Today, we conclude our journey through the Chinese Clock with bedtime, which corresponds to Wood Element Time and the Gall Bladder and Liver Meridians.
At 11PM, the energy begins to peak in the Gall Bladder Meridian. The Chinese view the Gall Bladder as responsible for decision making and courage. If you are still awake by 11PM, this decisive energy might continue to keep you awake, giving you a second wind that takes you into the wee hours. While some people thrive on this energy, our Gall Bladder functions best if we are asleep during this time.
Before going to bed, it can be helpful to set priorities for a new day and review the accomplishments, satisfactions, obstacles, and unfinished business of the day just past. Step back and look at the big picture. An emotional disturbance at this time can set off insomnia, indecision, feelings of loneliness, separation, anger or irritability directed at self or others.
Once we are asleep, we often have greater access to the world of the unconscious since the mind and senses are less engaged.
At 1AM, the energy enters the Liver Meridian and it is a good idea to be sound asleep by this time, at the latest because this is when the liver is going to sort out the priorities of the next day through the blood. If we are awake and not horizontal, the liver has a difficult time doing this. Think of the liver like a sponge which soaks up the body’s fluids. If we are quiet and horizontal, the liver can easily regather all the blood from the periphery.
As the liver absorbs the blood, it communicates directly with the blood and controls the volume circulating throughout the body. The liver is called the “General” and it sends messages to the rest of the body through the blood.
People with liver issues can often have their sleep be impacted. In addition, the emotion of anger, which is governed by the liver, can often disrupt sleep, particularly at 2AM when the spotlight is on the liver. If you tend to wake up at this time, you need to figure out what is going on (Is it physical, mental, or emotional? Did you drink too much alcohol before bed?) and then resolve the issue.
I hope you’ve found the journey through the Chinese Clock helpful to learning more about how to harmonize your daily cycle with your body’s energy cycle. Feel free to post questions or comments below!
Our journey through the Chinese Clock is now coming to evening, a time known as Ministerial Fire Time, when the energies peak in the Pericardium and Triple Heater Meridians.
Pericardium Time is often referred to as “Happy Hour,” the most social time of the day. This is a second Fire Element Time of our day (the only element that has 2 slots on the Chinese Clock) and it has the qualities of conviviality and good cheer.
Pericardium Time is one for candlelight, intimacy, and socializing and it is the best time of the day to make love. After our kidneys have rejuvenated themselves through resting and hydration, it is a fine time to enjoy ourselves and one another. We can often feel expansive, a free-flowingness of energy.
On a physical health level, Pericardium Time is a great time to address issues to do with the blood, like heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, chest tightness, and dizziness caused by blood or nutrient deficiency.
Then, at 9PM, the energy transitions into the Triple Heater Meridian. This meridian needs a little explanation for those not familiar with Chinese Medicine. In Chinese theory, we have 3 non-physical “burners” within us. The lower burner is in charge of kidney energy, the middle burner is in charge of the digestive system, and the upper burner is focused on the lung and heart. These 3 burners heat up the water in our bodies, steaming it and distributing it throughout. Energetically, this system is closely connected with our endocrine system.
During this Ministerial Fire Time, we should not be eating a big meal, as is often common in our culture.
Emotionally, this time of day is all about laughter, humor, engagement, creativity, full experience and expression of our emotions, emotional healing, and sharp intellect. Imbalance during this time can show up as feelings of depression.
Next week, we will conclude our journey through the Chinese Clock with Wood Time, which corresponds to bedtime.
We are now halfway through our journey through the Chinese Clock and today we will dive into Water Element Time, which begins at 3PM when energy peaks in the Bladder Meridian.
Most people experience this shift into Water Element Time as a drop in energy and a time when we often crave a cup of coffee or an energy drink. This is because this is Kidney recovery time, when the kidneys go through their daily renewal. Although we may crave caffeine at this time, it is a very bad time to consume it. Our Kidneys represent our storehouse of energy and we do not want to exhaust that energy or we lose our vitality.
