Happy Sunday lovely people!
If you follow my instagram @emma.the.alchemist then you'll know much I LOVE Traditional Chinese Medicine theory.
I've been uncovering all sorts of amazing gems recently whilst studying and I though I'd talk about the Chinese Body Clock.
This is what a Chinese Body Clock looks like
As you can see, the body is governed by different organs at different times of day. This doesn't mean that the rest of the organs shut down and stop working, but the theory suggests that during this 24 hour time frame different organs work optimally and the most energy is given to said organ to do so at varying times of the day.
The clock enables us to look at which meridian systems or certain organs might be struggling due to symptoms getting worse throughout the day. By looking at this we can take into account where you might need extra support within your body. The symptoms are just messages telling us how to rebalance.
I posted this to my instagram story and someone replied asking whether this would be applicable to those who do shift work. The answer is no. The body biologically is set to a circadian rhythm that is naturally in sync with sunrise and sunset, hence why we wake up when the sunrises and get tired when it sets. Time zones can also send the body out of whack due to the circadian rhythm being disrupted, which is what we call jet lag.
Circadian rhythm is something that has existed since the dawn of time. They didn't have alarms or desks to be at thousands of years ago, so they rose when the sun came up and then slept when the sun went down. Seasons also affect this rhythm, which is why animals will hibernate during the colder, darker winter months. We should listen more closely to the animals tbh, hibernation in the winter months is exactly what most people need on those cold winter days!
Coming from someone who had a job in the music industry...sleep wasn't a priority to me. Whether I was working at events or just attending them, my body clock was all kinds of messed up. Sometimes I would wake up 8am and not go to bed until 8am the following day. My body clock was all over the place. Going on this theory, how could my body function and perform the necessary duties required to stay balanced and healthy? Following an early wake up regime and early bedtime routine is going to do your body and health the world of good.
Within the western realm everyone seems to be chronically tired. I took my laptop to be seen at Apple and the guy asked me what I did. I told him and he said - got any tips for tiredness? It's an epidemic of people who are really just always tired. Having a look at daily habits and how they reflect in relation to certain organs is a wonderful way to be more mindful of how we are living and treating our bodies. Some systems or meridians might just need some TLC.
Below is a breakdown of how we might use this chart in the western realm.
If we are following the TCM clock, then jumping out of bed at 6am and taking a walk before breakfast seems like the most farfetched piece of advice ever. However, if we can implement that in a different way then we're more likely to stick to it.
Wake up between 6-7am. Instead of taking a walk, stretch! You don't have to do handstands and bend your legs behind your head, but stretch out and meditate for 30 minutes before you do anything else.
Between 8-9am have some food and prepare for your day. Don't grab a coffee and a pastry, or a biscuit. Eat some real food! There's an abundance of breakfast food that can be thrown together instantly to create something healthy and nutritious such as a smoothie bowl or eggs and asparagus. Herbal teas in the morning are ideal depending on which tea you pick. Green tea or matcha has caffeine to help wake you up, but also contains loads of antioxidants to help your body continue to detox throughout your morning.
10-12 is optimal time for the spleen to come into function. If you saw my story the other day all about the spleen you'll know how interconnected the spleen is to the lymphatic system. Do some lymph drainage. You can even do this at your desk. Lisa @thelymphaticmessage on instagram has some amazing tutorials for the face and neck. These things don't have to be huge or cost any money to make a difference!
Eat your lunch between 12-1. Do this not at your desk, do this in a place that is made to eat food. Take your hour break too. Take a stroll as well, get your limbs moving and keep the body working, doing it's jobs.
Between1-3pm is when your small intestine gets to work and the nutrients get absorbed. This is also why some people have have that afternoon lull and reach for sugary treats or a coffee around 3-4pm. Try and stick to water or moving your body, getting up from your desk and going outside for some air. These things are a much better way to manage that sleepy feeling. The sugar/caffeine hit isn't creating genuine energy and so the body will crash harder once it's run out of that immediate hit.
Drinking water should happen from the moment you wake up, but if you have forgotten to drink your minimum 2L a day, 5pm is a great place to start. This is when the kidneys get to work on flushing everything out, drinking your quota of water during this time frame will help that process and keep the body hydrated with essential minerals. 5pm-7pm is also when you should be eating your dinner. Best time to start that digestive process and nourish the body
People in the western realm can sit at a desk all day and then go home and sit at a desk some more and watch a screen. Well, between 7pm - 9pm the pericardium is telling you, utilise this time to have sex! Sex with yourself or with someone else during this time period will keep your pericardium healthy and functioning. It's the meridian in charge of connection to self and other people, so keep that part of your heart open and ready to receive. It is also the perfect time to read a book. Reading before bed helps to calm down the nervous system from being on high alert all day.
Between 9-11pm is when you should start to get sleepy. It's when the endocrine system activates which means hormones. Your hormones are super important for a good nights sleep and a restful one at that. The body will start to release melatonin, which is the hormone that alerts us that it's dark and it's time for bed. It comes from the pineal gland in the day this gland is inactive. It literally come out at night to tell us when to go to bed, so listen to it! I know that I'm guilty of fighting that tired feeling with 'oh just one more episode' or something along those lines. Try and be more mindful about when your body is TELLING you it wants to sleep and allowing it to.
The gallbladder then comes into function between 11pm -1am. This is super important for the body because this is repair time. Any free radical damage is repaired during this time and bile is released so that digestion can occur overnight and the process of removing toxins and other nasty things from the body can proceed.
The most important detoxing time for the body is between 1am-3am. This is when the liver is hard at work creating those detox pathways and making sure that anything that is harmful is being transported out. It's why if you drink alcohol that sometimes you can wake up between 1am-3am really dehydrated and needing water (or why you should drink water before bed) because it means the body can hydrate and perform that essential detox that it needs to.
The last bit of this body clock is the lungs. Between 3am-5am the lungs are in detox mode and it's when we are in our most deep sleep, which means the body can fully restore itself ready for a new day.
And then we do it all over again!
Our bodies are just AMAZING and it's so important to make sure that we are giving it the tools it needs to generate these bodily functions that keep us healthy and thriving. The circadian rhythm is such an important part of this tool box so keeping an eye on how you feel throughout the day and if you notice any lulls at particular times could mean that certain organs might need some support or they have a deficiency. Be aware and be mindful.