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Using the Chinese Medicine Body Clock to maximise your day

Written by Caitlin Armit | Monday, 3 April 2023

chinese medicine natural health

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been practised for thousands of years, and one of its most interesting concepts is the Chinese Medicine Body Clock.

This theory suggests that our bodies have a natural rhythm that corresponds with different organs and systems, which can help us understand how to optimise our health and wellbeing. This Chinese Medicine Body Clock is based on the idea that our bodies are influenced by the natural cycles of day (yang) and night (yin).

According to this theory, each of our organs has a two-hour period of peak activity during a 24-hour cycle.


The clock starts at 3am, when the body is said to enter the lung meridian. You ought to be asleep but, for people who are experiencing grief or deep sadness, they may find themselves waking between 3am and 5am indicating that this organ is in disharmony. These people may benefit from breathing exercises, a good cry, and eating lung-nourishing foods during the day.

Large Intestine

From 5am to 7am, the body enters the large intestine meridian, which is an ideal time for bowel movements and moving the body with stimulating exercise.


The stomach meridian is active between 7am to 9am, which is the best time to eat a nutritious breakfast. Intermittent fasting and skipping breakfast? Not a wise idea according to Chinese Medicine.


Between 9am to 11am the spleen is most active, making this period a perfect time to start work, problem solve, concentrate, and retain information.


11am to 1pm belongs to the heart. Take a break from your day and enjoy lunch sitting down instead of rushing, and eat in the company of good friends and family, if at all possible.


One of the most common times for people to report waking is between 1-3am when the liver is most active. Often, this is during times of stress and conflict and coincidentally, the liver is associated with anger, stress, frustration, and resentment so waking at this time indicates disharmony of the liver.

Gall Bladder

In the evening, it’s a good idea to be winding down between 9pm and 11pm (gall bladder time – an organ which relates to courage and decision making) so that you are well and truly asleep by 11pm to 1am when the Liver meridian is active, allowing your body to rest and replenish overnight.

Those with irregular lifestyle habits sometimes argue ‘my body doesn’t know what time it is!’ but this Chinese Medicine Body Clock approach tells us otherwise. When we learn about our body’s natural rhythms, we can tailor our routines to optimise our health. Combined with receiving treatments and advice from a qualified Chinese medicine practitioner, obtaining some knowledge of basic concepts can be an empowering and practical way to improve your health and quality of life.

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Caitlin Armit

In 2014, Caitlin Armit graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science (Acupuncture) from Endeavour College of Natural Health.

Upon graduation, she established and grew her own successful business in the Brisbane CBD as an Acupuncturist. With a passion for Chinese Medicine philosophy and the psycho-emotional aspect of treatment, Caitlin developed an aptitude for treating stress and anxiety disorders as well as musculoskeletal aches and pains.

As a lifelong learner with a passion for education, Caitlin is currently studying a Master of Educational Studies at UQ — a qualification that she will be able to add to her Bachelor of Health Science (Acupuncture), she also has a Diploma of Remedial Massage, Diploma of Tui Na and Diploma of Nutrition.

Caitlin lectures full-time at Endeavour, but you can also find her in clinical practice at GO2 Health (Everton Park) every Saturday.

Read more by Caitlin Armit