Energy is the primary force that shapes reality as we know it. What appears to be stationary (the ground under your feet, for example) moves imperceptibly. That movement over time, reshapes the world. You have mountains coming up where there were none; you have vast chasms open up where previously there were super highways - all the result of the sum effects of teeny shifts in the earth's crust that accumlate to critical proportions.
At the microscopic level (even the sub-microscopic level) molecules and their electrons vibrate. We see because our eyes pick up the subtle vibrations of light as it bounces off objects around us, then translates them into images. Our ears pick up the vibrations of forced air, translating them into vocalizations and song. Scent, stimulates the lymbic area in the brain with the intangible smells of the world around us as the environment blossoms and decays, signals danger, creates a sense of comfort and enduces joy. In each instance, it is subtle energy that has created a percieved reality - that of touch, environment and sound - which, in turn, expands our experience of the world around us.
While the power of our senses remains intangible, the impact they have is indisputable. Bilirubin light addresses jaundice in newborn infants, music calms the agitation of Alzheimer's disease, and the bright smell of lemon increases worker productivity while easing stress.
These things are not 'real' in the sense that we can pluck them out of the air and manipulate them with our hands, but they are real in regard to their effects. So, why do we expect Energy, Chi, Prana, Reiki, etc. to adhere to preconcieved physical standards? Eastern Medicine, whether you are looking at Chinese Medicine or Ayruvedic Healing Practices, has been working with energy for thousands of years with a good deal of success while Western Medicine (as we practice it today) has only been around for a few hundred years.
The power of touch to heal or our simple intention to ease the discomfort of those in pain has been shown over and over again in clinical settings and casual encounters as well as during times of intense trauma and distress. To question it is like questioning gravity. How many people got hit in the head with falling objects before Isaac Newton thought to put a name to the irresistable force that drew that apple out of the tree?
Energy Healing uses the intangible force of Chi, Prana, et al. to heal and it is as real as gravity.