The organ clock is the coolest thing.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the organ clock maps out the time of the day each organ is active, in control so to speak.
If we were a bus, a different organ drives for two hours at a time. This is when the qi moves through one of these 12 meridians.
One meridian-organ of a yin-yang pair is the most energetic during this two-hour window, with maximum energy mid-point in this period and with minimum energy 12 hours after.
This partly accounts for the natural rhythm of energy – low and high – in the 24-hour cycle. Energy goes inward during sleep and then moves outward again. This is basically a repair/maintenance schedule.
The Organs in the Organ Clock
By organ, we mean organ system – the organ both energetically and physically and all its associations.
The yin organs – liver, heart, spleen, lungs, and kidneys – produce, transform, regulate, and store qi, blood, and fluids. The yang organs – gall bladder, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, bladder, and triple burner – digest and transport nutrients. Everything is interconnected – each meridian-organ system is related to a season, emotion, element, taste, sense…
How can You use the Organ Clock?
Because of this delicious web, we have many clues to suss out the root of an imbalance. The organ clock is also a good working blueprint to optimize our well-being strategies. We can strengthen our constitution by bolstering the “weakest” link – our vulnerabilities and susceptibilities.
Are you waking up at 3.30am? Or is 7.30pm especially drag-y for you? Maybe your back pain gets sharp around a certain time? Take a look below to check out what may be going on, according to the organ clock.
What time zone is your organ clock running? Ideally – where you are geographically. Jet lag is partially from the confusion between where you are physically and where your organ clock is still operating from.
Travelling? Try this to help your jet lag – hold each of your fingers on the flight and try the Nutripuncture Jet Lag sequence.
The Meridian-Organ Clock
3am to 5am
Physical Role Oxygenation + Respiration
Energetic Role Moves qi through the meridians and body
Emotions Balanced Letting go | Imbalanced Excessive grief + sadness plus uninspired
Physical Imbalances Feeling weak, asthma, coughing, wheezing
Tips Sleep with open windows for fresh air, unless it creates too much cold over the head; take deep exhales to cleanse out old air, and let in fresh air.
Are waking up between 3am and 5am? Look to see if you are suppressing any deep sadness. Maybe you need a good cry. This is also the time when toxic waste is loosened inside your lungs. Cough when you first get up? Time to adjust your lifestyle.
Large Intestine (Yang)
5am to 7am
Physical Role Absorbs fluids and eliminates impure food
Energetic Role Generates grief so we can let go + move on
Emotions Balanced Letting go | Imbalanced Guilty + defensiveness
Physical Imbalances Skin rash, dry stool, constipation
Tips Warm water with lemon first thing in the morning helps to trigger a bowel movement to remove the toxins from the cleansing of the prior night.
The Large Intestine is about letting go – physically, emotionally, mentally. Help the body by sipping warm water with lemon upon waking. This is also the best time for a bowel movement.
Love your coffee? Wait until after 7am. Caffeine, being a diuretic, is not doing your colon any favors. Instead flush your system with water first thing in the morning.
7am to 9am
Season Late Summer
Physical Role Digestion and breakdown of food
Energetic Role Digestion and breakdown of thoughts and emotions
Emotions – Balanced Grounded + mental clarity | Imbalanced Despair + disgust
Physical Imbalances Acid reflux, bad breath, ulcer, low appetite
Tips ST-12 for stomach aches. Look for the hollow in the collarbones. ST-12 is in line with the nipple.
Have a good breakfast during this time to maximize both digestion and assimilation.
When the Stomach meridian is imbalanced, you may feel extra sensitive or you may be overworking.
9am to 11am
Season Late Summer
Physical Role Absorbs nutrients + transport food
Energetic Role Energy storehouse + Rhythm regulator
Emotions – Balanced Trusting + Honest | Imbalanced Over-worry, over-think, obsessive
Physical Imbalances Loose stools, craving sweets, lack of energy, bloating after eating.
Tips Relax the brain, take a bath, get some quiet time, meditation, warming tea.
Try the Jin Shin Jyutsu Spleen Flow for revitalization. The quick self-help for this flow is one hand on the tail bone and the other hand on the inside of the ankle (e.g. left hand on left ankle).
A light snack may be helpful. Cinnamon, yam, dates, and lentils nourish the spleen.
In TCM, the spleen is the organ. It is the energy storehouse. Being in perpetual late summer heat in cities like Singapore can easily overtax the spleen. Be sure to nourish this organ system.
11am to 1pm
Physical Role Turns food energy into blood which it sends to other organs; regulates the heart and blood vessels
Energetic Role Houses thoughts + intentions plus balances emotions
Emotions – Balanced Joy, love, excitement | Imbalanced Sadness, impulsive + lack of enthusiasm
Physical Imbalances Cold hands + feet, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, difficulty sleeping, poor memory
Tips Cayenne, mung beans, and papaya are good for the heart
The heart meridian connects with the tongue and speech problems may link back to blockages here.
Physical and emotional heat is something the heart does not like – avoid anything that raises the blood pressure (caffeine, stress, hardcore exercise). What makes the heart stronger? Tapping into your true desires and being joyful.
Small Intestine (Yang)
1pm to 3pm
Physical Role Separates the fluids and moves them into either the bladder or large intestine
Energetic Role Discernment, good judgment
Emotions – Balanced Joy, love, excitement | Imbalanced Insecure + Vulnerable
Physical Imbalances Bloating with vomiting or gas, pain in the testes
Tips The Small Intestine, with its role of separator, is about clear judgment and perception. This ability affects the organ function and the health of the organ affects this ability.
