Heal Around the Chinese Medicine Body Clock

by Jodi Cohen

I was struck during a recent podcast interview when my colleague suggested that the time of day could play an important role in healing.  Specifically, she shared that in Traditional Chinese Medicine correlates time of day with the way energy moves through our bodies and activates different organs.

This “body clock” is divided into 12 two-hour intervals where the life force energy moves through and repair each different organs.  Healing can be optimized by supporting the specific organ during its peak period.  Each organ is also associated with emotions.  Symptoms associated with the emotion can present when the energy flow is blocked. Below is listed the best time to use essential oils in your day.


Best Time to Use Essential Oils

5 a.m. – 7 a.m. –  Large Intestine

Upon rising, the large intestine helps serve the elimination function.  The role of the large intestine is to let go of those things that don’t serve us. Physically, it lets go of waste after our upper digestive system has taken all the necessary nutrients out of the food we eat.

Emotionally, large intestine energy allows us to let go of patterns of negative thinking, destructive emotions, like guilt or defensiveness, and spiritual blockages that prevent us from being our best.

Compromised large intestine energy presents as having a hard time moving on from difficult situations, or holding onto emotions that harm or fail to serve us.  This holding on can manifest as an unwillingness to share emotions or be open with others – the phenomenon of “bottling up” emotions for years very often leads to chronic constipation.

Applying 2- 3 drops of Large Intestine Support™ over the large intestine, around the ears or on the bottom of the feet can ease the feelings of loss, heals emotions, creates a feeling of security, and is grounding. It motivates us to move forward, assists with transitions or changing course in life, eases the feelings of loss, heals emotions, creates a feeling of security, and is grounding.


7 a.m. – 9 a.m. – Stomach

As the flow of energy moves to the stomach, our hunger for breakfast is stimulated.  Digestion is a “rest and digest” parasympathetic event.  Our nervous system needs to be in this relaxed state for the optimal digestive cascade to occur.  Applying a small drop of Parasympathetic™ blend to the vagal nerve (behind the earlobe on the mastoid bone) helps begin the digestive process by trigger the mouth to release saliva and the stomach release HCL.


9 a.m. – 11 a.m. –  Spleen/Pancreas

The spleen, located in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen, acts as a filter for blood as part of the immune system. Old red blood cells are recycled in the spleen, and platelets and white blood cells are stored there. A healthy spleen produces antibodies when there is an infection and constantly watches the blood for invaders.

Chinese Medicine considers the Spleen the most important digestive organ, so even a late breakfast will be digested easily. On the other hand, this is also the time when allergies can show up the strongest because the Spleen is busy working with the Liver and your immune system.   According to Chinese medicine, the Spleen also houses the body’s thoughts and intentions and is responsible for analytical thinking, memory, cognition, intelligence, and ideas.

These emotions in their extreme states – over-thinking, worry, excessive mental and intellectual stimulation or any activity that involves a lot of mental effort — can create disharmony in the spleen. If you “ruminate” and obsess constantly about life experiences, you literally are not “transforming” them into positive fuel to motivate taking action and moving forward in life.

To support the spleen and calm worries, anxiety, obsessive thoughts and emotions and boost self esteem, apply 2 -3 drops of Spleen Support™ over the spleen (left side of the body, under breast) or around the earlobes.

Similarly, the Pancreas™ secretes digestive enzymes that help break down the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats so the nutrients can be properly absorbed in the small intestine. The pancreas also controls blood sugar levels and can get overworked and fatigued, impacting its optimal function.  To support optimal function of the pancreas, apply 2 -3 drops of Pancreas™ on the fifth rib (2 down from where the bottom of your bra) on the left side of the body.


11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Heart

Research shows that seventy percent of heart attacks occur during this time of day.  The heart integrates and balances the physical, emotional, and mental body, providing blood to every cell and every organ.  It also serves as a complex information processing center, influencing brain function, the nervous system, hormonal system and most of the body’s major organs.

