The concept of Energy Gates has been passed down from the ancient Taoist traditions of China. Energy gates are points or areas where large amounts of energy (Chi) flows within the body and between the body and the surrounding environment. These gates function as relay stations regulating alignment and flow of the subtle energy field within the physical body. Thus, energy is regulated through these energy gates.
The Chinese call the joints (actually the space between the joints) “gates”, and as such they control the amount of Chi that flows through the body.
The Tai Chi Classics say “Circulating your internal energy is just like guiding a thread through the nine-channeled pearl. Then nothing can block the circulation.” This nine-channeled pearl refers to a small wooden ball given to Chinese girls to develop and to test their manual dexterity. A girl would pass a silk thread through the curved paths drilled in the ball, requiring patience, dexterity, calmness, focus, and intention. Similar qualities are needed to circulate the Chi efficiently and smoothly throughout the body, without it getting stuck in knotted muscles and painful joints. The nine channels in the body are the joints and extremities most crucial for the conduction and expression of energy: feet, ankles, knees, hip joints, spine, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers.
The physical action of Tai Chi is designed to increase the range of movement in the joints and unblock muscular tension, therefore enhancing the circulation of the Chi so that it moves effortlessly throughout the entire body.
There are over a hundred energy gates in the human body including one in the center of the sole of the foot. This is the “Bubbling Spring” acupressure point (K1).