Discover the 24-Hour Qi Clock in Chinese Medicine

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Qi Clock in Chinese MedicineDo you wake up in the middle of the night at the same time? Or do you find yourself feeling really tired at a specific time in the middle of the afternoon? Do you wake up too early every morning about the same time? Have you ever wondered why? Chinese medicine has the answer.

Did you know that the time of day can indicate where the imbalance is in your body? You might be familiar with the terms nocturnal and diurnal. Diurnal means active during the daytime, while nocturnal means active during the nighttime. Together the two make up a 24-hour cycle known as a day. But, in traditional Chinese medicine, this 24-hour cycle is viewed as much more than just a day in the life. The 24 hours of the day are viewed as increments of time and every two-hour section is associated with a specific organ meridian that runs through your body. This is known as the Qi clock.

In Chinese medicine, this gives a much deeper look into how the body functions. Chinese medical theory divides the body based upon the 12 organ meridians. Each of the meridians is assigned a two-hour time slot. The Meridians are directional pathways of the energy flow of Qi through your body. The Qi flows through each Meridian in a peak flow at specific times during the day – in essence a 24-hour human body clock of qi flow. For example, the liver meridian is associated with the hours of 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. If you wake up during this time frame, then there could be an issue with your liver meridian. To the experienced acupuncturist or TCM therapist this can be used for diagnosis.

During a 24-hour period, your energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”) moves through the organ systems in two-hour intervals. Qi draws inward to help restore the body between the hours of 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. The liver cleanses the blood and performs other functions, such as getting the blood ready to travel outward into the rest of the body.  Over the next 12 hours, Qi cycles through the organs that assimilate, digest and eliminate food through the body or our diurnal organs. By mid-afternoon, the body begins to slow down again in preparation for the nocturnal phase. The nocturnal phase is all about restoring and maintaining.

So when one organ system is at its peak, its counterpart, on the opposite side of the clock is at its lowest point. An example is 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., which are the hours of the stomach. This is when the stomach is at its peak and also why it is recommended to eat a big breakfast. On the opposite side of the clock lies the pericardium. The name Pericardium comes from Latin Peri (around) and Cardium (heart). The pericardium encloses your heart in a protective tissue protecting the heart from any infections. Often translated from Chinese as “Heart Protector,” it also protects the heart from emotional distress. The pericardium is at its weakest point between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Here’s a brief summary of the 24-hour qi cycle:

3 a.m. to 5 a.m. is lung time

5 a.m. to 7 a.m. is large intestine time

7 a.m. to 9 a.m. is stomach time

9 a.m. to 11 a.m. is spleen time

11 a.m. to 1 a.m. is heart time

1 p.m. to 3 p.m. is small intestine time

3 p.m. to 5 p.m. is urinary bladder time

5 p.m. to 7 p.m. is kidney time

7 p.m. to 9 p.m. is pericardium time

9 p.m. to 11 p.m. is triple burner time (associated with the thyroid and adrenals)

11 p.m. to 1 a.m. is gall bladder time

1 a.m. to 3 a.m. is liver time

So if you have recurring problems at the same time every day, then there is a good chance that the organ/meridian associated with that time is in distress. This is why when you come to our clinic we ask so many questions and also why we look at your body as a whole instead of just one particular organ. By understanding that every organ/ meridian has a maintenance schedule to keep daily, we can then treat your body properly so you achieve the ultimate health and well-being, and acupuncture treatments can help you achieve that goal.

At our Edina Acupuncture clinic we take a wholistic view to treat your body based on your symptoms, Chinese pulse diagnosis, your Chinese tongue diagnosis and the 24-hour Qi clock indications you exhibit. The goal is to bring your body back into balance. Find out how you can achieve ideal health. Call us at 952-831-8080 or go to our contact page now.

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