How to Use the Chinese Medicine Clock for Optimal Health
INSIDE: The Chinese Medicine Clock has been a part of Chinese tradition for centuries. It can be a powerful tool for balancing our lives and maintaining good health. Let's discover more about this incredible method…
Our body has a natural rhythm of functioning, as well as an internal clock that helps it stay vital and healthy. However, as we try to follow through with the demands of modern life and give in to the fast pace of living, we are increasing the risk of losing touch that innate rhythm.
According to Healthline, various research shows that our bodies have an inner clock. This clock impacts how we go about our day, from activity levels to rest and sleep.
This knowledge, however, isn’t a novelty. The Chinese made this discovery years before modern science could prove it. Based on their traditional medicinal clock, the human body functions according to specific intervals, and understanding those intervals can help us improve the quality of our lives.
The Chinese Medicine Clock has been a part of Chinese tradition for centuries, based on knowledge about the body and organ functions. Using the movement of life force through the body, the Chinese have developed a system that can provide useful instructions on how to live our lives to maintain health.
The clock corresponds with activities and lifestyle habits, from what we eat to when we study or sleep.
How Does a Chinese Medicine Clock Work?
The thousands of years old Traditional Chinese Medicine Clock is based on the movement of Qi, or vital force through the body and the organs.
Let's dive into its basic principles…
Based on a Full-Day Cycle
Our alertness, wakefulness, periods of rest, and activity are a part of a big daily cycle that repeats itself every day. The Chinese Medicine Clock is made of 12 intervals, each one corresponding with a certain body part.
The intervals illustrate the peak of regeneration and energy for correlating organs. Each interval lasts for approximately two hours and helps highlight habits we should practice in that timeframe.
Throughout the day, the body and its systems go through a few phases that, together, make up a complete cycle. The cycle starts with emptying and releasing thoughts and waste from the previous day and ends with replenishment and recharging after a long day.
In Sync With Circadian Rhythms
The body has its natural regeneration cycle throughout the day, including periods of activity and rest.
The Chinese Medicine Clock aligns with our natural use of energy throughout the day. It is based on knowledge about the functions of different organs and is meant to optimizes our energy usage. Following it can help us stay alert and productive.
The Body’s Strongest & Weakest Timing
The Traditional Chinese Medicine Clock supports the idea that our organs have not only an optimum time for peak functioning but also times when their function diminishes throughout the day.
This means that every organ has a part of the day where its performance and energy levels are high, as well as opposing intervals when they are low.
Based on these highs and lows, we can choose our activities, meal times, and rest times in a way that maximizes the use of Qi. By using the knowledge about optimum functioning throughout the day, we can improve our general health and the health of each organ in our body.
Improving Physical & Mental Health
The Chinese Medicine Clock doesn’t just give suggestions about how we can improve our physical well-being; it also deals with mental and emotional well-being and is a system that supports both physical and mental health.
As we know, the body and mind are closely entwined, and every process in the body triggers correlating psychological responses. The knowledge about sequences of the clock can help us better understand what is going on in our system so we can act accordingly.
Chinese Medicine Clock Timelines
The Chinese Medicine Clock is divided into segments, and each one corresponds with the peak activity of a certain organ.
Here are the timelines…
Large Intestine (5 am - 7 am)
The day starts with waking up and the period associated with the large intestine. This is both a fresh start for the body and the mind.
Just like starting a new day, the large intestine period is associated with a new beginning and letting go of the old. Mentally and emotionally, you may feel blocked. The large intestine deals with waste, bowel movements, and regulating the stool.
During this time, the body is getting rid of all that has remained from the previous day and is ready to start afresh - with new meals and new, positive thoughts.
Wake your body up gently, by stretching and drinking a glass of water to prepare it for the activities to come. By using the Chinese Medicine Body Clock, you can try some simple yoga poses and do a meditation to set the intention for the new day.
Stomach (7 am - 9 am)
From 7 am to 9 am, our bodies are ready for the first meal of the day. The focus is on digesting food and the stomach switch is why it is vital to do your best in selecting highly nutritious food during this time.
