We already know that certain hours of the day correspond to certain organs in the body. Following the natural rhythm of your own body enhances health; going against the natural rhythm of your own body may cause your health to decline. If you are experiencing a symptom that seems to occur the same time each day, it may be linked to a specific imbalance in a particular organ system. For example, waking between the hours of 1 – 3 am may indicate a Liver imbalance. There are 14 major meridians in Chinese Medicine, or flows of energy, which sustain life and exist within the 24 hour clock. Each of these have a two-hour period where the primary meridian is linked to particular parts of the body, thoughts, emotions and other spiritual aspects. They’re also partnered together as Yin (receiving energy) and Yang (expressing energy) of an element – Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, and Fire.
The 24hr cycle of organs/meridians:
5-7 a.m. — Large Intestine
This is the optimal time for your body to move its bowels and make room for the new day’s nutritional intake. It is recommended to drink a glass of warm lemon juice to stimulate the bowels, get the lymph system moving and to remove toxins from the night’s cleansing. Proper evacuation is needed, if failed, particularly large intestine points can be activated to cure the problem.
Large Intestine or Colon: 5 to 7 a. m. is the time for this organ. A healthy colon needs water to do its job properly, which is flushing waste matter 24/7. The morning is the most important time to drink plenty of water for this process, and the worst time to have caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic and takes water away from your colon to your kidneys and bladder for evacuation. Your body needs water in the morning to do its repair and maintenance of the large intestine and colon. This helps you maintain digestion, normalize weight, slow down the ageing process. When you irrigate your system every morning with pure water (up to 32 oz.) your health improves. If you wait until you have a bowel movement before you eat in the morning, this is also healthier for your colon.
7-9 a.m. — Stomach
Stomach energies and digestive fires are highest at this time. so it is important to have your largest meal of the day here to optimize digestion/assimilation. Eating a big breakfast keeps your blood sugar even, your mood even, and gives you the stamina to not just get through the day, but to enjoy your day. There is an old Chinese saying: ”Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and dinner like a pauper.” Moreover, ulcer, gastritis, acidity, loss of appetite, headache cares are treated with relevant acupuncture points in stomach organ time.
Stomach: Between 7 and 9 a.m. is the time that the stomach is repairing if you have problems with the stomach then it does not need a big meal to deal with, but still important to eat a light breakfast. While the large intestine and colon needs fluid to repair properly in the morning, the stomach needs very little during repair. If repairing, start with fluids (pure water or fresh juiced vegetables) or fresh fruit that is easily digested. However, if you can, drink only fluids in the morning for optimal health.
9-11 a.m. — Spleen
The stomach passes its contents on. Enzymes from the pancreas continue the digestive process and carbohydrate energy is made available. This is also an acceptable time to eat your largest meal of the day. The Stomach and Spleen are paired together in Chinese Medicine and are intimately connected. They relate to the emotion of worry. For persons who feel very tired and sleepy this may be an indication of diabetic symptoms later in life.
Spleen: From 9 to 11 a.m. the spleen gets cleaned. During this time/process or when the spleen is in a weakened state, you may suffer with allergies or not be able to shake a cold or flu. This is because the spleen works with the liver and your immune system. A healthy spleen produces antibodies when there is an infection and constantly watches the blood for invaders.
11 a.m.-1 p.m. — Heart
Food materials enter the blood stream and the heart pumps nutrients throughout the system and takes its lipid requirements. The Heart and Small Intestine are paired organs and are attributed to the element of fire. This is the time of day for action and to get things done. It is a time where cardiac problems are targeted also. Usually cardiac patients sweat a lot and feel suffocation.
Heart: The time for heart repairs is between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Your body is removing waste from the heart and you may sometimes notice a rapid heartbeat, double beats and/or skipping beats. Seventy percent of heart attacks occur when the heart is in its repair period.
1-3 p.m. — Small Intestine
Foods requiring longer digestion times such as proteins complete their digestion and assimilation. This is still associated with the element of fire and time for action. Make sure your biggest meals are eaten before 2pm or 3pm. This is a time also for allergies, muscles, soft tissues, lips, mouth, genito-urinary disorders and general tonification. Symptoms of these problems may rise in this time. A complete digestion is supposed to be done to maintain the whole body health. Those who skip or don’t fulfill the food intake, may suffer from insufficient food energy.