The best thing to do during this time is to rest and to hydrate. Drink lots of pure, clean water with a focus on the water entering into the cells of your body. This will help your kidneys stay happy and you will sleep better at night because much of the cause of insomnia is actually dehydration. A power nap during this time will also help to replenish your Jing, or life force. This is why many cultures take an afternoon siesta.
The psychological and emotional tone of this time of day is prudence and retraction. We will feel a sense of purpose and willpower during this time of day and enjoy satisfaction in being alive and acceptance of things as they are. If our Water Element isn’t balanced, we will often feel fear, terror, irritation, or timidity during this time of day.
During Water Element Time, we also have a fluidity in response to circumstances and others. Taking our midday rest/quiet time can be used to focus our intent.
Stay tuned for next week’s post on Ministerial Fire Time and the Pericardium and Triple Heater Meridians!
I hope you’ve been enjoying our journey through the Chinese Clock and learning more about our various times in our daily cycle. Today, we dive into Fire Element Time, which focuses on energy peaking in the Heart and Small Intestine Meridians.
Fire Element time begins at 11AM, when the energy begins to enter the Heart Meridian channel. The Fire Element is all about energies peaking in the body, much like the sun peaks at mid-day.
Studies show that close to 70% of heart attacks happen between 11AM and 1PM. Because the focus is now on the heart, this is a period of time when excess conditions of the heart (like coronary artery disease) are usually the most symptomatic. When the arteries (or even the emotions) of the heart are blocked, the heart is most vulnerable around midday. The heart is also vulnerable to heart attacks at the opposite side of the Chinese Clock, Gall Bladder time, which is from 11PM to 1AM.
Emotionally, Heart Time is a great time to focus on opening your heart, allowing it to express love and compassion for everything and every one. It is a wonderful time to find resonance and empathy with others. An unbalanced or blocked heart can be dominated by the emotions of extreme sadness or extreme joy.
At 1PM, the energy shifts out of the Heart Meridian and into the Small Intestine Meridian. This is a great time to eat lunch, which in many cultures is actually the main meal of the day.
The Small Intestine energy is about absorption- both of food and of our daily life experiences. It has the job of separating pure from impure, with what is “pure” being taken into the kingdom of the heart and what is “impure” being taken to the colon to be eliminated.
Small Intestine Time is a good time of day for group projects and cooperative ventures, as well as to elect priorities and to share information. We can often brainstorm and problem-solve well with others at this time.
Next week, we will dive deeper into Water Time and the Kidney and Bladder Meridians.
Last week we learned about the Metal Element and the Lung and Large Intestine on the Chinese Clock. This week we dive into Earth Element Time and the Stomach and Spleen Meridians.
At 7AM, Earth Element time begins and until 11AM, the spotlight is on our digestive system. This is when energy is most available to digest our food! However, people who have digestive problems or people with weight issues tend not to eat during this time, contributing to the persistence of these issues.
Properly nourishing ourselves between 7 and 11AM will help set the appetite and sequence for digestion for the entire day, making it very important to eat your breakfast. The best type of food to eat at this time is warm meals that are high in nutrition. Not eating at this time contributes to metabolism not working properly- meaning it goes into starvation mode because your body is hungry.
In our modern world, there is a tendency not to eat a large lunch because we are busy working, so we eat something small and do so quickly. This contributes to getting to dinner time VERY hungry and then we tend to binge on food because our bodies are starved for nutrition.
In addition to helping us digest food, Earth Element time is about assimilating life. Stomach issues are often connected to not being able to “stomach something” in our lives.
After Stomach time comes Spleen Time, beginning at 9am. The function of the Spleen Meridian is to distribute the elements of nutrition to their proper destinations throughout the body, as well as to contain and compartmentalize the constituents of our diet (sugars, fats, and proteins) in their appropriate metabolic sequence.
From a psychological and emotional point of view, Earth Element Time is about a calm, centered approach to the opportunities on our immediate horizon. This is a great time of the day to consider new ideas or projects before taking action on them. If the Earth Element is out of balance, we will experience feelings of disgust, despair, or low self-esteem.