The stomach energy is high at this point, and you will be able to process food with ease. What you eat in this period will largely impact the quality of your day and your energy levels.
Opt for warm, homemade meals, and organic and fresh foods. Avoid starting the day with too many carbs, fats, or other heavy foods.
According to the Chinese Medicine Clock, this is an ideal time to eat mindfully, slowly, and practice gratitude for the nutritious food on your table. Be present when preparing food and focus on every bite and the taste of food.
Psychologically, the stomach is associated with stress and worry, so if you don’t feel hungry, chances are you're burnt out.
Spleen (9 am - 11 am)
After breakfast, the body proceeds to digest food and take the nutrients we need to feel energized, healthy, and replenished. This is when the period of the spleen starts.
The spleen is a vital organ for purifying blood and taking care of blood cells. From 9 am to 11 am, it starts sorting out what can be used as fuel to give us energy and eliminate germs that are not welcome in our bloodstream.
Without it, we’d feel bloated or exhausted, despite eating breakfast, which is meant to give us energy.
This is an ideal time to start your daily whereabouts, be it working or studying. As 11 am approaches, you can eat a healthy snack to support spleen function, such as berries, cherries, or starchy vegetables.
When it comes to mental health, this time sequence is associated with despair, which is why it is important to use the time constructively and be productive.
Heart (11 am - 1 pm)
Noon is the period associated with the heart. From 11 am to 1 pm, being the main pump in the body, the heart works hard to ensure the proper blood flow needed for digesting nutrients.
Be mindful of stress management, as nervousness and exhaustion can prevent this vital organ from doing its job as it should. It is believed that the heart stores emotions, so do what you can to feel relaxed and think positively. Otherwise, you may experience shortness of breath and heart palpitations.
This is a perfect time to have lunch, which should be as nutritious as breakfast. The digestive system is working hard, so after lunch, you may feel drowsy and find yourself tired, drained, and in need of a good nap.
The heart is also associated with love and emotional wellbeing, which is why it is important to use this time to practice self-love rituals. Try something creative, explore what makes your soul sing, do things that bring you joy, and connect with loved ones.
Small Intestines (1 pm - 3 pm)
The period of the small intestine starts an hour after noon, starting from 1 pm and ending around 3 pm. This is the time to let your stomach digest food and avoid eating or drinking, as it will further burden your digestive system.
Around this time, the small intestine is finishing previously processed meals. After reaching its peak at noon, the overall alertness slowly starts to diminish. Your system is sorting out what is useful and what gives you energy from what doesn’t serve you.
The Chinese Medicine Clock suggests that you may feel particularly vulnerable or afraid of abandonment during this time.
Bladder (3 pm - 5 pm)
From 3 pm to 5 pm, the Qi moves to the bladder. Your body is preparing to filtrate good from bad so that it can detox your body.
This is a perfect time to drink fluids, especially teas and water, to promote the easier release of toxic and unused waste and food remains that have no nutritional value. It's the best time of day to pay attention to proper hydration, as your body will greatly need it to support bladder processes.
The Chinese Medicine Clock suggests that Mental focus is heightened at this time. So, if you have to exert your mental power during this time, know that your efforts will be supported. Any intellectually challenging work done during this sequence is likely to be fruitful.
The focus of Qi circulation is on what your body needs to release, which is why you may feel fidgety and on edge.
Kidneys (5 pm - 7 pm)
From 5 pm to 7 pm, the Qi moves to the kidneys. Your body is ending a cycle of processing breakfast and lunch and is ready for the last meal of the day.
At this time, the focus is on filtering blood and storing nutrients. By the end of the sequence, your system will gradually shift the focal point of Qi to maintain a healthy circulation.
That's why, to help your body and make the most of this period, it is advisable to promote the circulation of blood yourself by stretching, getting a relaxing massage, or doing light cardio exercise. However, to avoid overstimulating the adrenal glands, don’t overdo it .