When any part of the body isn’t functioning at an optimal level, the heart has to harder.  The heart is our body’s reset button, but a state of constant stress can fatigue the heart and compromise our ability to reset, leading to inflammation, infections, toxicity and heart disease.

Positive feelings of joy and enthusiasm also strengthen the heart, while negative emotions can weaken the heart. To return the heart to balance and support feelings of openheartedness, expansiveness, receptivity while mitigating loneliness, sadness and grief, apply 2-3 drops of Heart™ over the heart (left side of chest).


1 p.m. – 3 p.m. – Small Intestine

The small intestine plays a critical role in the digestion process, absorbing and assimilating key nutrients while preventing harmful pathogens and toxins from entering the body.

On an emotional level, the small intestine plays a similarly discerning role with emotions, helping to understand experiences and determine healthy and appropriate relationships and boundaries.

It is also an area where we can hold deep childhood scars of rejection, abandonment or abuse; negative thoughts fueled by feelings of lack of self-worth, low self‐esteem, loneliness, neglect and anxieties about survival and success that can contribute to indigestion, pain and bloating, especially in the early afternoon.

To support the healthy functioning of the small intestine as it sorts and transforms food, feelings and ideas into useful ingredients for the body/mind, apply 2-3 drops of Small Intestine Support™ around the belly button in a clockwise direction.  It also helps correct imbalances where you are overly in tune with other’s feelings at the expense of your own.


3 p.m. – 5 p.m. – Bladder

After 3 P.M., the flow of energy moves inward to support internal organs associated with repairing the system. The purpose of this is to circulate fluids and heat, filter and cleanse organs, including the bladder, a pear shaped muscular sac in the pelvis that stores and eliminates liquid waste.

In Chinese medicine, bladder is considered a storehouse for emotions, managing emotional reserves and overflow.  When we feel internally empty of reserves, everything seems to be too much to handle, uncertain, and frightening.   Similarly, when emotions are overflowing, we can feel awash in an internal torrent, drowning, out of control and driven to desperation.

Often these overwhelming emotions feel like too much to handle in the moment, so we store them in the bladder until we are able to process and move through them.

To help overcome and heal emotional traumas and clear the residual emotional debris often stored in the bladder, apply 2-3 drops of Bladder Support™ over the bladder (just above and behind the pubic bone), directly over areas of trauma or abuse, or around the outside of earlobes.  Bladder Support™ allows us to let go of the negative past, overcome feelings of despair, the feeling of being pushed over the edge and release the emotional trauma from the body. It assists in. It also has the ability to balance the right and left brain.


5 p.m. – 7 p.m. – Kidney

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that filter blood and remove water-soluble waste products.  The kidneys also regulate the balance of fluids in the body, blood pressure and pH balance.

In Chinese medicine, the kidneys are considered the seat of courage and willpower.  They control the volume, composition and pressure of fluids in all the cells.  Blood flows through the kidneys at its highest pressure, filtering out toxins and directing nourishing materials to where they are needed.  Water is symbolic of the unconscious, our emotion and of that which we do not understand and that which we fear.  Feelings of fear and paranoia can be held in the kidneys impairing function.

When the kidneys are healthy, you may feel energetic at this time.  According to the body clock, when one organ is at its peak energy, the organ at the opposite side of the clock, 12 hours away, is at its lowest ebb. The kidneys are aligned with the adrenals, which release cortisol to give us energy.   When kidney energy is weakest in the early morning, from 5 a.m. -7 a.m., you might have trouble waking if kidney energy is depleted.

Apply 2 -3 drops of Kidney Support™ over the kidneys (one inch up and out from belly button), back of neck, or around the outside of earlobes to help dispel fear, loneliness, paranoia and insecurity and assist in feeling safe and bring about a balance of emotions.


