In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is believed that each organ has its point of highest energy and lowest energy.
This 24-hour cycle is believed to help us know when to exercise, eat, have sex, rest, and sleep. It also acts as a way to communicate with a particular organ or meridian (energy channel) of the body.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (and other ancient healing traditions in Asia), vital energy flows through the twelve organs and completes one cycle every twenty-four hours. The Chinese Organ Clock shows the circadian flow of the vital energy (Qi – pronounced “Chi”) through various organ systems in relation to the time of day. Each organ has maximum energy for two hours. The organ has a minimum energy (or lowest flow of Qi) 12 hours later.
Lessons Based on the Body Clock
When one organ is at its peak energy, the organ at the opposite side of the clock, 12 hours away, is at its lowest ebb. For example, between 1-3 a.m., the liver reaches its peak, doing its work to cleanse the blood, while the small intestine, the organ responsible for the absorption and assimilation of many key nutrients, is at its ebb. What does this tell us? Principally, that it must be taxing to the system to deal with late night meals and snacking. The body is not programmed to accommodate the modern habit of late-night screen-based stimulation and the eating habits that go with it. When we eat late at night, food is not well absorbed by the small intestine and the liver has little opportunity to do its job of housekeeping.
The idea, then, is to try when you can to plan a daily activity around an organ system’s peak energy, while avoiding actions that can tax a system when its energy is at its lowest ebb. Think of lifestyle habits you might modify in order to better synchronize your system’s energy ebbs and flows:
5 am to 7 am is the time of the Large Intestine making it a perfect time to have a bowel movement and remove toxins from the day before. It is also the ideal time to wash your body and comb your hair. It is believed that combing your hair helps to clear out energy from the mind. At this time, emotions of defensiveness or feelings of being stuck could be evoked.
7-9am is the time of the Stomach so it is important to eat the biggest meal of the day here to optimize digestion and absorption. Warm meals that are high in nutrition are best in the morning. Emotions that are likely to be stirred at this time include disgust or despair.
9-11am is the time of the Pancreas and Spleen, where enzymes are released to help digest food and release energy for the day ahead. This is the ideal time to exercise and work. Do your most taxing tasks of the day at this time. Emotions such as low self-esteem may be felt at this time.
11am- 1pm is the time of the Heart which will work to pump nutrients around the body to help provide you with energy and nutrition. This is also a good time to eat lunch and it is recommend to have a light, cooked meal. Having a one hour nap or a cup of tea is also recommended during this time. Feelings of extreme joy or sadness can also be experienced at this time.
1-3pm is the time of the Small Intestine and is when the food eaten earlier will complete its digestion and assimilation. This is also a good time to go about daily tasks or exercise. Sometimes, vulnerable thoughts or feelings of abandonment may subconsciously arise at this time.
3-5pm is the time of the Bladder when metabolic wastes move into the kidney’s filtration system. This is the perfect time to study or complete brain-challenging work. Another cup of tea is advised as is drinking a lot of water to help aid detoxification processes. Feeling irritated or timid may also occur at this time.
5-7pm is the time of the Kidneys when the blood is filtered and the kidneys work to maintain proper chemical balance. This is the perfect time to have dinner and to activate your circulation either by walking, having a massage or stretching. Subconscious thoughts of fear or terror can also be active at this time.
7-9pm is the time of Circulation when nutrients are carried to the capillaries and to each cell. This is the perfect time to read. Avoid doing mental activities at this time. A difficulty in expressing emotions may also be felt however, this is the perfect time to have sex or conceive.
9-11pm is the time of Triple Heater or endocrine system where the body’s homeostasis is adjusted and enzymes are replenished. It is recommended to sleep at this time so the body can conserve energy for the following day. Feelings of paranoia or confusion may also be felt.
11pm-1am is the time of the Gall Bladder and in order to wake up feeling energized the body should be at rest. In Chinese medicine, this period of time is when yin energy fades ad yang energy begins to grow. Yang energy helps you to keep active during the day and is stored when you are asleep. Subconscious feelings of resentment may appear during this time.
1-3am is the time of the Liver and a time when the body should be alseep. During this time, toxins are released from the body and fresh new blood is made. If you find yourself waking during this time, you could have too much yang energy or problems with your liver or detoxification pathways. This is also the time of anger, frustration and rage.
3-5am the time of the Lungs and again, this is the time where the body should be asleep. If woken at this time, nerve soothing exercises are recommended such as breathing exercises. The body should be kept warm at this time too to help the lungs replenish the body with oxygen. The lungs are also associated with feelings of grief and sadness.
Chinese Medicine practitioners use this clock to help them determine the organ responsible for the disease. For example, if you find yourself waking up between the hours of 3-5am each morning, you may have underlying grief or sadness that is bothering you or you may have a condition in the lung area.
If feelings of anger or resentment arise, you may feel them strongest during the time of the Liver which is 1-3am or perhaps if you experience back pain at the end of your working day, you could have pent up emotions of fear, or perhaps even Kidney issues.