Small Intestines: Have you noticed that between 1 to 3 p.m. you are more apt to have indigestion, pain and bloating? If this happens, two things could be wrong:
- Your diet is not what it should be and your food is not digesting;
Your diet is causing problems that are now causing you stress. A proper diet will help take care of these problems.
3-5 p.m. — Bladder
Metabolic wastes from morning’s nutrition intake clear, making room for the kidney’s filtration to come. Kidneys come in to play with the bladder around 3pm and is regarded as the Brain time.
Starting at around 2pm your brain demands about 80% of the glucose (or sugar) in your bloodstream. This is the optimal time of day for mental clarity and function. However most people feel a slump and crave sugar at this time because they haven’t eaten wisely enough before this time to create stable blood sugar levels. Avoid stimulants, eat protein with each meal, drink adequate amounts of water and exercise to prevent this slump in energy. In this time may arise spine, sense organs, internal organs, kidney and urinary bladder disorders.
5-7 p.m. — Kidney
Filters blood and maintains proper chemical balance of blood based on nutritional intake of the day. The blood delivers usable nutrients to all tissues. The emotion of the kidneys is fear. This time can be used for treating all chronic problems in our body. Apart from this, it is also a special time for treatment of kidney disorders and hair loss.
Kidneys and Bladder: From 3 to 7 p.m. you may notice you’re tired and want a nap. When the kidneys are healthy and working properly, you’ll feel energetic at that time, not tired.
7-9 p.m. — Circulation/ Pericardium
The Pericardium system/organ is prominent between those hours. Being the cover of the heart, the pericardium protects it. Nutrients are carried to groups of cells (capillaries) and to each individual cell (lymphatic). The pericardium is responsible for the circulation, and associated with the brain & reproductive organs. So this would not be a good time to exercise vigorously, or watch a thriller in your bedroom before sleep. Instead it’s the perfect time to meditate, listen to soft music or take a warm bath. This time also is attributed to the element of fire which is very social in nature and is the optimal time to commune with family, friends, and loved ones.
Pericardium: Avoid big evening meals between from 7 to 9 p.m. Eat fruit on empty stomach to increase digestive enzyme.
9-11 p.m. — Triple Heater
The “three levels” in Chinese medicine refer to three sections of your torso which contain each group of organs. The endocrine system adjusts the homeostasis of the body based on electrolyte and enzyme replenishment. This is the time to begin to slow down and prepare for bed. It is optimal to be asleep by 10pm. It is during this time that your Liver stores the blood and begins cooling it down from the day. You need to be asleep in order for this function to happen effectively. This is the time that controls the endocrine system, reproductive organs and temperature in our body. So, most of the infertility cases are treated then.
Blood Vessels and Arteries: From 9 to 11 p.m. the blood vessels go into repair mode. The impact on the body is: headaches, weakness while vessels are in heavy repair.
11 p.m.- 1 a.m. — Gall Bladder
Initial cleansing of all tissues, processes cholesterol, and enhances brain function. The liver begins to cleanse toxins. This is a very special time for insomnia and muscular pain. If your liver is disturbed the body is terribly tired, eyes burning and leads to total weakness. These patients can be treated with good sleep.
1-3 a.m. — Liver
Cleansing of blood and processing of wastes. This is a common time to wake up. At 2am, our blood sugar drops to its lowest point. If you consistently wake during this time, ask yourself if you are depleted. You may not be eating well, are stressed, overusing stimulants or drugs or may be holding anger or resentment. If your liver is disturbed, the body is terribly tired, eyes burning and leads to total weakness.
Liver and Gallbladder: Between 11 p.m. to 3 a. m. these two guys go into action. Do you ever have nights when you can’t sleep at this time? This means that waste is not being processed by your liver and it acts as an irritant to your body causing insomnia and frayed nerves. Your brain just won’t stop.
3-5 a.m. — Lung
Respiration, oxygenation and expulsion of waste gases. The lungs are associated with Inspiration and grief. Many spiritual practices like meditation and yoga are said to be more effective in the early morning hours. This has to do with inspiration, or inhaling spirit, into your life. Many people who are grieving the loss of something in their lives experience loss of sleep during this time.