This time of day is characterized by intelligence blended with understanding and an appreciation for the sweetness of another day and of life itself.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog, when we dive into Fire Time and the Heart and Small Intestine Meridians!
Last week’s blog post was an introduction to the Chinese Clock, a daily cycle of energy through the meridians that helps to govern our daily rhythm. Today, we dive deeper into Metal Element Time, which represents when energy peaks in the Lung and Large Intestine Meridians.
The daily energy cycle starts at 3am with Lung Time. The lungs are called a “reactive” organ because of their relationships with the environment. We breathe in the world/life as we breathe in air. If there is a toxin or allergen present, the lungs and upper respiratory system react immediately, resulting in things like runny nose, cough, wheezing. or hives. When the lungs work well, we can fully inhale and exhale.
The lungs are about more than just reactivity, though. They are also about vitality because as they disperse air and energy throughout the body, they energize the entire meridian system. In Chinese medicine, it is said that the lungs are responsible for dispersing Qi, so without the action of the lungs, there is no Qi distribution.
The lungs also help us process sadness and grief. If you find yourself waking up between 3am and 5am, you might be struggling to process sadness or grief or you might have a lung condition.
At 5am, the energy moves from the Lungs to the Large Intestine Meridian, rising to its peak at 6AM. This is the best time of the day to move the bowels, as well as to wash your body and to comb your hair (some say combing the hair clears stuck energy from the mind). In addition, the Large Intestine Meridian is about letting go. Letting go is not just about eliminating biological waste but also letting go of things like letting go of our emotions. If things are out of balance, emotions of defensiveness or feelings of being stuck could arise.
Metal Element Time is a time for quiet reflection and/or restful sleep. Some people like monks will actually get up around 4am to begin to meditate as this time has been proven good for such activity.
A healthy and balanced person is focused, has a sharp memory, and finds strength in solitude at this time of the day. In addition, a person who is well-balanced within Metal processes grief and loss appropriately.
Metal Element Time also represents maximum contraction (Winter is Metal time on an annual cycle). At this time in the daily cycle, the heart rate, breathing, and brain activity have been shown to dip significantly.
I hope you’ve found this week’s post about Metal Element Time useful in beginning to understand your body’s daily cycle.
Some of you might know that I have been diving deeper into understanding the wisdom offered to us through Chinese Medicine by studying the 5 Elements and energetic acupuncture. I truly love the ancient wisdom of the Eastern understanding of our healing and how it makes so much sense. I love that I get to work with this understanding as a key part of the BodyTalk System.
One of the fascinating aspects of the Chinese system that I would like to dive deeper into through a series of posts over the next few weeks is something called the Chinese Clock.
What is the Chinese Clock? It is the flow of Qi (energy) through the acupuncture meridian system in 2 hour windows over the course of each 24 hour periods. When we look at this clock, we can get greater insight into the rise and fall of energy in our daily cycle.
When we say that, for example, 1am to 3am is “Liver time,” that doesn’t mean that the other acupuncture meridians are empty of energy but it means that during that particular time, there is the highest concentration of energy in that particular meridian. This means that that time can be a particularly good time to address certain imbalances.
This Chinese Clock system also means that at the opposite side of the clock, so again for example, 1pm to 3pm, the Liver energy is at its lowest. That in turn means we might see Liver symptoms appear at that time as well.
Over the next few weeks, I plan to dive into different time segments (divided by 5 Elements Theory) of the Chinese Clock to help you understand what is at its peak and what is at its low during that time- and, more importantly- how you can use this understanding to work with your daily rhythm for your health and well-being!
Stay tuned for next week’s post where I dive into Metal Time, which focuses on the Liver and Large Intestine energies as the beginning of the daily energy cycle.
Way back in the 17th Century, philosopher Rene Descartes blocked the idea of a mind-body connection by positing instead that the mind and the body are separate and distinct from each other… and the legacy of his work has been haunting us ever since.
