Human Spiritual Structure: Energy Work
Notes in progress © 1998-2002 Alan McAllister  

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Tai Chi and Chi Gong

The martial art called Tai Chi Chuan, is perhaps the most internal (spiritual) of the martial arts. It focuses directly on the flow of chi and its use in interacting with other persons. The cultivation of this art involves training to locate and release blockages in the body and mind due to both physical and mental tension. As these blockages are released, the chi flows more freely and strongly in the body, and the mind is calmer and more centered. Grounding naturally increases and the person is harder to move or attack.

There is a set of warm up exercises referred to as "monkey dancing" which loosen the joints and start the key flowing in the body. They are excellent first thing when rising from sleep.

Chi Gong are breathing and other exercises that promote the circulation of chi in the body.


Reiki is energy that comes from the universe, a source of life energy or prana, which may be channeled to heal the physical body. While it may also affect other levels of the being, it is seen as working mainly on the physical level.

The Rieki practitioner does not heal, but rather channels the energy which itself does the healing. This energy is always there waiting to be received by any person who has been attuned to it. This attunement can be done for anyone by a trained Reiki Master. Beyond this attunement there is no real teaching, only practice. However, certain positions for the hands and other experience are passed on from teacher to student.[RHT] The standard hand positions cover most of the body and are loosely correlated with the chakras. They may be used for either self healing or healing of another. [RF]

As the energy flows through the practitioners hands they may feel warm, or tingling. These sensations vary from practitioner to practitioner, but may allow them to sense the strength of the flow. The flow is controlled by the patients body, at a level above the conscious mind. The body directs the energy to areas which are ready to receive healing, and the energy flows until the healing is done, or the capacity of the body at that time is reached. The practitioner simple feels the energy flow and is guided by their intuition and perception of the energy as to where to place the hands (if not following the basic routine) and how long to keep them in any given place. The Reiki energy can flow through all physical materials, so clothes or casts are not a hindrance. It can also be directed to distant patients. [RHT]

The main condition for Reiki to work, is the belief of the practitioner. If the practitioner does not believe the energy will not flow. The attitude of the patient is not important. Also the practitioner must practice, otherwise the flow may dry up and the channel atrophy.[RHT] On the other hand the mood of the practitioner is important for how they experience a healing session, it does not affect the recipient (at least via the reiki flow).[RF]

Conditions that have developed over time, usually require time to heal as well, involving repeated treatments over time. In many cases the body will need to release physical toxins and so there may be physical symptoms such as headaches, diarrhea, or nausea. acute cases, from accidents or sudden illness are said to recover faster, often with a single treatment. Terminal cases cannot in general be cured, as they are too advanced and the time required to long to reverse the damage. Reiki may still benefit these people by relieving suffering and easing the transition. Likewise organs cannot be regenerated, nor can birth defects be repaired. [RHT]

Treating the root cause is advocated, once the presenting symptoms have been relieved. In order to do this a complete treatment is usually recommended. At times the root lies in habits of diet or exercise which must be changed in order to enable a prominent cure. Treating the abdomen (The Foundation Treatment) is favored as much of the imbalance in the body comes from the imbalance of the main internal organs. The central position of the abdomen is also found in methods of working with the flow of chi in the meridians, e.g. shiatsu, or acupuncture. Also considered major areas are the back and the head. These three contain all the organs, glands, and major systems. The limbs and extremities may also be treated when specifically involved. Although the full treatment is preferable even a little Reiki is better than none. [RHT]

Reiki is a means of enhancing and accelerating the natural healing processes of the body, helping to restore balance and strength. E.g. once a bone is set, Reiki can speed its knitting. It will also help the mental and spiritual layers of the mind to grow and become balanced and whole.[RHT] In general it will promote spiritual growth, but like anything it can be turned into an ego trip, intention is the key. [RF]

In performing long distance healing with reiki (or psychic methods) it is also good to examine one's intention. Is one avoiding a more direct way to address an issue? It is also important not to "heal" people that have not asked for you to heal them. Receiving unrequested energy may not be pleasant or welcome. [RF]

The symbols trace their roots back to India, from whence they moved to Tibet, China, and Japan. They are found in both the Shinto and Buddhist traditions in Japan. The current versions of the first two symbols are slight modifications of the Sanskrit originals. The pronunciation is Japanese. The third symbol is based on kanji, as is the Master symbol. The latter is used also by Japanese Buddhists in meditation. [RF]

One of the great advantages of Reiki philosophy, is that there is no diagnosis (although information may come to the healer during the process) necessary, and no action necessary. This keeps the aham (ego) from identifying with the process, making surrender much easier. This way of thinking is close to the heart of Brahmacarya. In fact it is said that it cannot be abused. If a practitioner were to use it for anything other than the good of the patient, the power will fade and the energy cease to flow. [AHM]

In practical terms this is an important point for healers, as when there is a sense of doing, it is easy to lose neutrality or non-attachment. The result can be to take on the problems of the patient, healing them by making oneself ill, or to pour their own energy into the patient. Since one is only a channel, there is no drain of one's own energy, nor acquisition from the patient. In fact the Reiki will "fill up" the practitioner first, before pouring into the patient. Therefore one actually receives energy when using it for others. It can also be directly applied to the practitioner herself. [AHM]

Reiki is not channeling of entities, beings, etc. It is a channeling of life force through the crown chakra, through the heart chakra, down the arms and out through the hands. [RF]


The use of fine metal needles inserted in the body at specific points along the meridians (energy channels) to stimulate or unblock the flow of chi. At a subtler level the needles are a tool for guiding the chi of the practitioner. The goal of treatment is to balance the flows in the various meridians so that they and the body in general are in balance. This art has a history of 3,000 years in China and an extensive body of theoretical explanation.

One principle used in acupuncture and shiatsu is to treat points along a meridian through an imbalanced region that are located at some distance away in the body. This indirect treatment is particularly necessary in acute cases, where the main problem area is too weak to work on directly. In particular one end of a meridian is closely associated with the opposite extremity, e.g. stimulating the point at the crown (GV meridian) to treat hemorrhoids. This principle may also be applied in the yogic techniques for awakening the chakras . [TC]


Shiatsu is based on the same theory as acupuncture, but the practitioners chi is applied more directly through physical pressure of the fingers, elbows and knees. This contact is used to sense the chi of the patient as well as to guide that of the practitioner.


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Created March, 1998.
Last updated April 25, 2005.
© Alan McAllister

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