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A day in the life...

Updated: Dec 2, 2023

In acupuncture and Chinese medicine, we recognise the 24 hours of a day as shifting from Yin and Yang and between elements and organs.

It is a simple way of how we should live, according to when our energy is at its peak, and to honour when the day should be quieter.

I hope you find some of these insights useful. I certainly found by shifting my concentration to earlier in the day and by starting with a bigger and nourishing meal for breakfast, I noticed a profound shift in my days.

If you have any questions at all, please get in touch.

Love from Andrea


Between 7 am and 11 am

The hours between 7 am and 11 am are related to the Earth element of the Stomach and Spleen.

Stomach (7 am to 9 am)

The stomach is all about nurturing. Both yourself and others. This is why, when you come for an acupuncture appointment I am always encouraging you to eat a wholesome, warm and nurturing breakfast between 7 am and 9 am. Examples would be:

  • Congee. I absolutely love Wei's blog and here are some traditional breakfast suggestions. Congee can be eaten plain, savoury or sweet.

  • Eggs.

  • Porridge with fruits, nuts and seeds

It is not only important what you eat, but how you eat. This means:

  • chewing your food well

  • sitting and relaxing

  • not working (before 9 am)

Depending on who makes up your household you may need to nurture others. Of course, I have my children and dogs to look after during this time, but ALWAYS make time for yourself during this period.

Grounding yourself by standing with your barefeet on the grass (or floor), stretch or meditate means you are listening to your own needs for 10 minutes.

Spleen (9 am to 11 am)

The Spleen is responsible for our Yi. Our intellect, memory, concentration, mental application and studying.

This is why between these times it is best to do the work that requires those mental abilities.

Big tasks should be done at this time or a focus on learning.

Work on your biggest project, or listen to a podcast, or a do a brain dump/to-do list.


Between 11 am and 3 pm

The Fire Four Hours correspond to the Heart and Small Intestine.

12 pm is considered the most Yang part of the day. The most active, warm and external.

Heart (11 am to 1 pm)

The Heart is the Empress of all the organs and together with the Shen (Mind) is responsible for our consciousness, sense of identity, perception, intellect and memory. The emotion related to the Heart is joy, which is why a lunchtime meal should be shared joyfully with a friend or family member. Stop to eat and speak from your heart and mind.

Examples of foods which build blood (the Heart governs Blood) are:

  • dark green leafy vegetables

  • apricots

  • grapes

  • sardines

  • seaweed

To calm the Shen or Mind we could use:

  • celery

  • lavendar

  • lettuce

Or instead to lift or raise the Shen or Mind we could use:

  • basil

  • rosemary

  • sage

Further examples are in the pictures below.

This is not a time for working but do something which brings you joy. This being the utmost Yang this is when we can be our most exuberant. So dance, run or try laughing Qigong.

Small Intestine (1 pm to 3 pm)

The Small Intestine in physiology and mentally relates to 'sorting'. It alllowes us to discriminate between issues and determine the right course of action.

This time of day may be spent best physically and mentally sorting.


Between 3 pm and 7 pm

These hours belong to the Water element; the Kidneys and Bladder.

Bladder (3 pm to 5 pm)

With Heart and Minds rejuventated this is now time to continue work and study.

Kidneys (5 pm to 7 pm)

The Kidneys are the root of all Yin and Yang and can go in to disharmony due to excessive overwork (both mental and physical). With this in mind, the working day should try and end by 5pm. Some other things to consider during these two hours:

  • rub your knees which are directly linked to the Kidneys

  • do 'turning the waist' which again directly relates to the Kidneys

  • spend time near water

  • do some weights, as bones are directly related to the Kidneys

  • this should also be a time for a very simple and smallest meal of the day

  • do a water meditation (see picture below)


Between 7 pm and 11 pm

This time of day reflects another four hours of the Fire element, however this time with the Pericardium and the San Jiao.

In terms of their emotional aspects both are around relationships.

Pericardium (7 pm to 9 pm)

The Pericardium is responsible for movement towards others. It is particularly responsible for the healthy interaction with other people.

During these two hours you might find the following activities useful:

  • Sex or masturbation to allow connection with another person, or yourself

  • Stretch - especially the arms, where the Pericardium and San Jiao channels run. This stretch might even be a hug to someone, or even yourself.

  • Go for a walk and talk with someone. This ensures good flow of Qi, but also allows for maintaining relationships.

San Jiao (9 pm to 11 pm)

Whilst the San Jiao is also about relationships, it is also about the expression of emotion and I think this time of the day should be about the love you give to yourself. Activities which allow you to show your body or mind some care, could include:

  • Jade roller your face

  • Turn off your electronics by 9 pm to allow your mind and body time to unwind

  • Write one thing which you feel happy about from the previous 12 hours

  • Read a book

  • Meditate



11 pm, at the latest, is when we should be asleep. It is the time when we mentally and physically process the day.

If you are having any problems with sleep, you might want to check out my blog post on how Chinese medicine and acupuncture sees insomnia.

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