Well, the answer is actually none of the above (though we could all use some fukitol once in a blue moon.). Empathic Healing is called Transmutation. This is the process by which an Empath absorbs another's pain, either physical or emotional, and transmutes it into light.
But to be effective as an Empathic Healer, there is something one must do first. One must learn to heal themselves. I know ......I know......I've harped on this topic at least once or twice, but that is only to belly the point of how important this issue is. If one can not do this for themselves first, then they can not truly offer this gift to others, either.
Simply put, if you aren't healed yourself, then you can not draw on that core energy which is constant and eternal (no religious context here, but feel free to define it as you wish). Instead what you are doing is drawing on and depleting energy from yourself in order to heal others. This is not the mark of an Empathic Healer. Its the mark of a person with suicidal tendencies who has nothing to live for other than to offer themselves up on a golden platter for any and all to feast upon.
Eventually this can, and often does, lead to burn out, depression, and suicide attempts. The reason for this, is that the Empath who does this, can never make themselves feel whole and complete, no matter how much they give of themselves and how many good works they do. But still it is rationalized as being selfless and generous. While in reality this is nothing more than self mutilating behavior marking their own low self esteem and self worth.
It is not my intent to make anyone shamefaced because of this discussion. I simply believe it is important to understand both sides of Empathic Healing. One is self healing. And the other is the healing of others. But it must come in that order, and not reversed, or else one can end up doing more damage to themselves and to others than the Empath realizes.
But I digress. Empathic Healing works because you are quite literally a conduit for energy.
Think of yourself like this:
This is an electrical conduit. It serves much the same purpose you do. It transfers energy from one place to another. You do this as well. And like this conduit, if it were attached to a lighting system, you transmute energy into light. You transform the darkness into light.
Here is some interesting reading on Empathic Healing: