Guest Post: There’s a time for everything…(The Meridian System)

6 Jul

This is the first-ever guest post on this blog. 😀
Today I’m pleased to share the post dedicated by Apple. It started from my casual tweet the other day, tweeting “I feel better in the morning when I go to bed before 11pm.” and Apple kindly responded me with tips which sounded very interesting to me. I found it’s great if I could share her knowledge with my readers, which is why I asked her if she was interested in writing a guest post to Tokyo Kawaii, etc. and she did such a awesome work for all of us!! Please visit her blog or follow her on twitter if you find it interesting and useful. Thank You so much Apple, and it’ll be nice if you could join replying to comments from my readers.
Click the link to read her wonderful post!

There’s a time for everything…(The Meridian System)
There may be a reason that you are still not feeling your best when you are doing all the ‘right’ things that you are supposed to do in life. For example, do you feel even more tired even though you exercise a lot? Or despite sleeping 8 hours a day, you are still tired? Or, despite eating nutritiously, you are still overweight or unhealthy?

The Chinese believes that there is a right time to do everything, according to how your body works.
And one of the most interesting things I’ve learnt recently from my Uncle who studies Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is the Meridian System.

I think, being Chinese, we more or less knows about the Meridian System and doing the right things at the right time, since our parents and grandparents have been knocking bits and pieces of Chinese health advice into our heads since we were young. Things like, “Don’t exercise at night”, “Food should always be eaten hot”, “Don’t shower at night”, “Don’t always stay in air-conditioned rooms for long periods of time” etc. However, we were probably skeptical of it, as we did not understand the full story of it. But during a recent family gathering, I had the privilege of learning about the Meridian System, how our body works, and how to best maximize all our health efforts from my Uncle!!! It was really interesting and after the talk, I myself went home to research about it on the internet.

I do not know how to explain the Meridian System in English very well. But it is like a channel system which carries and distributes qi and blood. At different periods of time, qi and blood is ‘stronger’ in certain areas of our bodies, and if we take into account of this and act accordingly, we can have good health naturally.

11pm~1am Gall Bladder Meridian
The Right Thing to Do: Sleep

This is the time where your body prepares to recharge itself. If we do not sleep at this time, we cannot be recharged fully for the next day. The Gall Bladder Meridian is in charge of clearing all the rubbish we have consumed in the day, and if we do not sleep during this time, our body cannot clear itself of all toxins. Over a long period of time, this will result in dry mouth, migraine and bad digestive system.

1am~3am Liver Meridian
The Right Thing to Do: Continue sleeping.

This is the best time to ‘take care’ of your liver. It is the time where the qi and blood is strongest in the liver meridian. So continue to sleep deeply and let your liver do its job. Your liver has 2 main jobs. It stores the blood and regulates blood flow. When you are moving or exercising, your liver will transport the blood to the part of the body that needs it. The blood will return to the liver to be stored when you are resting. So, when you are still awake at this time, your liver cannot store blood. It can only distribute blood to all the parts of the body.

And if it doesn’t store blood, your emotional balance would be upset. The liver is responsible for regulating emotions, you see. So, you will notice that if you burn midnight oil for a long period of time, it’s easy for you to become easily upset or angry or depressed in the day. Many liver problems can be seen by looking at your eyes. If your eyes are dry, you can be sure that you are overworking your liver. Because your blood pressure is in a mess too, you will develop unstable blood pressures and you may easily feel dizzy.

3am~5am Lung Meridian
The Right Thing to Do: Continue sleeping soundly.

Have you ever heard of “The Deadly 4am”? This is the time when we find a lot of old people dying in their sleep. 4am is the time when our pulse is the weakest and our heartbeat is the slowest. During these 2 hours, qi and blood is strongest in our lung Meridian. This is the time where our lungs will re-arrange and transport where our qi and blood will go to. For example, it will decide, “Ok…how much qi and blood does the liver need. How about the heart? The kidneys…?” This is the time where our lungs cannot be disturbed. Some people awake suddenly during this period of time. This means that their lungs are weak. Do take note of this!

Our lungs are very fragile organs. Do you know how to take care of our lungs? You should eat more warm foods and water in the day. Avoid cold and raw food as much as possible. (This is why Chinese old people are very skeptical of eating Japanese raw fish and sushi and cold noodles although they are so delicious! It’s very hard to convince my grandmother to try them!!)

Our lungs are connected to our body hair. Cold wind will directly affect our lungs. (Which is also why our parents and grandparents always warn us against taking showers in the night! It is very harmful to our lungs and body joints. It is also why it is not advisable to have a fan or air-con blowing straight at you for a long time.)

A lot of people nowadays have respiratory problems because of their unhealthy diet and lifestyle (of being in an air-conditioned office for a very long time). How do you know your lungs have problems? When you find it easy to catch a cold; when you start having dry coughs; when you develop sensitive/watery nose in the morning; when you find it hard to empty your bowels!

5am~7am Large Intestine Meridian
The Right Thing to Do: Empty your bowels

The qi and blood is strongest in the Large Intestines at this time, so it is a great time to wake up in the morning and ‘activate’ it!!!
Drink 2 large glasses of warm water to warm up your large intestines. This is the best time to go to the toilet and empty your bowels!! If you do not have such a habit, you can develop it now. This is really a good chance to clear all the bad toxins you have stored inside your body! Emptying your bowels and clearing your body of toxins is really very important. It will give you great skin, a flat tummy, good breath and a healthy appetite. So, do make an effort to ‘do your business’ daily! ^^

7am~9am Stomach Meridian
The Right Thing to Do: Eat Breakfast

This is the time when your stomach has the most qi and blood, and your digestive system works best here! Whatever you eat during this time, your body can absorb the nutrients effectively! If you have bad digestion, gastric problems, or if you are dieting, you really should eat a very good and nutritious breakfast at this time to let your body take in the best nutrients!!!

Eat a warm, balanced breakfast instead of a cold one. If you eat a cold breakfast first thing in the morning (for example, iced fruit juices or milkshakes or cold milk with cereal), you might develop ‘wind’ in your stomach.

9am~11am Spleen Meridian
The Right Thing to Do: Exercise/ Study/ Work

If you’ve eaten a good breakfast, the nutrients you have consumed are by now changed into good energy!! So, you will find yourself most alert in these 2 hours! The spleen rules the muscles and flesh, thus this is a great time to exercise! Qi and blood is most sufficient during this period, and you should take this chance to train your muscles and move your limbs and body for the greatest effect! It is also good to drink a lot of water during this time as your body can absorb the water very well during this time.

11am~1pm Heart Meridian
The Right Thing to Do: Rest, have lunch

Your heart is working at its peak now, sending qi and blood to all the other organs in your body necessary to sustain life. Do not disturb your heart at work, and let it work at its own regular pace. This is also why many Chinese doctors disapprove of working out in the mid-afternoon.

Overexploitation of your heart will cause forgetfulness, slow thought processes and reactions, palpitations, chest discomfort, insomnia and cause you to feel lethargic throughout the day. The best thing to do is to relax and have lunch.

You can take a power nap during this period if it is possible, but it shouldn’t be more than 30minutes. If you find yourself unable to nap, you can find a quiet corner and have a little shut-eye moment for about 10 to 15 minutes. You will feel more refreshed and energetic after that.

1pm~3pm Small Intestine Meridian
The Right Thing to Do: Work, Study

This is the time when qi and blood is most sufficient in the small intestine. The small intestine is now digesting your lunch into nutrients and sending these nutrients to your spleen, which will turn these nutrients into energy. The waste will be sent to your large intestines for ‘clearance’.

If you had a good lunch, you will feel alert during this time because of the good energy transformed by the good nutrients. So make sure you have a good lunch before 1pm. If for some reason, you only get to eat after 1pm, make sure your meals are not loaded with protein, fat, and carbohydrates as your digestive system is resting after this period, meaning food cannot be digested well and will be accumulated inside your body.

Over a long period of time of skipping lunch, your body and limbs will become weak, hands and feet cold, you will have insomnia and restless nights, and other heart problems.

3pm~5pm Bladder Meridian
Right Thing to Do: Drink a lot of water, Exercise

This is a time where we have a lot of fluid in our body, therefore we feel tired easily. Many people use this time to drink coffee or tea to keep themselves awake, but this is wrong. We should drink a lot of water, and we must drink it in big gulps to help our bladder excrete the bad things through urine.

We can also exercise to let our body sweat a lot of our toxins out. But remember, you still have to drink a lot of water to replenish the loss of liquid. It is best if the water is warm.

5pm~7pm Kidney Meridian
Right Thing to Do: Relax and don’t move too much, Have dinner

This is the time where our kidneys will store all the unused energy and distribute them to our organs when needed to ensure we have enough energy for use throughout the day. It is not recommended to do intense exercise at this time, because we would use up all our energy, and have none to store. That is why you may feel even more tired after your evening exercise and drop down to sleep after that.

Relax, have a simple dinner. Go for a leisure walk after dinner. You can also eat foods that nourish the kidneys at this time for the best effect. If our blood is well nourished, courtesy of the work of our kidneys, you will have strong bones and teeth, bright, shiny, healthy hair, and also good hearing. So don’t underrate the importance of having healthy kidneys and start taking good care of them now.

7pm~9pm Pericardium Meridian
Right Thing to Do: Rest and Relax, Keep your emotions balanced

The pericardium is the outer layer covering your heart. Its purpose is to protect your heart. This is the time where qi and blood is most sufficient in your pericardium. If you had a heavy and rich dinner, you will easily find your chest to be tight, and you might feel like vomiting. This is the reason why you shouldn’t eat an oily dinner.

How to know if there are problems with your pericardium? When you have sleeping problems, it’s a warning that your pericardium is unbalanced. Sleeping problems are problems like insomnia, having many dreams, you have trouble falling asleep, you wake up far too easily, you start to be forgetful…

Rest and relax during this time. You can read a book, listen to music, chat with your family and friends etc.

This is also actually a great time to revise your work or practice something or learn something new, because you are most alert at 8pm.

9pm~11pm Triple Burner Meridian
Right Thing to Do: Remain happy and relax, get yourself ready for bed

The triple burner is responsible for the entire body, through which water, food, and fluid are transported. It is important to take care of your body during this time. At around 9pm, your memory works the best, so you can perhaps, write your diary or study for your test, but don’t get yourself too stressed out!

At 10pm, our body temperature will decrease and our body organs will start to slow their pace. You can rest and relax and get yourself ready for bed. Do some stretching and breathing exercises. At 11pm, your body will start to work to recharge itself, and the whole cycle continues again.

This was very interesting to me, and I could understand why I felt so tired despite exercising a lot. Previously, I run every morning at about 5am in the morning and I will also go running or play badminton at either 8pm or 10pm in the night.

My Uncle didn’t say much about my morning run, though he thinks it’s too early to run, that the air is still damp and thus it’s bad for the joints, but he was shocked that I ran at night, because, he said, “Not only is the air dirtiest at night, it is bad to the health to run at night. Do you know why many seemingly healthy and young people die in their sleep for no good reason? It’s bad for the heart to be exercising so late in the night, when all your organs are already preparing to slow down and recharge themselves. Forcing your heart to race when it doesn’t want to? Using up all of the energy your body painstakingly stored for the running of your all your body organs? And! Starving your body of food??? Where does your body get the energy then? It’s no wonder you feel so tired all the time!”

“But…I’m not hungry! I don’t starve myself! I just don’t feel hungry! So I don’t eat… and…and…I lost weight, didn’t I!”

To which he explained to me how my body works when it’s running on no fuel. Which!!! Is really scary, come to think about it. But that’s another story.

Being healthy is really important. Ever since I followed this system, I’ve been feeling really more awake and alert. I can make better decisions (about food especially) and I don’t feel as stressed anymore. I still enjoy exercising, and now, I do them at the right time, and I really do feel happier and I don’t feel so sleepy all the time anymore!

So perhaps you can try this too~.
Perhaps just try sleeping at the right time and waking up at the right time first. I swear to you that you will feel such a big difference in the day!

Good luck!

What do you think about this system though?? I would love to know!! ^^

===============================This post was contributed by Apple

Kirin’s opinion:
No wonder why I felt different next morning when I went to bed before 11pm! And there are so many do’s and don’ts in terms of organs, qi (気), and blood. (In Japan we have the idea of qi and blood but this story was something I’ve never heard of.) According to her article my attempt to sleep 3-6 hours and carrot apple juice as everyday’s breakfast don’t make sense. haha…^ ^; The Japanese respect Traditional Chinese Medicine. I really liked this post and for my better understandings and easy to go back to remember or practice, I translated her tips into Japanese so that Japanese people can also find it someway to make use of improving their health.

*If you are interested in contributing to guest post on Tokyo Kawaii, etc., please contact me thru contact page. I cannot pay you for your contribution but your blog will be linked from the post and you can receive good traffic from my readers!


