Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Introduction To The Horary Cycle

By Neale Svenson

The Horary Cycle is based around the body and the twelve meridians of the body operating from the influence of the Sun and Moon.

Horary points are acupuncture points found on the channel (or meridian) whose element is the same as the channel itself. It is a horary point only during the channel's 2 hour period of maximum activity. For example, Pericardium 8 - fire point, is the horary point on the pericardium channel, and the pericardium being an organ of the Fire element at the hours between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. This concept of the 2 hour periods when the Qi of an organ is at its strongest comes from the school known as "Zi Wu Liu Zhu Fa" and goes back to the Tang Dynasty.

The 2 hour horary times as mentioned are based upon the movement of the Sun with twelve o'clock midday being the highest yang point, moving through the afternoon to twelve midnight, the highest yin point. This 24 hour cycle is divided up into each of the twelve meridians' 2 hour period of maximum activity. They are as follows;

Lung 3 - 5a.m.
Large Intestine 5 - 7a.m.
Stomach 7 - 9a.m.
Spleen 9 - 11 a.m.
Heart 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Small Intestine 1 - 3 p.m.
Bladder 3 - 5 p.m.
Kidney 5 - 7 p.m.
Pericardium 7 - 9 p.m.
Triple Burner 9 - 11 p.m.
Gall Bladder 11 p.m. - 1 a.m.
Liver 1 - 3 a.m.

As can be seen from the table, the stomach energy is strongest in the morning time between the hours of 7-9 a.m. Thus there is good reason to follow the Chinese philosophy, " like a King in the morning, a Prince at lunchtime and a Pauper at night", to allow the stomach to digest the food most efficiently.

However, in the West, most people follow a general lifestyle of eating their main meal late at night, this goes completely against the energy cycle and the stomach is probably at its weakest when we are asking it to do the most. Continual misuse will put pressure on the other organs and bring about disharmony of the cycle and eventually present symptoms in digestion, elimination or disturbed sleep patterns.

In Chinese Medicine, one of the main uses of the Horary Cycle is to help bring people back into their rhythm after the effects of jet lag, and some clinics even specialize in this modality. The sleep and waken state in our body are triggered by light and darkness. Jet lag occurs when our body's natural cycle or rhythm becomes disoriented; many people will experience the jet lag syndrome until the body adjusts to a new time zone. By working specific points (horary points) of the body in connection with the horary cycle, this imbalance can be redressed. These points can be needled, pressed, massaged - any of these techniques help to bring about balance.

The horary cycle is a useful guide and one of many that a Chinese practitioner can use to help assess and educate people in a lifestyle process that doesn't always involve medicines and potions.

Neale Svenson (Lic Ac D Ac MBAcC) is an expert Chinese Health practitioner who has over 25 years experience in the complimentary health profession. He helps clients make educated choices about their health. To find out more visit

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