We have cycles in nature, they occur in humans, plants, animals, the sun, the moon, the tides, everywhere. The circadian rhythm is a 24 hour period where changes and responses occur in a regular pattern. As we move further and further away from being in touch with nature, our bodies have moved away from these patterns to the detriment of our health.
Understanding these natural rhythms of your body and of nature and following your day to suit as best you can, will help you to regain a little control over this natural phenomenon. Here are the natural cycles of our body and the day from the Chinese medicine point of view.
Things that disrupt our normal patterning
One obvious example of moving away from our natural rhythms is jet lag. We move so quickly in a plane from one time zone to another, that our body doesn’t have a chance to catch up. This leaves us feeling tired and exhausted, with altered digestion and just a feeling of not-quite-right.
We have sensors not just in our eyes but in our skin that are related to light. Too much light at the wrong time can disrupt our body clock. Televisions, phones, computers and other artificial light after sunset can stimulate the brain and affect melatonin secretion and therefore sleep patterns
Our temperature peaks at 7pm and is at its lowest at 4:30am. Constantly being in temperature controlled environments such as that with air-conditioning or heating can disrupt these natural changes. The reason we have these changes in because certain bodily processes function at certain temperatures.
Chinese Medicine Clock
This describes what is happening in our body at different times of the day and how to utilise these functions to our advantage.
The organ system involved does not necessarily literally translate to the organ. For example, someone without a gall bladder may still have problems with the gall bladder meridian system.
The liver is responsible for detoxification and breaking down of hormones. It also holds a lot of anger and resentment emotionally speaking. If your liver has much to detoxify, you have hormone imbalances, or unresolved anger and resentment issues, you will find yourself waking up at this time. Chronic fatigue, anaemia, hormone imbalances, irregular cycles in women and headaches are all signs this time zone is out of balance. This is a time to dispel toxins.
Feelings of grief and sorrow occur at this time and are related to the lungs. Wheezing, coughing, asthma, or getting sick are signs there is imbalance. Distribute energy in the form of blood.
5-7am Large Intestine
Best time for a bowel movement. Letting go physically (doing a poo) or figuratively (letting go of things in life that no longer serve you, emotions, habits, people, thoughts)
Avoid caffeine at this time.
Best time to eat breakfast. Best time for digestion and breaking down of foods. Reflux, indigestion, heart burn, bad breath and stomach ulcers are signs that you need to nurture this time
This is the time for a warming tea or a small snack. Cinnamon dates and lentils are all helpful for the spleen. A good time to be thinking and working as the spleen does it’s thing. If you would like to lose weight, this is an optimum time for exercise.
This is a good time to relax, eat lunch, take it easy nap if you have time. Avoid anything strenuous or stimulating such as coffee, exercise, excessive heat or stressful situations. Palpitations, cold hands and feet and trouble sleeping are all signs this time needs balancing. Enjoy lunch with good friends.
1-3pm Small Intestine
The small intestine continues the digestive process so liquids are absorbed and more solid material moves through. At this time you will need to drink adequate water and may begin to feel the effects of dehydration. Dehydration, bloating and gas are common issues when this time is out of balance.
During this time Melatonin secretion also peaks which is why the more sleep before 2am the better.
A good time to be sorting and organising
Energy levels drop at this time if you are not well enough hydrated. Water, soups and broths are good to nourish and hydrate. Also a good time to be working or studying. Drinking extra water
This time is perfect for a meal, but only small meals in the evening. It is also a good time for love-making. The kidney and its energies are associated with reproduction, growth and development. If you would like to build muscle and strength this is a good time for the gym. A little wine is good to promote circulation. If adrenals are depleted, tiredness may set in. If adrenals are functioning well a ‘second wind’ may occur.
The pericardium is an accessory organ, as in it supports another. This time is good for relaxing activities such as gentle yoga or stretching, reading, cuddling, mediation or other activities to guide you into sleep. Soaking the feet in hot water is good for circulation and relaxation. Can also be a good time for socialising.
9-11pm Triple Warmer
This is also an accessory system.
This is a good time to go to bed and go to sleep. In Winter this should be in the earlier part and in summer it can be a little later. Deep sleep should be achieved before 11pm. Staying indoors (you should be sleeping anyway) is advised at this time period and the next. This is also a good time for lovemaking particularly for those wishing to conceive.
11pm-1am Gall Bladder
The gall bladder is responsible for digesting fats. It can cause you trouble if this is not balanced. This is the time for deep sleeping.
Other Body Rhythms
This is longer than a day. Cycles such as human menstrual cycle, animal hibernation or migration, human Immune system cycle
7 day cycle
Biorythyms – Physical, emotional and intellectual
23 days, 28 days and 33 days
This is shorter than a day. Cycles such as 90 minute sleep cycle, 4 hour nasal cycle and 3 hour growth hormone cycle.
|Organ||What you should be doing||Signs of imbalance||
|1am-3am||Liver||Sleeping||Waking, insomnia, headaches, hormone imbalances||Detoxification, letting go of any anger or resentment|
|3am-5am||Lung||Sleeping||Coughing, asthma, sickness||Let go|
|5am-7am||Large Intestine||Having a bowel motion||Constipation, dryness||Let go of concepts and ideas. Sit next to a sunny window and drink warm water|
|7am-9am||Stomach||Eating breakfast||Ulcers, reflux, indigestion||Apple cider vinegar|
|9am-11am||Spleen||Small snack||bloating, low energy, craving sweets||Cup of herbal tea or a light snack|
|11am-1pm||Heart||Relaxing and eating lunch||Anxiety, palpitations, cold hands and feet||Rest, nap, relax, enjoy lunch|
|1pm-3pm||Small Intestine||Drinking water||Bloating or gas||Drink more water|
|3pm-5pm||Bladder||Working or studying with a snack of broth or soup||Burning or frequency with urination, yeast infections||Drink more water|
|5pm-7pm||Kidney||Making love, exercising, eating a small evening meal||Lower back pain, sexual dysfunction||A little wine to activate circulation along with a small meal|
|7pm-9pm||Pericardium||Relaxing||Depression, aversions, phobias||Meditation, stretching, yoga, cuddling, reading|
|9pm-11pm||Triple Warmer||Going to sleep||Difficulty digesting fats, poor judgement, anger or resentment issues||Establish a night time routine and go to bed at the same time each night|
|11pm-1am||Gall Bladder||Sleeping||Trouble digesting fats||Ensure you’re asleep|
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