October 2008 – Emotions and the Chinese Body Clock

More than 5000 years ago, while we were busy making healing poultices from cow dung and arsenic (please allow for a touch of artistic licence here…), China’s practitioners of traditional medicine were mapping out the energy pathways flowing through our organs, a network still known as the meridian system. Certain points along the pathways are known as acupuncture points. The Chinese call the subtle energy flowing through the network Qi (Ch’i). According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there are 12 true meridian circuits that govern the organs. TCM states that for two hours in each 24, one meridian gets a chance to dominate the body physically and – even more interestingly – emotionally. The cycle is sometimes called the energy body clock. Using it may help to explain why certain symptoms manifest, or get worse, at different times of day or night. Following is some basic information about each meridian: the times they dominate the body-mind, the organ or organs they are linked to and the primary and secondary emotions associated with them: · Lung (dominates 3 AM – 5 AM) – grief, sadness · Large intestine (dominates 5 AM – 7 AM) – stuck, defensiveness · Stomach (dominates 7 AM – 9 AM) – disgust, despair · Spleen (dominates 9 AM – 11 AM) – Associated with the pancreas – low self -esteem · Heart (dominates 11 AM – 1 PM) – frightfully overjoyed, lack of joy, frightfully sad · Small intestine (dominates 1 PM – 3 PM) – vulnerable, feelings of abandonment · Bladder (dominates 3 PM – 5 PM) – associated with skin – irritated, timidity · Kidney (dominates 5 PM – 7 PM) – fear, terror · Circulation / sex (dominates 7 PM – 9 PM) – associated with the brain, including the pituitary and hypothalamus, and the reproductive organs – unresponsive, Inability to express emotions, depleted. · Triple Warmer (dominates 9 PM – 11 PM) – associated with the thyroid and adrenals it is what controls your metabolism, energy transfer and temperature regulation – confusion, paranoia · Gallbladder (dominates 11 PM – 1 AM) – resentment · Liver (dominates 1 AM – 3 AM) – anger, frustration, rage Source: http://www.natureshealingway.com/Chines … ystem.html.  It struck me that although the body clock is a diagnostic tool anchored in TCM – and is usually used in conjunction with acupuncture and Chinese remedies – it might be useful to look at it in a western context. What if it could be used, in combination with other approaches, to help identify problem areas? As an example, a woman in her 50s who was going through the menopause frequently awoke at 2am feeling very angry and possessing, for no good reason, a desire to knife her sleeping (and unsuspecting!) husband. Fortunately for him, she mentioned the problem to a friend versed in TCM, who knew that 1-3am was ‘liver time’ and, significantly, linked on an emotional level to anger, frustration and rage. Instead of seeking out a Chinese remedy, however, the lady used methods more familiar to her to cleanse her liver – namely, the herb milk thistle and a liver flush – and the kitchen knife remained safely in its drawer (1). This might be regarded as an instance of East-West fusion: using an eastern technique to help ascertain what’s wrong, then employing a western (or simply more home-grown) approach to solving the problem. It’s also an interesting case because supporting the liver in its detoxifying role is often used in herbal medicine to relieve the physical and emotional symptoms of menopause. Although it’s important not to rely solely on the energy body clock when trying to make sense of emotional issues, I think it can be a useful pointer. Since June, when a friend of mine died in an accident, I’ve been waking up a lot between 3am and 5am – lung time. I was astonished to discover that, according to the Chinese body clock, 3-5am is associated with sadness and grief. I’ve found taking deep breaths, which expand the lungs, can help when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Drinking mullein tea also supports the lungs. Another bereaved friend has been feeling emotionally very fragile between 12pm and 1pm – heart time. According to the body clock, the heart is the seat of deep joy and deep sadness. Physically, the lungs and the heart are directly connected (e.g. slowing down the out breath slows down the heart rate). In terms of support, the herb Crataegus should be considered in both cases. Crataegus is helpful for the heart not only on a physical level; it also comforts the emotional heart. Another (and very gentle) approach would be to take Healing Herbs flower essences. Based on the work of Dr Edward Bach, they perform their magic on an energetic level. I know a couple of true sceptics who have found Dr Bach’s famous Rescue Remedy effective in moments of panic, but there is, in fact, a wide range of flower essences available, designed to help the individual cope with a spectrum of emotional shadows (2). Finally, good nutrition and aerobic exercise (e.g. walking) are a must when dealing with emotional issues. There are lots of different approaches and it’s important to find one that suits you and isn’t too stressful to put into practice. You could call into the shop for advice on how to find a good nutritionist or practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Or, if you prefer to go it alone, Patrick Holford’s books are a good place to start and are widely available. Check out Optimum Nutrition for the Mind, which makes the connection between emotional health and the health of the brain. Good nutrition is an area that’s so often overlooked in emotional healing but it’s truly essential! (1) Milk Thistle is available in tincture and tablet form from The Hopsack. Check out Andreas Moritz’s book, The Amazing Liver Cleanse, for more information on in-depth liver cleansing. Dr Sandra Cabot’s book, The Liver Cleansing Diet, is a gentler approach but also very helpful for detoxifying the liver. I found Moritz’s book in Waterstone’s. Cabot’s seems to be more widely available. (2) Mullein is available in loose herb form and Crataegus is available in tincture form from the shop. The Healing Herbs range and Dr Bach’s Rescue Remedy are also available. Ask a member of staff for a Healing Herbs leaflet and advice on how to choose the right remedy for you. It is imperative to follow the instructions on the packet when taking supplements. If you think you may be unwell, or if you are taking medication, do not take supplements without consulting with your doctor first. It is also important to consult with your GP before doing a liver flush or making major changes to your diet and lifestyle. Rhoda-Mary Posts: 33 Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:29 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *