. There were two reasons for this: first, Reiki can undo the effects of certain drugs. We wanted our work to complement Eric’s present program, not leave him without a medication that his system was used to and still needed. Second, it allowed us to measure the effects of the energy work objectively. As it took effect over time, the need for the next dose of medication would occur later and later; less and less medication would be needed. By our third session Eric was postponing his next dose for an hour and a half.

Often when a child has A.D.D. the entire family is affected. The parent with primary child care responsibilities may be extremely fatigued, frustrated, or in other ways on a short rope. Because of the deep connections between parent and child, in these cases it is necessary to treat that parent fully, along with the child, in the beginning. The resulting easing of tension and stress in the parent helps the child’s treatment enormously.

When a person with A.D.D. finds energy work helps them, as Eric did, the road to normal function without medication will require treatment every day at first. One can easily self-treat with Reiki and Earth Energy. The Therapeutic Touch technique is a bit trickier to do for oneself, but it’s possible. I recommended Eric’s mother learn the techniques and that Eric learn to do as much as he could for himself. Children even as young as 3 years old can help themselves to an extent. The feeling of control and empowerment this brings to an A.D.D. child is wonderful.

Using your hands to help yourself or your child control A.D.D., including reducing or eliminating medication, may seem very far-fetched. Many healing modalities seem far-fetched when first introduced, yet eventually they become “normal” treatment. Nearly 100 cultures older than America consider energy work to be completely conventional. It is my hope that as it continues to prove itself in America, it will gain wide acceptance quickly.

©1994 Barbara Clearbridge home