11pm~1am: 気と血液は胆嚢経線に集まる。

1am~3am: 気と血液は肝臓経線に集まる。

3am~5am: 気と血液は肺経路に集まる。

5am~7am: 気と血液は大腸経路に集まる。

7am~9am: 気と血液は胃経路に集まる。

9am~11am: 気と血液は脾臓経路に集まる。

11am~1am: 気と血液は心臓経路に集まる。

1am~3am: 気と血液は小腸経路に集まる。

3pm~5pm: 気と血液は膀胱経路に集まる。

5pm~7pm: 気と血液は腎臓経路に集まる。

7pm~9pm: 気と血液は心嚢経路に集まる。

9pm~11pm: 気と血液は三焦経に集まる。


28 Responses to “Guest Post: There’s a time for everything…(The Meridian System)”

  1. Ilaria July 6, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    Even though in Italy too people think that life should be regular I've never heard of this. I want to try to follow this system, I'm sure it will work out for me!!
    Thank you very much for sharing Apple and Kirin!

    • Apple July 7, 2010 at 12:46 am #

      I'm really glad you want to try to follow this system!! I hope it will work out for you too!! ^^

  2. Sabrina July 6, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    Thank you so much for this post. It sounds very effective and I will definitively try it! 🙂 But I don't really understand the meaning of 'qi'.

    • kirin July 6, 2010 at 11:00 pm #

      Good question. I don't even know how to explain it, but here is a link to wiki that explains "qi".

      In Japanese culture, too, we have "qi" and it was my surprise that in English it can be spelled as "qi".

      • Apple July 7, 2010 at 1:02 am #

        @Kirin – it's so awesome that Japanese has the word 'qi' too!!! and it has the same meaning as Chinese! Actually, i couldn't find any word in English that will translate to 'qi', so i just used the Chinese word 'qi'. However, apparently, many English texts, when they write about 'qi', they also just use the word 'qi'. Like Qigong etc. so i just used the word as it is too!

        @Sabrina – Hi!! I hope you will try it! ^^ You can really feel a difference. You don't have to stick rigidly to it, but it's good to know how to 'use' your body in natural ways. Kirin has provided a very good link for the explanation of qi! i'm sorry for not explaining it in my post, but i hope you can understand the word now! ^^

      • kirin July 7, 2010 at 1:33 am #

        Yes, our culture is so much influenced by Chinese culture in our history. TCM is called Kanpou 漢方 in Japanese and it is still used besides western medicine. We also have a saying that "Yamai wa ki kara." (病は気から) meaning it's qi that makes someone sick. So if we have a good qi and healthy spirit, we can even stay away from sickness. 😉

  3. Sara Mari July 6, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    Oh this is an interesting schedule, and actually what I am already doing in the day syncs up pretty closely to this schedule! I'm off on the morning time (wake up later, eat breakfast later etc) So perhaps I should try doing things earlier.

    • Apple July 7, 2010 at 1:04 am #

      That's good to know!!!

      What i was doing previously was also quite in sync and i also only had to modify my schedule a little. ^^ Don't stress about it too much though. You don't have to really follow it so rigidly, but it's good to know how your body works at different times to maximise your health efforts! ^^

  4. exotic_japan July 6, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    Great idea, and very interesting comments here. Thanks for the guest post. 🙂

    • Apple July 7, 2010 at 1:05 am #

      Thank you for reading and commenting!!!! ^^

  5. Sharon July 6, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

    i am chinese and ive never known the majority of these. also the phrase "There’s a time for everything…" is oddly familiar….yes this my excuse for being lazy lol.

    • kirin July 6, 2010 at 10:57 pm #

      Don't worry, I think we are always learning something new and useful. Japanese culture is much influenced by Chinese one and so we totally share the same idea such as qi and meridian for example. That's why we can have meridian massage here in Japan, too. But I didn't know this story. It was an eye opener to me, too. ^o^

    • Apple July 7, 2010 at 1:06 am #

      Yea! I didn't know the majority of all these too until my Uncle told it to me! it's so interesting, isn't it? i think there are many interesting and wise things from the ancient Chinese that i want to know more about now! 😀

  6. Diyana July 6, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    Just finished reading the entry! I've met Apple before and she writes really well!
    Reading this entry gave me so much new information. I understand the human body more now and I am feeling guilty that I'm still up at 1am. Earlier in April, I went to China and had a mini check up. I was said to have a lot of toxins in my body. Now I understand why. Thank you for this article, Apple!

