The Body Clock

Milos Bang, Acupuncturist
Waking Times 

Most of Eastern Philosophy and Medicine comes from observing Nature and the Universe. Ancient Chinese realized early that most things in Nature are cyclical and by observing the human body’s patterns, established that our own energy (Qi) also moves on daily and on annual cycles. If you often wake up in the middle of the night, always around the same time or if you “crash” and feel sleepy and tired in the afternoon, you will know what we are talking about. Almost all of us have a time of day that stands out but we are seldom aware of the pattern and usually don’t even know we can do something about it. These patterns are not seen as significant in Western Medicine but for the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture, they play important roles in human health and well being.

  • The daily pattern of Qi Energy travels through all 12 major organs in each 24 hour period. The Energy switches from one organ to the next on approximately two hour intervals. This cycle never ends and the order is always the same. This process is meant to provide all major organs with abundant energy to function at maximum level as well as to repair themselves. The Body Clock is a great tool we can use to get a better idea on what is going on in our bodies. Typically, our imbalances will either peak at affected organ’s time or that time will bring a relief from discomfort. It is common that one feels best when organs associated with their CF are getting the peak energy. Here is the list of Major Organs, hours associated with them and the Element they correspond to.

    In Acupuncture, we use the Body Clock in many ways. When learning about patient’s condition as well as their CF, we ask questions related to time of day a certain event occurs (waking up at night, feeling low / upset / sleepy in the afternoon, etc). This information allows us to point to the organ and / or Element that may be out of balance. Also, in treating certain conditions, the Organ Clock offers the best time of day to address them. Sometimes, we need this “extra punch” and will wait for the right hour to provide treatment.

    This article originally appeared at, an excellent blog about acupuncture.

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