The Chinese Body Clock

By Rita Balshaw

Have you heard of the Chinese Body Clock? According to the ancient practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body has a series of channels or meridians through which energy flows.The 24 hour energy (qi) and organ cycle is when the energy flow concentrates on a specific organ at a specific time. This energy affects the internal organs and gives life force to the entire body. Meridians become blocked when the yin and yang balance are disturbed by a hectic 24/7 lifestyle involving stress, poor diet, emotional trauma and lack of rest. Overall, it is wonderful idea to slow down and respect and listen to the body. Check out the outline of the body clock below for a little insight into your own personal wellbeing and how to structure your day and habits for optimum health!

5am to 7am

This time period relates to the large intestine, which is responsible for our bowel movements. It is not surprising that many people move their bowels first thing in the morning as according to TCM this is optimal elimination time. For the removal of toxins,it is important to have at least one bowel movement per day. To assist with this, start your day with a warm glass of purified water and lemon. Easing your way into your morning with a few gentle stretches is also extremely beneficial.

7am to 9am

7am – 9am is linked to the stomach, making this the perfect time of day to eat your breakfast, because this is when our digestive function is at its peak. The stomach is said to be the emotion5 Elements Kital centre of the body, where we tend to hold negative energy, worry and fear. Take advantage of the peak stomach qi time by meditating, breathing out any resistance or anger, then indulge in a healthy and peaceful breakfast while diffusing Air Element essential oil blend, it gifts a refreshing and purifying start to your day, and promotes feelings of lightness and bliss!

9am to 11am

This part of your day relates to the spleen, which in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is considered to be the most important digestive organ. It helps breakdown our breakfast so that we can properly receive the nutrients from the foods and beverages we consume. Symptoms of low spleen energy include fluid retention, fatigue and unhealthy mouth and lips. Over-thinking, over-working and mental exertion all create weakness in spleen energy. Enjoy Earth Element essential oil blend in the morning hours to ground and centre the mind and body and reduce feelings of exertion and scatteredness. The earthy, grounding scents offer much comfort in times of instability. Further restore this energy by talking out your worries to a trusted friend and practising control over any unhelpful thought patterns you may have. Cut back on sweet foods and relax whenever and wherever you can!

11am to 1pm

From 11am to 1pm we are in the domain of the heart, making this a good time to express your feelings. Avoid overheating and vigorous exercise during this period. Instead engage in activities that make you feel happy, joyful and enthusiastic, like listening to music and spending time with friends. Try vaporising Fire Element essential oil blend, the delightfully floral and comforting aromas will help to ignite healthy fire qi. According to Chinese philosophy, ‘fire’ represents pure expression of the heart and enhances joy and sensuality. Dizziness, heart palpitations and insomnia are signs of weak heart energy. To be at its best, the heart requires human connection, love and a healthy balanced diet abundant in antioxidant-rich organic vegetables and healthy fats such as olive and flaxseed oil.

1pm to 3pm

This section of the day works with the small intestine, and like the heart, the related emotion is joy. This small intestine period is a fantastic time to eat lunch and nourish your body with wholesome, easily digestible foods that bring you satisfaction and enjoyment. Avoid carbonated cold drinks at this time, as they disturb digestion.

3pm to 5pm

The afternoon period of 3 to 5pm is associated with the bladder. Bladder energy can be strengthened by working with and releasing your personal fears. Feeling down or uneasy during this time indicates that you need to explore issues involving jealousy and resentment. Water Element essential oil blend helps soothe a restless mind and create a beautifully calming ambiance in your home. Physical symptoms such as urinary tract infections and lower back pain manifest when bladder energy is stagnant. Salty foods encourage bladder energy, so having a miso or savoury soup at this time can be beneficial.

5pm to 7pm

From 5pm-7pm is the realm of the kidneys. The kidneys house the entire body’s life force. Emotions related to the kidneys are directly linked to willpower, and include feelings of safety, aloofness and loneliness. When kidney energy is low we can feel lonely, have low libido and lack strength and courage. During the hours of 5pm to 7pm, focus on acknowledging your skills and strengths and enjoy intimacy and laughter. Some kidney strengthening foods include lamb, kidney beans, seaweed, walnuts, pumpkin and plums.

7pm to 9pm

This time frame is linked with the pericardium. The pericardium is closely related to the heart and is associated with feelings of love and happiness. Physical changes and alteration in your wellbeing between 7pm and 9pm may, therefore, reflect the overall level of joy in your life. Keep your pericardium healthy by engaging in regular acts of creativity and self-expression.

9pm to 11pm

Late evening from 9-11pm is associated with the triple burner. There is no corresponding organ to the triple burner. It is said to metabolise all the bodily fluids including blood, sweat, tears, saliva and urine, and it is responsible for the production, transportation and removal of foods and fluids from the body. During this time digestion, elimination and nourishment of the immune system are taking place, making the hours between 9pm and 11pm the optimum time for sleep and relaxation.

11pm to 1am

Relates to the gallbladder, which is associated with courage and the use of wise judgment. If you have dreams where you feel angry and frustrated, it is an indication that your gallbladder energy is out of balance. Fatty foods and hydrogenated oils are damaging to the gallbladder. Regularly enjoy fresh green vegetables and olive and flaxseed oils to ensure stagnant bile and cholesterol are cleared, keeping the gallbladder happy and healthy. Wood Element essential oil blend can assist those who struggle with gallbladder imbalances. This fresh and uplifting combination can be used throughout the day to encourage focus and clarity of spirit!

1am to 3am

Relates to the liver. The liver detoxifies the body physically and emotionally. The feelings linked most strongly to the liver are anger, frustration, bitterness and resentment. It’s a good idea to be asleep during these liver hours to allow maximum energy to be diverted for detoxification; this explains why an early night’s sleep is harmonising for a healthy body and mind. If you often wake up during the hours of 1am to 3am it may very well indicate your liver needs some cleansing. Green leafy vegetables and dandelion herbal tea support liver health.

3am to 5am

From 3am to 5am we focus on the lungs. Wisdom is said to be derived from the lungs and the emotions that directly speak to them are grief and sadness. If you find yourself waking up during these hours it is a key indication that you need to explore your emotional life. Deal with your emotions by talking to a friend or counsellor; journal writing and meditation will also help. On a physical level, eating apples, practicing yoga and learning to breathe correctly support lung health. Sleep with your windows slightly open to ensure you get enough fresh air, and vaporise pure eucalyptus, lemon and lavender essential oils in your bedroom to clear and calm your entire respiratory system.