This organ clock theory in Acupuncture therapy is used to treat many complications for better results. The energy enters the lung (organ) channel at 3 am, when a day starts originally.
Symptoms of particular organ is shown at that particular time, it is an alarm to the patient and good diagnosing point to an acupuncturist. Human body mechanism is a miracle and always it sticks to nature. The peak hour of each organ is 2 hours. The treatment according to the organ clock balances the vital energy flow in our body, so that lacking energy will gain by tonification of acupuncture points and stagnated energy is transferred by sedation of specific points. Of course, this theory surprises anyone at first sight, but seen deeply the practical biorhythmic activity can be identified.
A day usually starts at 5 am which is the time for lungs, the foremost organ. Ayurvedic physicians, siddhars, rishis, naturapaths at earlier times used to wake up at 5am, which is defined as ‘Brahmamuhuratha time’. Probably this time is good for breathing exercise, so that lung will gain more energy from universe and later travels continuously. Acupuncture theory adds more, by diagnosing the patients symptoms which shows severe lung disorders.
A single point in lung channel is stimulated at this time to cure the lung disorders. So, both for diagnosis and treatment, the organ clock helps extensively. People having this disorder will have a disturbed sleep, like cough, sneezing or nasal congestion at this time.
Lungs: The lungs are the first organs of the day that are up for repair and maintenance. Lungs begins loosening the poisoning waste between 3 to 5 a.m., and when you awaken, this is why you cough sometimes. Your lungs are trying to expel the loosened waste. If you are coughing in the morning, this indicates that your diet and lifestyle needs tweaking.
So, eat a balanced wholesome diet to support your organs, providing fuel for replenishment and to increase your vital life force. From a Chinese medical perspective, the cause of pain and disease is due to blocked energy or a decrease of the flow of qi (energy) through your body. Exercise allows the free flow of energy to optimally reach through to all parts of your body. Proper energy flow is important for the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of our health. Incorporate exercise such as walking, running, tai-chi and yoga in to your life. Immerse yourself into nature where you can feel the natural rhythms of the earth. Being in nature balances the natural rhythms of your body and is healing. Be kind, nurture yourself and awaken to your own inner natural rhythm.
LIV1 (Liver 1) – Jing-Well Point of the Liver Channel Chinese Name: Dadun English Name: Great Honesty Location: On the lateral aspect of the big toe, 0.1 cun from the corner of the nail. Functions: Regulates menstruation, rectifies the lower jiao, stops uterine bleeding (ricegrain moxibustion), opens the Heart orifices for resuscitation. Primary Indications: Uterine bleeding, uterine prolapse, hernia, urinary incontinence. Secondary Indications: Epilepsy. Tertiary Indications: Orchitis, menstrual: amenorrhoea/irregular menstruation, loss of consciousness, lin syndrome, pain in external genitals, pain in umbilicus, constipation.
