The theory of Zi Wu Liu Zhu


The theory of Zi Wu Liu Zu was first written down by He Ryoyu. Later his work was annotated by Yan Ming Guan in the 12th century.


In Zi Wu Liu Zhu the natural phenomena such as the movement of celestial bodies like the sun and the moon, the arrival and departure of the seasons, beginning and end of the day and the eb and flow of the tides are described.


Zi Wu Liu Zhu, literally meaning Midnight-Noon Ebb-Flow, explains what medical workers had recognized through the ages, namely that continuous and repetitive cycles in nature occur according to regular patterns.


Zi and Wu

Zi (midnight) and Wu (noon) reflect the cycle of growth and decline of Yin and Yang. Starting at Zi (Midnight) during the first bihourly period (23 pm-1 am) the Yin reaches it’s maximum and the Yang is at it’s minimum. After that Yin is declining and Yang is increasing.

At Wu (Noon) during the 7th bihourly period (11 am-13 am) the Yang reaches it’s maximum and the Yin is at it’s minimum. From there Yang is declining and Yin is increasing till the end of the daily cycle. Now a new 24-hour cycle starts all over again. The Zi Wu Liu Zu-cycle is reflected in the cyclical movements of physiological functions in the body.


Liu and Zhu

Liu (ebb) anf Zhu (flow) are based on the gathering and dissipating of water of the tides. This reflects the cyclic circulation of Qi and Blood in the meridians and explains that the physiological functions of the body follow a daily rhythm and different other natural timecycles.


Zi Wu Liu Zhu: Cyclical flow of Qi and Blood through the meridians

  Branch Channel ZangFu Period
子時 Zi shi Foot Shao Yang channel Gallbladder 23:00-01:00
丑時 Chou shi Foot Jue Yin channel Liver 01:00-03:00
寅時 Yin shi Hand Tai Yin channel Lung 03:00-05:00
卯時 Mao shi Hand Yang Ming channel Large Intestine 05:00-07:00
辰時 Chen shi Foot Yang Ming channel Stomach 07:00-09:00
巳時 Si shi Foot Tai Yin channel Spleen 09:00-11:00
午時 Wu shi Hand Shao Yin channel Heart 11:00-13:00
未時 Wei shi Hand Tai Yang channel Small Intestine 13:00-15:00
申時 Shen shi Foot Tai Yang channel Urinary Bladder 15:00-17:00
酉時 You shi Foot Shao Yin channel Kidney 17:00-19:00
戌時 Xu shi Hand Jue Yin channel Pericardium 19:00-21:00
亥時 Hai shi Hand Shao Yang channel Triple Burner 21:00-23:00


In chronoacupuncture the Zi Wu Liu Zu is used to determine the meridian that is open at a certain moment in time according to the ancient method of Na Zi Fa.