    • kirin July 6, 2010 at 11:03 pm #

      Cool you encounter your friend's post over here. ^ ^
      How nice to have your body checked up by the approach of oriental medicine.

    • Apple July 7, 2010 at 1:08 am #

      Diyana!! hahaha!!! Thank you for reading this!!!!!!!!!!!! ^^

      Do sleep early to let your body recharge fully and clear itself of toxins!! ^^ Let's become healthier! haha!

  7. sumra7 July 6, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    wow very interesting, i love it when i learn something totally new!!!! im so going to follow this advice!
    thanks kirin and Apple!!!

    • Apple July 7, 2010 at 1:09 am #

      Thank you for reading this and for your comment!! ^^ Good luck!!! ^^

  8. Simone July 6, 2010 at 9:03 pm #

    Hmm, this seems like a really interesting method – I'd like to try it out! 🙂

    Since I work from 8-5, it seems like it might be tough to fit in exercise, since I can't just stop working at 10am or 3pm and leave. :p
    I saw that for 5-7pm, you shouldn't move too much, but a leisure walk after dinner is okay. I'm curious if doing pilates might also be okay. It is exercise, but it feels a little refreshing, and doesn't seem to use too much energy (unlike lifting weights, or running, which make me sweat and feel tired).

    I really like the way his method sounds – so much time for relaxing and studying – perfect. 🙂

    • kirin July 6, 2010 at 11:12 pm #

      I think it's impossible to follow 100% of this rule in today's world. But there must be a big difference between knowing what time we are supposed to do what and without knowing things like that at all.

      I don't think I can give up eating sushi or cold noodle such as somen or zaru soba in summer and spending most of working hours and sleeping hours in a air-conditioned room during this crazily humid summer in Japan but I will definitely pay more attention on this schedule from now on to make the most out of my day, which as a result could end up something more meaningful than reducing my sleeping hours to less than 5 hours.

      • Apple July 7, 2010 at 1:20 am #

        Yes Kirin! I agree with you! It's almost impossible to follow 100%, but it's good to know how your body works at different times and maximise our health efforts to the best possible! ^^

        i don't think i can give up eating sushi too! hahaha!

    • Apple July 7, 2010 at 1:18 am #

      Hey there! I understand what you mean! I work from 9-6pm too, and it's hard for me to schedule my exercise according to the system too. so i just do what i can. i go running at 5am, although the system said 5am~7am is the time to go to the toilet. but i can't possibly stay there for 2 hours right! hahahaha! i figured exercise may be good for getting my large intestine working too (you ever notice how everytime after you exercise, you might feel the urge to use the toilet almost immediately??? well, i do. hahaha!).

    • Apple July 7, 2010 at 1:19 am #

      actually it's also good to exercise for 5~7pm. moderate exercises like walking, slow jogging, and definitely pilates is definitely ok!! actually, i think it's ok to exercise at this time, just that you will really get knocked out if you do really intense exercises like maybe running or swimming for a very long time! i believe exercising at this time can help your kidneys clear toxins too. just don't tire yourself too much as your kidneys have a job of distributing the energy stored to the rest of your organs to keep your body alive. if you use up all the energy…in the short term, you will get tired. in the long term, it may cause sudden death perhaps! >"<

      • kirin July 7, 2010 at 1:38 am #

        Thank you Apple, your story also sounds very interesting. 🙂

  9. Sparklewolfie July 6, 2010 at 11:00 pm #

    Thank you for that post! It is funny because my parents definitely said some of that stuff ^^; Some of it I did not know though! I will try to keep this in mind 🙂

    Probably I gained 10 pounds because it work I could only eat dinner pretty late, and I would be so hungry I would eat heavy dinners =__=

    • kirin July 7, 2010 at 1:44 am #

      Same here, when I was a kid, my parents told me that we could die if we keep receiving cool are from fans eitire day and night. It sounded very weird and even funny to me but now I know it was bad for lung.

  10. calyco1 August 11, 2010 at 11:27 pm #

    thank you so much for posting this!!! I have been looking for information on meridians and I have donna eden's "energy medicine" book, but it is soooo easy to understand, how you explained everything.
    Again, thank you so much!! Do you have a website?

    • kirin August 12, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

      Thank you for your comment. Apple has her blog as mentioned in the post. 🙂

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