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Traditional Chinese 12 Two-hour Periods | What to Do in Each Period Ideally

Have you heard of The Traditional Chinese 12 Two-hour Periods ? (十二时辰)

In Ancient China, one day and night was decided into 12 periods, each of those equalled the current two-hour.

Traditional Chinese Medicine emphasizes the harmony between the nature and mankind, such as women's menstruation, which is a monthly rhythm responding between the nature and mankind. Some of my previous blogs talked about seasonal tips on health-preservation, which fall into the same concept of "the harmony between nature and mankind".

Besides the above, our circadian rhythm, staying active by day and going to bed in the evening, shows the daily correspondence between the nature and mankind.

Imagine you and I don't have to go to work and stress about the mundane trivia, what shall we do following the nature's rhythm ideally in these traditional 12 two-hour periods, in order to live a long life? Below are some ideas from a Qing Dynasty health-preservation book published circa 1667AD.


This is the time that yang energy beginning to emerge and rise. If you can't fall asleep, you may sit up on the bed, covered with your blanket, and exhaled deeply to expel the foul air. Then rub your hands warm to massage the sides of your nose and iron your eyes, for 35 times each.

Use your two hands to hold the occiput with centres of palms covering the ears. Pop middle fingers on index fingers to hit the occiput for 24 times.

Tapping upper and lower teeth for 49 times and use your mind to swallow saliva down to the DanTian.


The sun is rising and time to get up. Dress according to the temperature . Sit next to a bright window, have some warm water instead of tea. Comb your hair 100 times to disperse wind and fire, brighten the eyes.

After washing, eat a light breakfast and congee is a good choice. After breakfast you can walk about 50-60 steps, with hands massaging tummy at the same time.


Suitable for work, house chores or gardening. Don't sweat on small thinks. Busyness could be enjoyable too.

Afterwards, get back into house and close your eyes to rest the mind. You can do the teeth tapping movement again and swallow saliva 10 times.

From the previous 12am to 12pm, yang energy has reached peak. Rest your mind to grow yang.


Have a good lunch . The food can't be raw, cold and too hard. Don't eat too much. After lunch, walk another 100 steps and massage your tummy, back-shu points. Let the body to warm up. Have some tea.


Read a book or recite poems or meeting with couple of friends. Take a relaxing stroll with your friends...


Snack time! A bun or a little fruit, and do something fun. Or just focus to get your work completed.


Time for dinner. An earlier dinner is better than a late one. You may have a sip of wine to feel a sense of drunk ;) Then lie down for a bit, feeling how beautiful life is...


Evening is the best time to have a foot bath with hot water, down bearing fire to its origin. Use cold tea to rinse mouth. At evening, you may read a book, but not for a long time. Reading may harm your eyes. Don't think too much. Over-thinking may lead to excess heart fire and draining the kidney water. Before going to bed, your feet can rub each other 100 times.


Sleep is the best way to grow vitality.

As I'm finishing this blog, it is about 2pm. I missed my lunch and there are no friends to meet up with...ok, I'm gonna dig a poem to read like an accent sage :))) Bye for now.

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