LU8 (Lung 8) – River Point, Metal Point of the Lung Channel Chinese Name: Jing Qu English Name: Channel Canal Location: One cun above the transverse crease of the wrist on the lateral border of the radial artery. Indications: Cough, asthma, fever, pain in the chest, sore throat, pain in the wrist. LI 1 (Large Intestine 1) –, Jing-Well point of the Large Intestine Meridian Chinese Name: Shangyang English translation: Metal Yang Location: On the radial end of the distal phalanx of the index finger, .1cun (finger cun) distance from the corner of the nail. Indications: Sore throat, toothache, Coma caused by febrile disease, Numbness at tip of index finger, Deafness. Functions: Clears Heat, revives consciousness, benefits the throat. Jing-Well Points are known to treat fullness below the Heart and clear Heat. ST36 (Stomach 36) – Lower He-Sea point of the Stomach Channel, 1st of Ma Dan Yang’s Twelve Stars, treat abdominally with Zusanli (upper and lower adbomen): Four Dominant Points Song. Chinese Name: Zusanli English Name: Leg Three Li Location: 3 cun below Dubi, one finger-breadth from the anterior crest of the tibia. Functions: Strengthens the Spleen, Harmonizes the Spleen and Stomach, Harmonizes the intestines and clears food stagnation, makes contravecting Qi descend and stops vomiting, regulates Qi and Blood, reinforces Xu conditions generally, eliminates Dampness, transforms Phlegm, prevents disease (enhances immune function), breaks up blood stagnation in the chest. Primary Indications: Indigestion, abdominal distension/pain, borborygmus, constipation, knee and shin ache (Bi syndrome). Tertiary Indications: Stomach pain, gastric ulcer, vomiting, diarrhea, dysentry, cholera, hemiplegia, paralysis (Wei syndrome), mastitis/breast abcess, Xu emaciation/fatigue, mental disorders (psychosis, neuraesthenia), dizziness/vertigo, edema, foot swelling/limb swelling, ascites, lin syndrome (dysuria), urinary incontinence, hypertension/hypotension, epilepsy, cough/asthma, eye disorders, tinnitus, headache, fever, poor appetite, pain, low back pain, tonsillitis (throat Bi), fullness in chest/ribs and abdomen, appendicitis, health enhancement, heart pain. Other Indications: Mute, all mouth problems, bitter taste in mouth, swelling of lower jaw, torticollis, ateriosclerosis, cannot swallow food, Yin problems in stomach, childhood nutritional impairment, hiccough, inflammation of abdomen, small intestine, intestinal tuberculosis, sensations of strong heat in abdomen, jaundice, acute pancreatitis, anaemia, renal Bi syndrome, diseases of reproductive system, post-partum syncope, shock, hernia, allergies. SP3 (Spleen 3) – Shu-Stream Point of the Spleen Channel, Yuan-Source point of the Spleen Channel. Chinese Name: Taibai, English Name: Supreme White Location: Proximal and inferior to the head of the 1st metatarsal, at the junction of the red and white skin. Functions: Reinforces the Spleen, harmonizes the middle jiao, regulates Spleen’s transforming and transporting functions, eliminates dampness. Primary Indications: Abdominal distension, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea. Tertiary Indications: Heavy sensation in the body, borborygmus, constipation, foot swelling, dysentry, haemorrhoids and fistulae, poor digestion, cholera, bi syndrome. Other Indications: Fullness and oppression preventing the patient from assuming a reclining posture, distension in the chest and lateral costal region, very slow pulse, acute gastroenteritis, pain in the kidneys, lumbar pain preventing movement, heat diseases starting with pain in the head and face, fever with fullness, oedema, headache, extreme pallor (which is why this point is called “Great Whiteness”). HE8 (Heart 8) – Ying-Spring point of the Heart Channel. Chinese Name: Shaofu English Name: Shaoyin Mansion; Lesser Mansion. Location: On the palmar surface, between the 4th and 5th metacarpal bones. The tip of the little finger rests on this point when a fist is formed. Functions: Calms the Shen, Regulates the Heart Qi, effective for premature ventricular contractions (P.V.C.s) and other forms of cardiac arrhythmia Primary Indications: Palpitations, chest pain, spasms of little finger. Secondary Indications: Pruritus vulvae. Tertiary Indications: Hot palms, urinary incontinence, dysuria, cardiac arrhythmia. Other Indications: Hysteria, rhheumatic heart disease, chronic malaria with chills, lack of energy, laments and sighs often, misanthropy, painful knees due to wind, one side of scrotum larger than the other, pain in arm, contracture of axilla and elbow, uterine prolapse, vaginal pain. SI5 (Small Intestine 5) – Jing-River point, Fire Point. Chinese Name: Yanggu, English Name: Yang Valley