7 p.m.  –  9  p.m. – Circulation

Your brain needs a healthy supply of blood in order to function properly. When blood circulation to the brain becomes sluggish, it can impact your mental abilities, including your ability to focus and concentrate, express emotions, and socialize.  This has to do with both the poor delivery of oxygen to the brain and the poor drainage of toxins from the brain. (Learn how to Detoxify the Brain with Essential Oils HERE)

To support healthy circulation, energy, brain endurance and warmth of the distal extremities, like the fingers and toes, apply 1- 2 drops of Circulation Blend™ on the sides or back of the neck, over the left clavicle, on the wrists or ankles.


9 p.m. –  11 p.m.  – Triple Warmer, associated with the Thyroid

The triple burner does not correspond to a specific organ, but is associated with the thyroid gland, located below the Adam’s apple on the neck, , as it controls metabolism, regulates temperature and energy transfer.

The triple burner is composed of three parts, known as ‘burners’, located in thorax, abdomen, and pelvis, which regulate the activity of other organs.  It is responsible for the movement and transformation of various solids and fluids throughout the system, as well as for the production and circulation of nourishing and protective energy. The Upper Burner controls intake, the Middle Burner controls transformation, the Lower Burner controls elimination.

To balance energy, metabolism and temperature, apply 2 -3 drops of Thyroid Support™ over the throat or heart.

11 p.m. – 1 a.m  – Gall Bladder

The Gall Bladder™ stores and concentrates bile, which helps to emulsify fats for optimal absorption.  Bile is supposed to flow relatively easily through the bile duct to the small intestine.  Unfortunately, it can often become viscous and stagnant, impeding fat digestion and resulting in symptoms like mild headaches, pain between the shoulder blades and floating stools.  Fat assimilation is critical for numerous functions in the body, including the absorption of critical fat soluble minerals, like vitamins A, E, D and K.  The Gall Bladder is also associated with emotions like frustration, bitterness and resentment

Applying 2 -3 drops of Gall Bladder™ to the gall bladder, on the right side of the body under the bra under-wire or along and slightly under the right rib cage, can help ease bile flow for optimal fat assimilation and absorption.


1 a.m. – 3 a.m. – Liver

The Liver springs into action between 1 a.m. to 3 a. m. If you wake up at this time, it could be the liver is overloaded and toxins act as an irritant to your body, waking you up and fraying your nerves.

The liver processes everything we eat or drink and filters and detoxifies any harmful substances from the blood.  It also plays a critical role in fat digestion and managing our energy by storing and releasing blood sugar. Without healthy liver function, sugar cravings, and other health concerns are almost guaranteed. The liver is also associated with the emotions of anger, rage and frustration.

Applying 2- 3 drops of Liver Support™ over the liver (right side of the body under the breast) can help to recognize, move through and release anger and negative emotions, including those attached to PTSD, which can create stuck energy and impede an liver’s ability to heal.  It can also help children and adults deal with the trauma of abuse and let go of negative emotions, frustration, and fear so you can function effectively in the world.


3 a.m. – 5 a.m. –  Lungs

The lungs are sponge-like organs located near the backbone on either side of the heart. They function as a fundamental source of life energy –transporting oxygen from the atmosphere into the capillaries so they can oxygenate blood – as well as an important channel of elimination – releasing carbon dioxide from the bloodstream into the atmosphere.

Feelings of grief, bereavement, regret, loss, remorse can obstruct ability of the lungs to accept and relinquish, impeding their function of “taking in” and “letting go”.  Grief that remains unresolved can become chronic and create disharmony in the lungs, weakening the lung’s function of circulating oxygen around the body.  When lung function is impaired, it leads to shortness of breath, fatigue and feelings of melancholy.  Sadly, many chronic respiratory diseases and conditions develop after a major loss or bereavement. The lungs often loosen and expel toxins between 3 a.m. – 5 a.m., which can trigger a cough upon waking. Feeling ill at this time can also be an indication of deep grief that must be dealt with.

To help overcome grief and let go of negative experiences, 2- 3 drops of Lung Support™ over the lungs and the heart.



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About The Author

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.

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Subscribe to Vibrant Blue Oils and receive weekly information on oils and how to use them. As a bonus, we’ll send out Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils to your inbox immediately!