Typically, when I talk about qigong, I’m talking about self healing. Most of my work involves helping people to get the body’s internal energy (or qi) flowing, and thus maximize their natural ability to heal.
But there’s another aspect of qigong, and one that I actually have quite a bit of experience with. Some masters, after practicing for many years, can also transmit qi to another person. This enables him or her to maximize healing in another person.
Before we go further in, let’s talk briefly about terminology. There’s a slew of different terms being used, and this can get confusing. I’ve seen all of the following terms in common usage:
- External Qi Therapy
- External Qigong Treatment
- External Qi Transmission
- Emitted Qi
- Energy Healing
- Qi Transmission
- Medical Qigong Therapy
All of these phrases point toward the same phenomenon: The technique of projecting bioenergy outside the human body, typically for healing purposes.
I use the term “External Qi Transmission” because I think it’s the most accurate of the bunch.
External Qi Transmission is nothing new. It’s as old as Qigong itself, which of course is thousands of years old.
But it seems like, over the past few years, there is more research being done not just about qigong and tai chi, but specifically about External Qi Transmission.
Personally, I think that this is a good thing, and I fully support it. If the studies are crafted intelligently, and the masters chosen carefully, then I have no doubt that the studies will demonstrate not only the reality, but the effectiveness of External Qi Transmission.
If you’re raising your eyebrows right now, if your world view doesn’t allow for energy to be projected from one person to another — well, I can relate.
Once upon a time, I myself didn’t believe in this kind of mumbo jumbo either. So I can’t say that I blame you.
However — your disbelief doesn’t change the fact that energy projection is very real.
I’m not saying that all examples of External Qi Transmission out there are real. I’ve seen some pretty sketchy examples on YouTube. But that’s just the way of the world. Some examples are fake; and some are real (even on YouTube). C’est la vie.
Below are some of my own, real-life experiences with the phenomenon of External Qi Transmission.
Story #1: Qi vs. a Table
In late 2005, I was attending a seminar in Miami with my former teacher, Sifu Wong. I drove down from Gainesville, and I brought a few of my students along with me.
I was a fledgling Sifu (teacher) at the time, and although I had a good amount of qi built up from many years of training, I didn’t know how to apply it for healing others.
At the time, I was also a graduate student in acupuncture college, so I was highly interested in the subject of External Qi Transmission.
I asked my Sifu about transmitting energy. “You already have plenty of Qi,” he said. “And you’re also healthy, which is important. Now you need to learn how to transmit qi for healing.”
He taught me how to project Qi using special hand postures, breathing techniques, and visualizations. Then he showed me how to use my energy to open specific points and meridians on the body. (I already knew the points and meridians because of my acupuncture training; I just didn’t know what to do to them!)
A few days later, while having breakfast, my Sifu suddenly said, “Try transmitting qi to your student’s hand.”
My student, Chris, had joined us for breakfast. Although he was (and is) a dedicated student, he was relatively new at the time.
“No pressure,” I joked. Sifu Wong liked to test me by putting me on the spot. As much as I hate to admit it, this can be an effective teaching method. Nevertheless, I silently hoped that I wouldn’t mess it up and possibly lose a good student in the process.
My Sifu asked Chris to hold out both of his hands and to close his eyes. I summoned up my qi, and then projected it using a hand posture called the “Sword Finger”. The idea was for Chris to feel which of his palms, the left or the right, was receiving the qi.
Actually, he was able to feel it surprisingly easily. He said that it was quite obvious to him, and he was able to guess the correct hand repeatedly. “Whew,” I thought to myself, happy that I wasn’t going to lose a good student.
“Now through the table,” my Sifu said, sipping his coffee, smiling, and enjoying himself thoroughly.
So Chris held his hands below the restaurant table, and I repeated the qi transmission.
Same result. In fact, it seemed like the table had zero effect on the transmission whatsoever. Chris was able to feel the energy in his hand even with the table in the way.
Story #2: Seeing is Believing
After my wife had surgery for cancer in 2005, she suddenly started getting severe menstrual cramps. When I say severe, I mean sobbing-and-moaning severe. The pain was intense, despite all of her efforts to heal it.
At the time, my wife was an intern at one of the best acupuncture colleges in the country, and she had access to several senior acupuncturists. Acupuncture and herbs helped a bit with the pain, but not enough. She was desperate, so I decided to give it a shot using External Qi Transmission.
We did several sessions in the clinic at the acupuncture college (where my wife and I met). Using External Qi Transmission, I was able to alleviate her pain better than any other therpy.
My theory is that the qi was able to penetrate deeply into her tissue, just like it went through the table. Once it penetrated the tissue, it was able to help the body’s energy to heal itself.
After one of the sessions, an acupuncture physician who was watching said the following to me: “If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it.”
Story #3: Freaking Out a Friend
Speaking of disbelief, I once completely freaked out a skeptic who also happens to be a dear friend of mine.
In 2008, I went back to New York for a visit. I had moved to Florida in 2004 to attend acupuncture college, but I still had friends and family back in NYC.
While there, I saw an old friend — one whom I had known since high school. While cooking dinner, she accidentally burned herself. Later that evening, she complained about the pain from the burn.
“I can probably fix that for you,” I offered casually. She looked at me like I was crazy. But then again, she was an old friend and already knew that I was crazy. So she agreed, albeit reluctantly.
I charged my palm with qi, and then held it over the burn for about 5 minutes. This was another technique I had learned. It’s slightly different than opening the energy points with the Sword Finger, but very effective.
After 5 minutes of holding my palm above her burned skin, the pain was gone.
My friend was quietly freaking out, and got up to go pour herself a glass of wine. When she sat down, she looked visibly shaken.
“You just got rid of my pain — without touching me,” she said after a pregnant pause.
I had underestimated her skepticism. Over the years, I had gotten more and more casual with the reality of External Qi Transmission. To me, it was no longer mysterious. It was a natural, if unexplained, phenomenon.
But my friend wasn’t on the same page yet. At the time, she worked in bioscience research at a prestigious university. External Qi Transmission was not something that was in her window of possibility. In fact, I had seriously challenged her world view by taking away her pain.
As I watched her sip her wine, it occurred to me that the pain of having her world view shattered was probably worse than the pain from the burn.
To be continued?
This post turned out to be longer than I expected. I’ve still got several more stories to share, as well as my own thoughts about the phenomenon of External Qi Transmission. Shall I continue in another post later?
UPDATE: You can read part 2 of this article here.Mindfully yours, Sifu Anthony I’m Anthony Korahais, and I used qigong to heal from clinical depression, low back pain, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. I’ve already taught thousands of people from all over the world how to use qigong for their own stubborn health challenges. As the director of Flowing Zen and a board member for the National Qigong Association, I'm fully committed to helping people with these arts. In addition to my blog, I also teach online courses and offer in-person retreats and workshops.