Make whatever you are eating between 1pm and 3pm count. Opt for a fulfilling and nutritious meal. Whole foods is best. If you are taking supplements, this is a good time to maximum their absorption.
Feeling parched? This is a sign that your water intake is too low therefore consume more clean filtered water and electrolytes.
Note that the small intestine follows the heart. The small intestines is about judgment and making choices. Once we know our true desires, decisions are easy.
3pm to 5pm
Physical Role Stores and secretes urine
Energetic Role Moves qi through the meridians and body
Emotions – Balanced Serenity + Wisdom | Imbalanced Irrational fear, suspicious, indecisive, jealous + timid
Physical Imbalances Yeast infection, urinary incontinence, burning when urinating, pain in the eyes
Tips Drink up! Broth with sea or Himalayan salt is nourishing.
If dehydrated, you may feel a dip in energy levels. If you are not eliminating often enough, this is a sign you are not drinking enough water. Warm water with lemon is always great.
5pm to 7pm
Physical Role Filters the blood; produces marrow
Energetic Role Stores our jing, inherited from our parents; houses will power, courage, and sexual potency
Emotions – Balanced Serenity, Wisdom | Imbalanced Feeling insecure, lonely, fearful
Physical Imbalances Sexual difficulties, low libido, poor memory, lower back pain, premature graying of hair, sore knees
Tips Black sesame seeds, celery, duck, grapes, kidney beans, raspberries, salt, seaweed, strawberries, walnuts, and tangerines are good for the kidneys. Go for a back massage!
Healthy kidneys = healthy development, growth, and reproduction
Not springing out of bed between 5am to 7am? That’s when the kidneys are the weakest and lethargy can be another sign of depleted kidneys, which are related to the adrenals.
7pm to 9pm
Physical Role Physical and emotional protector of the heart
Energetic Role Protector of emotions
Emotions – Balanced Benevolent, kind-hearted + joyful | Imbalanced Difficulty in expressing emotion, depleted
Physical Imbalances Arrhythmia, hiccups
Tips Strengthen the pericardium with joyful and loving self-expression
This fluid-filled sac physically protects the heart from excessive expansion. It also protects the heart from the excessive emotions from the other organs. This includes grief from the lungs, anger from the liver, and fear from the kidneys.
This is the time to prep for sleep – try meditation or light reading.
Triple Burner (Yang)
9pm to 11pm
Physical Role Related to water metabolism and networking in the body.
Energetic Role Survival mechanism
Emotions – Balanced Benevolent, kind-hearted + joyful | Imbalanced Hopelessness, paranoid, confused
Physical Imbalances Headaches
Tips Sleep! Feeling stressed? Do this – take a deep breath, place your palms on your temples and as you exhale, move them behind the ear, down the the sides of the neck, and hold the shoulders. With another deep breath, dig into your shoulders. Exhale and shake it off.
The triple warmer, an accessory organ system, is made of three parts – the thorax which controls intake, the abdomen which controls transformation, and the pelvis which controls elimination. It is related to warmth, water metabolism, and networking in the body.
Being the survival mechanism, the triple warmer pulls energy from other organ systems in response to “invaders”, thereby lowering the body’s overall functioning. The spleen (“mother”) sits across from the triple warmer (“father”) so it is primarily from the spleen, the body’s energy storehouse, that the energy is pulled from.
As most people chronically stressed, it is very important to protect the triple warmer. Learn effective techniques such as HeartMath to build resilience. We can also rewire our programming to recognize anxiety not as a threat.
As the triple warmer governs blood vessels, headaches may present due to the blood vessels needing heavy repair. Rest well.
Gall Bladder (Yang)
11pm to 1am
Physical Role Store and release bile for the digestion of fats + oils
Energetic Role Courage and confidence for decision-making and making changes, move emotion
Emotions – Balanced Anger | Imbalanced Resentful, depressed + bitter
Physical Imbalances Weak ankles, dizziness, hip or sciatica pain
Tips Ho’oponopono + gratitude practices help with letting go of resentment.
Deficient gall bladder energy is related to poor sleep and insufficient sleep depletes energy reserves, which chips away at self-esteem, judgment, and the digestion of fat.
1am to 3am
Physical Role Cleanses the blood
Emotions – Balanced Anger | Imbalanced Irritability, explosive anger + frustration
Physical Imbalances Chronic fatigue, anemia, headache, muscle spasms, eye problems
Tips Liver flush, stress release, relaxation
“Nails are the remains of the tendons”
The liver controls tendons, which rely on liver blood. The degree of dryness is a good sign of sufficient liver blood flow.
Vomiting during this time may indicate an overtaxed liver. Take a break from alcohol and fatty foods and enjoy a liver flush.
Sleep during this time is important. This is especially so for women as the liver stores the blood for menstruation. Otherwise the body becomes deficient.
When the liver is at its strongest, the small intestine is at its weakest – this is why sometimes late meals can keep you up.
Note This article includes Traditional Chinese Medicine and Jin Shin Jyutsu suggestions. Jin Shin Jyutsu draws its roots from Chinese Medicine, among other disciplines. Please note that the time accorded to each of the 12 organs in the Jin Shin Jyutsu system differs from the one presented here, which is from Traditional Chinese Medicine.