Winter is here! Well, not officially for another week, but the weather outside is already becoming frightfully cold. If you don’t already have one, it’s a good time to buy a scarf to keep your neck warm.
Many people I know don’t bother with scarves. They might even strike some as old-fashioned. But keeping the neck warm is important. Why? It’s a surprisingly helpful way to prevent catching a cold or subjecting your body to unnecessary temperature-related stress.
Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture philosophy teaches that cold, a major cause of illness, can enter the body especially easily through the neck. If you’ve ever had a bad cold, you probably remember that you typically experience neck pain or ache as a primary symptom. The neck is a vulnerable area where the local acupuncture points are especially susceptible to cold, particularly on the back of the neck. When the cold touches those acupuncture points, it can quickly spread through the body, leading to sickness.
There’s a joke that if you see a room full of people wearing scarves, they’re probably acupuncturists. There’s some truth to that! Traditional Chinese medicine doctors and acupuncturists take keeping the neck warm very seriously, usually with successful results.
From a chiropractic perspective, keeping the neck warm is important as well. When the muscles in the base of the neck are exposed to cold, they tend to tense up and contract. This is a natural response, but it creates tension in the neck, and can put additional strain on lower parts of the spine as well. The tension can take the whole neck out of alignment, leading to neck pain.
It’s especially important to keep your neck warm if you’ve just exercised, or done anything else that leaves your pores open, as that makes you more vulnerable to cold. The same holds true if you’re transitioning from a warm inside space to the cold outdoors. Any sharp change in temperature is more likely to cause your neck muscles to constrict, so it’s best to keep the temperature shift as gentle as possible by bundling up!
So if you’re wondering what to get someone for for a holiday gift, how about a lovely scarf?