The legacy of this mind-body dualism has shaped how Western medicine treats people for different issues- if you have a physical health issue you see one type of doctor and for mental health issues you see another (a psychiatrist). Often times if someone is seeing both types of doctors, the don’t even communicate with each other, although this has been changing in more modern times.
But are the mind and body distinct? Can we draw a dividing line at the neck and say from there up we are dealing with the mind and from there down we are dealing with the body?
My answer would be an emphatic no!
Have you ever been really worried about something and you worried so much that you got a stomach ache or upset stomach? Or have you ever stressed out so much that you gave yourself a headache? I certainly have and I know that I am not alone. These are just 2 simple example of how the mind and the body are interconnected.
In my work with clients, I often see that the body expresses for the person what is going on mentally and emotionally. Often times we get mad at our body for aches, pains, and other physical symptoms when they are simply the way that the body is able to try and communicate with us and get our attention.
When physical issues and symptoms arise, rather than getting frustrated or irritated, It can be helpful to take a few slow, deep breaths and simply ask your body what it is trying to communicate with you. You might be surprised what happens in both your awareness/understanding AND with resolving the physical symptom by this simple process.
If you are curious about the Mind-Body Connection and want to dive deeper into the topic, join me on Monday, March 21st for a FREE webinar!
November was not an easy month for me. My husband and I were in an auto accident on November 8th and he has been in a significant amount of pain as a result. I have only had a lesser degree of back pain but he has had so much pain in his feet that he hasn’t been able to walk.
Now I am not one of those practitioners who hides that I have a real life with real struggles. I personally believe it is important for my clients to understand that I also have challenges, hard times, and frustrations just like they do. So in the interest of continuing to be open, honest, and vulnerable, I am writing this post.
But I am also writing this post because even in this dark time, I see the wisdom of our bodies. Our body’s are amazingly intelligent. And that is what I would like to share more about with you today.
Shortly after the accident, I developed a dry cough. Mostly it came on at night and kept me from getting great sleep. But then it started to get worse and I went into coughing fits that made me get up out of bed and try and calm down what was going on.
I wasn’t sick (even though some might have thought that). I felt fine- no other symptoms of a cold- just this obnoxious cough. So I started to tune into the cough and try and understand what it was trying to tell me.
Well the cough would get worse when I talked about stressful topics. And it would get worse when I was holding in what I really needed to say to my husband about certain things. So I started trying to voice what was going on for me and not hold it in, and that helped to some degree.
But the cough went on and on. I did go have it checked out, my lungs were clear and I was given a cough med, which did nothing- because the cough was really my body still trying to communicate with me.
At this time, my husband had to start sleeping in the recliner in the living room because of his pain. Not sharing a bed is something that I don’t really like. As much as I never though I would get used to sleeping in the same bed as someone, with my husband next to me, I sleep better most nights than I did before. But he needed to feel comfortable and I understood that.
But every night, when I went to go to bed at night (alone), I felt the tears start to creep in. I would allow myself to feel them for a few minutes and then shift to distracting myself and trying to go to bed. That was when the coughing fit would actually REALLY start. But I wasn’t quite connecting the dots yet.
This week, my massage therapist friend asked me to really feel my feelings. I had shared how hard it is at night with the current situation and that I feel sad. She suggested that night I go to bed and allow myself to cry myself to sleep.
And so I did. While the crying stuffed up my nose and made me cough while I was crying, after I had let it move through me, the coughing went away and I slept better than I had slept in a few weeks. And each night is getting better and better. The cough is almost gone now.
Our bodies are so incredibly amazing and intelligent and they try to communicate to us in the only way that they can. Mine was trying to tell me that by stuffing my sadness and grief, my lungs had to take on the burden of holding that instead of just expressing it so it could release.
So next time you are struggling and your body starts talking to you, my suggestion is to get quiet and listen. Remember, sometimes wisdom and support is needed from those around us to fully hear the message and that is just fine too.