Circadian Rhythms of Life - Part 2

Unlocking the Secrets of Circadian Rhythms: A Traditional Chinese Perspective

By Maria Chah, DOM, AP & Jennifer Troyan

This article is part 2 of a 2-part series.

Welcome to part 2 of Circadian Rhythms of Life. We are beginning this article by recapping our purpose of decoding circadian rhythm from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective.

Previously we covered the four laws and principles of yin and yang and the six chi flows that circadian rhythm follows or as directed by chi flow and the Ko and Shen cycles. The circadian rhythm is based on the harmony and disharmony of these six chi flow directions. When we talk about circadian rhythms from a TCM perspective, we think about the days before technology as we know it when man had to till the land based on its environmental seasons. The Sages would witness how man and animals responded to the rising of the Sun, falling of the Sun, rising of the Moon, falling of the Moon and these regular cycles of day and night. From this, their principles and laws of yin and yang were developed and other philosophies which were based on behavioral witness of how human beings reacted or responded with their environment. The ancient Sages, (aka Nomas), explored all elements of nature and its effects on all living species. The most evident observation was how the light of the day and the light of the night easily affected the habits, physiology, and cultural styles of human life.

Similarly in the animal world, Sages noticed there was a rhythm. This rhythm in today's science is now realized as specific spectrums of light effecting our pituitary and neo glands in a way that secretes hormones and physiological chemicals of our brain. In particular, when it comes to the melatonin and serotonin for sleep, relaxation and our immune system.

When we're thinking about circadian rhythm, we’re speaking into a 24-hour cycle of energy called qi (or chi). This is your life force and it has a specific time frame that flows from yin yin to yang yang, so it goes yin yin yang yang which means it (energy/life force) ascends and goes up down, up down, up down in all 12 rotating meridian channels within our bodies. The chi has trajectories or paths directly to each primary organ which also depends on hormonal functions. What affects this? Our environment and daily patterns or whatever happens that day - how we eat, sleep, or exercise, what we did throughout the week, how much or lack of sunlight we get, or too much environmental light like LED light affect stimulating factors and we call those yin or yang types of light.

These different types of light have key generating aspects to our hormones and these hormones get activated when the eyes take in the light. It starts with the pituitary gland and right away it starts producing hormones like ACTH thyroid stimulating hormones. The automatic nervous system kicks in, affecting your body temperature. Also affected is the activity of the organs, such as your adrenals, thyroid, heart, pancreas, liver, stomach and so forth. Adrenal fatigue is about how much you work, how much you put out (energy-wise), how little sleep you get, or how little or too much light you get determines how well your pituitary and pineal master gland naturally functions.

These factors discern how well your hormones are being secreted or blocked. For example, suppose you stay up all night until you fall asleep at 12 o'clock looking at your phone, or watching TV, or playing on your computer. In that case, your body does not shut down and it's not ready to produce these important hormones to activate other hormones in this sequential order to put the brain into deep sleep.

Another example is when you have too much light and don't sleep in a dark room, the melatonin doesn't get secreted until it's pitch dark. And once that's secreted, you will then activate the serotonin, and the serotonin activates the acetylcholine which sparks the body's energy, or chi, to stimulate the thyroid and then so forth and so on.

If you're wondering why you wake up at certain times of the evening and can't go to sleep, or you wake up and go right back to sleep then wake up again at the same time of the day, or your energy increases or slows down at certain intervals of the day. These disruptions are what TCM focuses on to correct; imbalanced energetic patterns. You can also self-correct when your body is not in full tilt. Start noticing your circadian patterns by taking a moment to witness your own body signals, then note them down. Pay attention and become your environment, what you're eating, how slow or fast you do things, what time of day you're most energetic, and what you did or did not do in those times of the day. Below is a chart to help you navigate your natural circadian rhythm.

Now, let's remember to include our emotional and mental states in addition to our physical state. If you want to learn more about how modern society's lifestyle affects our circadian rhythms, then take a look at our link at the end of the article for your personal exploration.

Try this exercise:

We are bombarded constantly with light and sound pollution as well as controlled environments. Take a week or two and leave your phone at least 6 feet away from you when you sleep. You will notice changes in your body and at the minimum experience better sleep patterns.

Recommended to watch (Dr. Maria’s pick):

For more science-based info, watch this documentary (run time 1 hour 30 mins long): Resonance: Beings of Frequency.

The YouTube description mentions how every single one of us is reacting to the biggest change in environment this planet has ever seen. Two billion years ago life first arrived on this planet; a planet, which was filled with a natural frequency. As life slowly evolved, it did so surrounded by this frequency. Research is showing that being exposed to this frequency is absolutely integral to us.

It controls our mental and physical health, it synchronizes our circadian rhythms, and it aids our immune system and improves our sense of wellbeing. Not only are we surrounded by natural frequencies, our bodies are filled with them too. Our cells communicate using electro magnetic frequencies.

Our brain emits a constant stream of frequencies and our DNA delivers instructions, using frequency waves. Without them we couldn't exist for more than a second. This delicate balance has taken billions of years to perfect.

But over the last 25 years the harmony has been disturbed. and disturbed dramatically. Mankind has submerged itself in an ocean of artificial frequencies. They are all around us, filling the air and drowning out the earth's natural resonance.

To the naked eye the planet appears to be the same. But at a cellular level it is the biggest change that life on earth has endured; the affects of which we are just starting to see and feel.

This is not to scare you but to create awareness for better self-care. We are in charge of our lives and bodies and while something is out of control, there are steps we can take to heal our bodies.

Recommended to read (Jennifer’s pick):

the NATURE FIX - Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams

The book jacket describes - Florence Williams investigates the science behind nature’s positive effects on the brain. She uncovers the powers of the natural world to improve health, promote reflection and innovation and strengthen our relationships.

The writing style is easy to read and there is humor so it is an entertaining read plus you will learn a lot.

Do not fear, if you are challenged to self-regulate your natural state of rhythm, there is hope. Did you know? 6 - 10 visits for acupuncture can balance and realign your body to communicate better and bring your body back into your constitutional alignment. So, if you tried everything and nothing else has worked go ahead and give acupuncture a go.

Acupuncture is also good with every change of season, it’s a time for rebalancing or recalibrating to the natural changes of the earth. If you have more chronic issues, we recommend going 1-2 times per month.

We recommend trying the exercise above and having acupuncture to reset your body clock and then you can switch to regular maintenance to keep your body functioning at its best.

If you missed part 1 of this series, check it out here. Remember: "Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together." - Thomas Dekker


Information in this article and on this website is intended for informational or educational purposes only. This information does not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions about a medical condition, always seek the advice of a doctor or other qualified health professional.

To learn more about our services, please contact our office at 561-249-0447 for a consultation on how to start your annual wellness optimization. During the consultation, we can provide guidance on the best treatment modalities to improve or enhance your state of wellness the TCM way.

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