I know, in Western medicine the Bladder is “just” responsible for urine (of course it does this in Chinese medicine, too, and acupuncture is fantastic for urogenital concerns). In Chinese medicine, the Bladder channel also plays an important role in harnessing and distributing essential energy from the Kidneys (which we’ll learn about a little later, but basically they’re a hormonal powerhouse, and that’s reflected in the channel, too). If you don’t get enough rest, your Bladder will be working overtime to distribute more energy than is appropriate, and over time you’ll find you simply cannot keep up with the pace anymore.
This is normal.
The essential energy of the Kidneys that the Bladder helps to safe-guard and distribute is meant to be used an itty bit at a time. What happens when we force ourselves to keep working beyond the amount of energy we have stored from sleep and nutrition? We dip into our reserve, exhausting these essential organ systems.
Next time you find yourself nodding off between 3:00 and 5:00, consider why you might be so tired? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you getting enough food? Are you doing too much?
Of course in today’s societal landscape, many of us (read: I dunno about you but I am!!) are doing too much! Way too much! Going back to the theory of Yin and Yang, one is essential for the existence of the other. When you’re working long hours, or going to the gym for the 7th time this week, or picking up an extra shift at your second job, you’re using Yang energy. Over time, expending Yang will consume Yin, and you will need to spend more time in Yin-type activities, like rest, sleep, and meditation to name a few, in order to get back your mojo. At the very least, you may want to consider all of your responsibilities (energy expenditures) and reevaluate whether you need to do them all, really, right now. Can anyone help you get some peace and quiet for a few minutes a day?
If you can swing it, find a time and place to take a 10 minute horizontal break during this critical 3-5 PM time. This will serve you in the long run, not just at 3:00-5:00 all next week. Read up on my next blog entry on the Kidney organ system to learn just how essential the energy the Bladder commands is, and why it’s so crucial that we protect this vital energy over the course of a lifetime.
For a little Bladder energy boost, massage up your forehead, starting from the inner corner of each eyebrow, up into your hairline and over your scalp to the back of your neck, planting your feet firmly on the ground.
A great place for a nap between 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM is in an acupuncture office! If you’re getting the afternoon slumps, consider coming in for a Winter acupuncture tune-up.