What is the Chinese Medicine clock?
The Chinese medicine organ clock takes 24 hours and divides our day into 12 two-hour intervals. Each interval represents a Qi (vital force) moving through a specific organ system, which comes from the Zang-Fu organ network and follows the 5 Elements of Chinese Medicine.
The Chinese medicine body clock is built upon the natural Yin-Yang ebb and flow of Qi and blood moving through the Zang-Fu organs.
During the day, our body follows the presence of the Sun, so it is mostly in a Yang state, and towards late-afternoon, the sun starts to descend and so body begins to enter a more Yin state. Read more about Yin-Yang balance here.
How is it used?
TCM practitioners use the Chinese medicine organ clock to identify possible patterns of disease based on symptoms experienced during certain times of the day. For example, if you're the type of person who wakes up from 3-5am each morning, you may have underlying grief or sadness that is affecting the lung condition. Similarly, pent up anger will affect the liver so you will feel particularly fired up during from 1-3am. The Chinese medicine body clock helps identify what are ways you may need to rebalance your yin and yang.
How can we use the Chinese Medicine clock to inform our daily lives?
During this 24 hour period, Qi and blood are continuously in an ebb-and-flow of storage or circulation - drawing inward then drawing outwards.
Qi and blood are stored in the Liver, who is responsible for holding and cleansing the blood so it's ready for a fresh new cycle to support your body for the next day. This is why ensuring your body is in deep sleep from 1-3am is important to make sure you have a fresh reserve to work with for the brand new day. Following this important interval, all activity for the next 12-hour - so from 3 a.m.-3pm focuses on transforming, digestion, transporting, and eliminating through the lungs, large intestine, stomach, spleen, heart, and small intestine.
By mid-afternoon, energy again moves inward to support internal organs associated with restoring and maintaining the system. The purpose is to move fluids and heat, as well as to filter and cleanse—by the pericardium, triple burner (coordinates water functions and temperature), bladder/kidneys and the liver.
Let's zoom-in on each 2 hour interval:
By understanding that the chinese medicine clock has a specific Zang-Fu organ, we can choose to schedule our daily lives based on which organ has the optimal time for functioning. Bt doing this, we can be more mindful about when we're doing certain things and actually support our body in the process of their natural designated tasks.
What if I'm just an night owl?
Okay so we all know someone that just can't get up in the morning — sound familiar? Yes in TCM there's something to be said about that. To live in dissociation from the ways of nature is to very much create hardship for your body. Always listen to you body cues to serve as a guide to understanding how to apply self-care. Every day, week, month, season looks different for you - and that's ok. The first step, is simply to notice and listen.
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My earliest memories of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) began in the living room of my childhood home, where my dad, Dr. Sun, held his first Acupuncture space. At a young age, I saw the myriad of herbs he would pull together for his patients. Our basement was an apothecary, our kitchen filled with my pieces from my Operator set, and the living room served patients. After immigrating to New York City from Shanghai in the 1970s, my parents, like many other immigrants of New York, left everything they ever knew, to build a brand new life from scratch.
As a first generation American-born-Chinese kid growing up in NYC, it was hard to understand why my parents didn't pack me Capri-suns and Fig Newtons in my lunchbox. Instead of letting me wear short-shorts and slurp Ralph's Italian ices all Summer long, I was taught to always drinking warm water no matter what, make sure my feet were never freezing cold, and to listen to my body and treat it well.
While having practiced Chinese Medicine for a lifetime with my dad, it wasn't until a few years ago that I truly started to feel like I wanted to step into this world and be a champion of this beautiful, complex, and deeply connected world of ancient healing and wisdom. My friends and family were all beginning to seek holistic and alternative forms of health, and they would come to me and I would send them to my dad.
My turning point came when I saw the wellness industry seem to explode with all sorts of Qi Balancing, Yin Boosting, He Shou Wu touting products for this-that-and the other. Appalled by the lack of direction consumers face today in navigating "what wellness products should I take and why", I felt the need to step up and bring clear and medically supported guidance in navigating the natural way to being well.
I am making a step towards building a lineage of Traditional Healers and continuing the legacy that my dad, Dr. Sun, has created. This is inspired by a life long learning of my own culture and heritage that came thousands of years before me. And together we will learn, appreciate, and share the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Welcome to a world of inspiration: here to teach you how to listen to your body, feed it what it needs, and give you the tools to understand how to rebalance the yin to your yang with everyday foods.
Modern Chinese Wellness, from my family to yours.