Based on the Chinese Medicine Body Clock, the body is trying to get into a chemical equilibrium, which is why it is essential to keep your dinner light and simple.
You can benefit during this time by taking a walk or doing relaxing yoga. You may experience increased fearfulness or notice subconscious blockages, angst, and doubts coming to the surface.
Pericardium (7 pm - 9 pm)
After dinnertime from 7 pm to 9 pm, your biological engine moves its focus from the kidneys to the pericardium.
In this timeframe, the pericardium function is highlighted, to ensure that your blood vessels and heart are protected, and that blood circulation is properly maintained. However, this organ is not only responsible for the blood flow, but also the flow of mental activity.
Due to its head and heart connection, and increased circulation, this period is perfect for intimate moments with your partner, making love and tenderness.
Use this period to practice self care, do what makes you feel nourished, and engage in things that relax the body and mind, like playing an instrument or reading something you are passionate about.
Triple Burner (9 pm - 11 pm)
From 9 to 11 pm, the body produces the most heat. Triple Burner or San Jiao isn’t a specific organ, but a general state your body enters after 9 pm. This is when, after a long day, your system begins to slow down to establish hormonal and internal equilibrium.
Metabolic processes, fluid circulation, and endocrine function are particularly highlighted now. As a result, you can start to notice the first signs of nighttime sleepiness. On a psychological level, you can feel hopeless and lost.
The focus during this time is on Qi itself and its movement through the body. This is the perfect time to start getting ready for bed and preparing for a new cycle of the Chinese Medicine Clock.
Going to bed will help your body create its nighttime regenerating process and help you get the most of the energy accumulated during the day so you can wake up refreshed.
Gallbladder (11 pm - 1 am)
Your Yang energy has helped you stay active during the day. When Gall Bladder periods step into a scene, it is time for the passive and healing Yin to take precedence. The body should be put to rest now as sleep will allow you to recharge the active Yang energy for the upcoming day.
Like a battery, from 11 pm to 1 am, the body starts accumulating this active energy and produces growth hormone, which is essential for persevering vitality and repairing muscles and bones.
The body releases melatonin at this time, which increases the quality of sleep and supports the circadian rhythm. Cells are repaired, and your body is starting to build up the activation energy for the upcoming day.
Do your best to avoid screen time at this time to prevent late-night alertness and sleep disturbances. You may experience confusion and self-esteem issues during this time, so try to tame your mind and avoid rumination and over-analysis before bed by meditating or praying.
Liver (1 am - 3 am)
At night, your body is not only recharging and repairing; it is also cleansing. The liver breaks down and metabolizes nutrients and is responsible for taking care of toxins in the body.
According to the Chinese Medicine Clock, to ensure the quality of sleep, it is essential to avoid eating before bed so that the liver has few nutrients to process. This is because the main focus of the liver at night needs to be cleansing and not processing.
During the waking hours, the liver is expanded so that it can sort out all of the sugar and nutrients, while at nighttime, it shrinks and repairs. This is not a good time to consume alcohol and take anything toxic or harmful to the body, as it will prevent the liver from cleansing your system properly. If you are awake or drinking, you may feel extremely fidgety and uncomfortable.
Lungs (3 am - 5 am)
According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine Clock, the best operating time for the lungs is between 3 am and 5 am. During the peak function of the lungs, the body is recuperating and it needs the comfort of your bed and the warmth of sheets to relax.
This is a period of rest and deep sleep and it's the time when the system is focused on oxygen supplies. Those who randomly wake up during these hours may experience grief and sadness. Unless you have to get up in the early hours, soothe yourself and stay in bed to replenish oxygen.
If you wake up during this time, use it for exercise since your lungs are at their peak now. You can also use it to move personal thresholds with physical exercise, and set new goals.
Getting in touch with our body and learning to follow its natural rhythm can help us get better at nurturing it and improving our vitality. Not only does it save energy and help us stay productive, but most importantly, it helps us improve our quality of life and get the most of what a new day brings.
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