Have you noticed that you always wake up at the same time of the night without an alarm clock, for example at 1 or 2am? Or say you start coughing at the same time every night, like around 3 or 4am? Or that you get sleepy at the same time of the day, say around 6 or 7pm? Did you know that the specific time that a certain symptom occurs is your body’s way of saying that there is a dysfunction in a certain organ?
In Chinese medicine, we believe that the Qi (“life force” or “energy”) circulates in a each organ at specific time periods in a 24-hour period. Qi is of course circulating throughout the body all day long, but it emphasizes it’s healing and reparative energy on a specific organ at specific times of the day. So if you find yourself having a coughing fit at say 3 in the morning, it means your Lungs are in dysfunction because the Qi is going through the Lungs between 3am and 5am but unable to do restorative work because of a dysfunction happening in the Lung. You will often find that this happens long after a recovery of a cold, which indicates that though the overt symptoms of a cold are long gone, the Lungs did not properly heal. You will be more susceptible to catching the cold or flu again if you continue coughing at this time of the night even though you have no other cold symptoms. If you always find yourself waking up between 1am and 3am, it means there is a dysfunction going on in the Liver organ because the Qi flows through the Liver between 1am to 3am. You most likely have a lot of stress in your life or drink too much alcohol, causing undue stress in your Liver, which is the organ involved in detoxification and the free flow of Qi. Getting sluggish or tired between the hours of 5pm-7pm indicates a dysfunction in the Kidneys because it is during that time that the Qi flows through the Kidneys.
I have linked to a super handy graph that shows the flow of Qi in each organ and what it may be telling you if you see symptoms during that time. So next time you find yourself having a certain symptom manifest itself at the same time of the day or night, look at the graph and see what your body is trying to tell you. And of course, changing certain lifestyle habits, like eating healthier, exercising, going to sleep earlier and reducing your stress will help address the dysfunction, but do know that acupuncture and Chinese medicine can very effectively repair the organ dysfunction and overall bring all the organ energies in better harmony, helping you to overall have more energy, sleep better, stabilize your moods, emotions and appetite, and have better focus and mental alertness, among other things.