Location: At the ulnar end of the transverse crease on the dorsal aspect of the wrist, in the depression between the styloid process of the ulna and the triquetral bone. Functions: Clears the mind, removes obstructions from the channel, expels exterior Damp-Heat. Indications: Swelling of the neck and submandibular region, pain of the hand and wrist, febrile diseases. BL-66 (Bladder 66)- Ying Spring Point on the Bladder Channel. Water Point on Water Meridian. Tong Gu. Chinese Name: Zutonggu, English Name: Passing Valley Location: Anterior to the fifth metatarsophalangeal joint, at the junction of the red and white skin. Functions: Clears Heat, removes obstructions from the channel, eliminates Wind. Indications: Headache, neck rigidity or pain, blurring of vision, epistaxis, mania. KI10 (Kidney 10) – He-Sea Point of the Kidney Channel Chinese Name: Yingu, English Name: Yin Valley Location: On the medial side of the popliteal fossa, between the tendons of m. semitendinosus and m. semimembranosus when the knee is flexed. Functions: Reinforces the Kidneys, clears heat, regulates and soothes the lower jiao. Primary Indications: Impotence, uterine bleeding, pain in medial aspect of thigh and knee. Tertiary Indications: Knee pain, hernia, lin syndrome, male genital disorders, tongue protrusion with drooling, abdominal distension, psychosis, vaginal discharge. Other Indications: Intestinal tuberculosis with hard knots in the abdomen, cholera, abdominal pain radiating to navel, addictions. P8 (Pericardium 8) – Ying-Spring point of the Pericardium Channel, 9th of the 13 Ghost Points. Chinese Name: Laogong, English Name: Palace of Labour Location: On the palm of the hand, between the 2nd and 3rd metacarpals, proximal to the metacarpophlangeal joints. Some texts place Laogong between the 3rd and 4th metacarpals (i.e: on the ulnar side of the 3rd metacarpal, rather than the radial side). Functions: Cools the Heart and drains heat. Primary Indications: Cardiac pain, epilepsy. Secondary Indications: Mouth ulcers. Tertiary Indications: Bad breath, psychosis, vomiting, skin rashes, numb fingers, jaundice, dysphagia, syncope, epistaxis, diabetes. Other Indications: Hand tremors, writers cramp, wind with bi syndrome in the hand and groaning, excessive sweating of the palms, pleurisy, fullness and pain in the sides of the chest, pain in the sides preventing turning around, spasms of the diaphragm, sensations of Qi rising, hypertension, ateriosclerosis, gastric cancer, bronchitis, haematuria, blood in the stools, haemorrhoids, hot or cold abcesses, headache, migraine, fever without sweating after cold has been trapped for a few days, wasting disease in infants with malnutrition and parasitosis. SJ6 (Sanjiao 6) – Jing-River point of the Sanjiao Channel. Chinese Name: Zhigou English Name: Branching Ditch Location: On the dorsal surface of the forearm, 3 cun above the transverse wrist crease, between the radius and the ulna. Functions: Spreads the Qi, removes stagnation of Qi, disperses obstruction; opens the intestines; removes obstruction from the intestines, regional actions on sides/rib: “To treat the sides, Zhigou presides” (Eigh Dominant Points Song), treats the hypochondrium (“Xie” is literally “the upper part of the sides of the body” hence “sides” is a more adequate translation than hypochondrium). Primary Indications: Sudden loss of voice, shoulder ache/heaviness, pain in chest and sides. Secondary Indications: Febrile diseases. Tertiary Indications: Constipation, tinnitus, deafness, vomiting, post-partum vertigo. Other Indications: Sudden influenza, apical pulmonary catarrh, insufficient lactation, amenorrhoea, belching, skin diseases, trismus. GB41 (Gall Bladder 41) – Shu-Stream point of the Gall Bladder Channel, Confluent Point of Daimai: Regulates and rectifies the Daimai. Chinese Name: Zulinqi, English Name: Foot – Close to Tears Location: In the depression distal to the junction of the 4th and 5th metatarsals on the lateral side of the extensor digiti minimi tendon. Functions: Spreads stagnant Liver Qi, spreads stagnation in the Gall Bladder, clears Fire and extinguishes Wind, clears the vision and sharpens hearing. Primary Indications: Eye diseases (pain in outer canthus, conjunctivitis, dizziness with blurred vision), pain in sides, mastitis/breast abscess, swelling and pain of dorsum of foot. Tertiary Indications: Scrofula, irregular menses, headache, vertigo/dizziness, malaria, dyspnea, tinnitus/deafness, wind Bi. Other Indications: Frequent lesion of internal aspect of cheeks, sensation of Qi rising in the body, heart pain with chills, abundant sweating, pain in supraclavicular fossa, periodic pain in hip, four limbs icy, pain in calf.