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TCM Body Clock

The 24-hour biological body clock of Chinese Medicine is divided into 12 two-hour intervals of Qi (vital energy) going through the body’s meridian system.

There are twelve meridians in the human body according to the meridian and collateral theory. They are the lung meridian (LU), large intestine meridian (LI), stomach meridian (ST), spleen meridian (SP), heart meridian (HT), small intestine meridian (SI),

bladder meridian (BL), kidney meridian (KI), pericardium meridian (PC), triple energizer

meridian (TE), gallbladder meridian (GB) and the liver meridian (LV).

The Body Clock is used by TCM physicians to determine the organ responsible for ailments.

The Body-Energy Clock is based on the cyclical ebb and flow of energy through the body. Qi travels through the organ systems in two-hour intervals during a 24-hour period. Qi draws inside during sleep to rejuvenate the body.

Below, we will provide some recommendations by time period.


Organ and Peak Functionality

3–5 a.m.

Lung: It’s is believed to be an ideal time to exercise, as opposed to later in the day.

5–7 a.m.

Large intestine: This period is thought to be when you should give yourself enough time to honor the elimination function of the large intestine.

​7–9 a.m.

Stomach: A warm, nutritious breakfast is the way to go. Cold foods should be avoided as the cold temperatures may cause the stomach energies to contract and shut down.

9–11 a.m.

Spleen: This is the ideal time for getting work done, as you are able to use your mental energies efficiently and concentrate better.

11–1 p.m.

Heart: Avoid taxing the body too much and have a light lunch. This is also a great time for brainstorming over lunch, socializing, and indulging in activities that bring you happiness.

1–3 p.m.

Small intestine: Heavier meals are believed to be more tolerated during this period, as the qi expands and begins to crest at midday. Take a short power nap of 10-15 minutes during this time to recharge.

3–5 p.m.

Bladder: Drinking enough water can help this detoxification process.

5–7 p.m.

Kidney: Do gentle exercises such as stretching or yoga and reschedule high-intensity exercises to the morning.

7–9 p.m.

Pericardium: This is a good time for indulging in self-care rituals as it helps you reconnect with your own true self.

9–11 p.m.

Triple burner: Sleeping early and reducing stress during this period to allow the Triple Burner organs to work effectively. Try to avoid screen time.

11–1 a.m.

Gallbladder: Eating a small dinner that is high in good fats will make digestion easier and help you get a good night’s sleep. Try to sleep by 11 pm to ensure the body recuperates.

1–3 a.m.

Liver: This means eating your last meal of the day early and making sure it’s light. To avoid this, moderate your alcohol intake and exercise regularly.

Hence, recognizing that every organ has a regular repair/maintenance schedule plays an important role in guiding physicians in deciding on a course of treatment. It also allows the physician to pinpoint which organ system or emotion requires strengthening or resolution.


Author Chester Ng Chong Hoe Healthcare


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