I've written a lot about internal martial arts and the concept of aiki, but aiki has a cousin that's often neglected in martial arts conversations. Reiki, the Japanese concept of "Universal Life Energy," is a method of energy healing. First codified in the Usui Shiki Ryoho (Usui System of Natural Healing) by Dr. Usui Mikao, reiki involves stimulating the body's natural healing powers through the laying-on of hands. By connecting the practitioner's life force with the patient's, energy is stimulated within the body and concentrated on the ailment to promote fast and natural healing. So how does it work?
Through the vertical line, there are seven Chakras (energy centers). Energy flows through the Chakra system vertically, keeping the Chakras connected. When the Chakras are aligned, you are overcome with a sense of health and energy. You can tell when someone's Chakras are aligned simply by their interactions with you. They are confident, well-grounded and secure in their body. They're in touch with their emotions but are not overwhelmed by them. They're self confident in that they can manifest their own desires without dominating others, and lastly their body has a healthy radiance about it. In their presence, their positive energy cannot be ignored. Proper Chakra alignment also helps to stimulate the body's natural healing process. Therefore, your first reiki treatment session should include a Chakra alignment portion in addition to a full body energy stimulation.
Reiki is built around the concept that your internal energy (qi/chi in Chinese, ki in Japanese) is physiological and can be manipulated. Essentially, the body intuitively knows what's wrong however may not have the internal power to heal itself for many reasons (Chakra mis-alignment is a common one). Therefore when the reiki practitioner makes a connection, it's as if the recipient's energy has been super charged. It's for this reason that a reiki session can be very draining to the practitioner if not done correctly. Because you are stimulating the body's energy, a reiki treatment often feels radiant and instantly calming for the recipient, however everyone interprets it differently. The first time I received a reiki session, my muscles started to spasm and twitch from the slightest touch. From that moment, I was no longer a skeptic although I didn't quite understand it at the time.
From a martial arts perspective, it makes complete sense and is simply an extension of the aiki principle. Aiki is translated as "blending/joining energy" and refers to the connection made when an assailant comes into contact with our body. Because of the pre-conditioned state of aiki, the attacker is automatically "sucked in" and becomes one with us. When we receive their energy, process it and return it, it is amplified and causes instant off-balancing. This connection, first taught through the skeletal structure, is ultimately achieved through the body's soft tissue.
Aiki is essentially the drawing out of the opponent's instinctive, unconscious movement. When the connection is made, their body reacts to our movements instinctively as if we are one connected being. The connection in reiki is the same. The power of the reiki practitioner's body overcomes the negative energy of the recipient, instead re-charging it into positive energy and instinctively channeling it to the injury or ailment.
Once again, the concept of qi/ki is demonstrated not as some mystical force but something that can be felt and measured. I know it sounds like pseudo-science, however just like legitimate aiki, reiki must be felt to be believed.