When people talk about aided chi generation, external chi-healing usually come to mind. I am not talking about that subject here (interested readers can refer to my previous post The secret of external chi healing). I want to discuss the subject of aided chi generation with physical contact. In particular, I would like to compare Abhisheka (灌頂), Chi-empowerment (灌氣) and tai-chi pushing hands.
All kinds of aided chi generation (external or otherwise) require trust and interaction between the teacher/healer and his student/client. Abhiseka means, in Tibetan Buddhism, pouring water onto a student's head to increase his chi-power and/or to signify his stage-achievement. When applied in some Thai practice, it is transformed into an aided chi generation technique as well as a signifier of one's devotion when a favor is asked from the respective Deity. The technique is simple, a student is required to sit upright in a meditative mode. The teacher will pour a bowl of cold water to his head from the crown. The student will be wiped clean immediately afterwards. The cold water will create a mild shock effect, and the resultant chi stimulated by the cold water will give rise to a temporary surge of warm chi towards the student's head. The devoted, hopefully, will get some enlightenment or insight during this moment. To a practitioner who is practicing water-fall meditation or cold shower meditation, this is primary school as far as chi-intensity is concerned (i.e. without disregarding the spiritual benefit involved).
Chi-empowerment can be problematic when massive chi transfer is involved in meditative mode. In order to be successful, the two persons must have complete trust on each other. While connecting physically, for example through palms touching, the giver will transmit chi while the receiver will allow chi going into his body (with the receiver's body acting like a spring to absorb chi, both from the breathing energy of the giver and the receiver). This kind of chi-empowerment however is not always value-free. The reason is that chi is oftentimes linked to a person's personality. When chi from giver's body goes into the receiver's body, part of the former's personality will enter too! This will however be perfectly fine if the student intends to simulate the personality or perception of his master. Having said that I have read literature that says even in cases with respectable gurus, psychological dependencies can be fostered. Too much dependency can sometimes create problem (check my previous post on the subject HERE).
Having said that in certain situation of healing, a mild chi-empowerment is quite useful. I am talking about chi-empowerment to heal the elderlies. With proper technique, a chi-healer can synchronize his chi with the breathing mechanism of his elderly patient; thereby making the patient's body accept chi generation as per mechanism stated above. It is a good method for increasing mobility or alleviating joint-problems in the elderlies. There are of course other applications too. In short, it is a form of mild healing.
Tai-chi pushing hands can also be used as a form of powerful aided-chi generation. It is my speculation that it was being used widely as such during the time when Yang-style Grandmaster, the famous Yang Lu Chan (楊露禪) taught the Manchu royalties in the Qing Dynasty. It was a great way for the young royalties to build a strong structure without really trying it hard. It is a kind of moving chi-empowerment, like tai-chi form being moving meditation. Tai-chi was always moving, and always advanced during the classic era. This method demands a lot of energy and dedication from the sifu, and needless to say a lot of trust and patience on the part of the student. Since the objective in tai-chi pushing hands is physical structural building, psychological dependency is much less of a problem here.
I was told nowadays some classic teachers still use this empowerment method to train lineage students behind closed doors. The down side of this method is that it is very time consuming and that the sifu must himself have been empowered this way (like the art of psychoanalysis!). In successful cases, the student will usually be very grateful to his sifu. And he should be!