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The TCM approach to a healthy day to day life.  The answer to many of your WHY questions.

Posted on August 24, 2016 by Revitalize Lifestyle
Do you wonder why you wake up at certain times of the night, why sometimes foods you eat bloats you and other times it's fine or why your energy drops at certain times of the day?  
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Well in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there is an organ clock that represents the time of the day when each organ is functioning optimally and has the most energy. There are 12 organ systems and 2 accessory systems that are represented by this clock. Each organ system is also associated with an emotion, taste, sense organ, season.  I have found by working alongside this clock my body functions great and when I change or eat, sleep out of the ordinary my digestion can become sluggish, sleep patterns are erratic and energy levels dwindle.
Below is a very brief outline on how imbalances in these systems may arise both physically, mentally and emotionally.
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3-5am Lung: The lung is responsible for moving the qi (energy) through the meridians and to the entire body, as well as providing immune protection. It is also emotionally associated with grief. You may find that wake up during these times if you are struggling with anxiety, grief or sorrow. Imbalances may also show up as wheezing, coughing, asthma, or getting sick easily.
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5-7am Large Intestine: This is the best time to have a bowel movement. Yep jump on that loo as soon as you get up and your body will love you.  The large intestine is all about ‘letting go’ physically and emotionally. Symptoms of malfunction include bloating, pain, constipation, dry stools, skin rash, and feeling emotionally ‘stuck’ .
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7-9am Stomach: This is the best time to have a nourishing and substantial breakfast it’s the most beneficial time for digestion & breakdown of foods.  If out of balance, symptoms that may arise include acid reflux, stomach ulcer and bad breath.
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9-11am Spleen: The spleen extracts nutrients from food, transforms it into energy and transports it to other organ systems. During this time, you can support the spleen by having a nice cup of warming tea, or a light snack. To support your  spleen eat warm or cooked meals when possible and eat slowly.  To assist the function of your spleen include cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, pumpkin, dates, and lentils, try avoiding dairy where possible. Imbalances may show up as loose stools, bloating after meals, craving sweets, and low energy.
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11am-1pm Heart: In an ideal world during these hours, it is best to relax, take a siesta, and enjoy lunch. Yes the countries that still have siesta’s know how beneficial this time is for rest. The heart dislikes heat (emotional & physical), so try to avoid caffeine, stress, intense exercise, or anything that raises your blood pressure. Symptoms of imbalance are palpitations, shortness of breath, cold hands & feet, and insomnia.
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1-3pm Small Intestine: The small intestine separates the clear and turbid fluids, and moves these to the urinary bladder and large intestine, respectively. If you haven’t drank enough water during the day, you are more likely to feel dehydrated during these times. When out of balance, conditions that may arise include duodenal ulcer, bloating with vomiting or gas.
3-5pm Bladder: This is a time of the day when you can feel a little low in energy, especially if you are not well-hydrated. The urinary bladder stores & secretes urine (clear fluid), and is nourished by salty foods so having a bowl of brothy soup, such as miso or veggie broth, during this time helps strengthen the bladder (and the kidney, which is it’s paired organ). When out of balance, you may experience urinary issues.
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5-7pm Kidney: The kidneys are responsible for healthy reproduction, development, and growth. Some activities that support this are to have a healthy meal (but not too large) with a little salt for flavouring and love making, which keeps your kidney ‘essence’ strong! Kidneys are also where we hold fear in our body so by keeping our kidneys healthy it can help with reducing feelings of fear.
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7-9pm Pericardium: This is one of the accessory organs systems. To support the pericardium, this is the time to do something gentle to help you ease into sleep, such as meditation, light stretching, reading, or cuddling on the couch.
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9-11pm San Jiao (Triple Burner): This is the second accessory organ system. During this time, to best support San Jiao, we should think about going to sleep during this time – having an earlier bed time in the winter, and staying up a little later in summer.
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11pm-1am Gall Bladder: Physically, the gallbladder stores and excretes bile, but emotionally, it is in charge of self-esteem and decision-making. If you’re not sleeping by this time, you are depleting your gall bladder’s energy stores, which over time, may lead to poor self-esteem, poor judgment, or difficulty digesting fats.
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1-3am Liver: The liver’s role is to store blood for menstruation and to get us through the day. If you’re not sleeping at this time, you can quickly become deficient, especially if you are female because of the importance of blood for menstruation (even for those going through menopause). The liver is also emotionally connected to anger. You may find that you wake up between 1-3am if you have repressed anger or frustration. Symptoms of liver imbalances include irregular menstruation, anemia, chronic fatigue, and headache.
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It’s food for thought, next time you are eating or waking up at odd hours have a think about which organ is active in the body and see if anything relates to you physically, mentally or emotionally. 
Reference: Dr Lyndsay Wareham ND Article on Traditional Chinese Medicine Organ Times 2013.

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