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Winter has come abruptly to the Pacific Northwest leaving me wondering what happened to fall. And inside the chilly, damp winter days are the colds and flus that attack our bodies. Sometimes these uninvited guests stay for weeks at a time.
Growing up in the blustry Minnesota winters, I remember my mom always telling me to cover up my neck, put on a scarf, and be sure to zip up my collar. I didn’t need to be told more than once to cover up my neck. The dry, bitter winter winds seemed to be able to find an exposed neck faster than any other part of the body.
I always wondered if there was any truth to covering up your neck. Was it just an old wives tale or was there some truth to covering up your neck?
In Chinese medicine, colds and flus can enter through the skin. Cold winds pushing against the skin can force cold into the body. The body is forced to work against the cold and wind to maintain its own equilibrium. The amount of energy available to fight off the wind and cold may not be enough. If the wind and cold finally win, we feel the familiar signs of a cold or flu coming on.
But why the neck?
Chinese medicine identifies channels that travel the body. These channels move from the most superficial layer of our body, such as the skin, to the deepest layer of our body. Our colds and flus start at the superficial layers, and if our body can not fight off the invasion, they move deeper causing more serious illness.
The most superficial channels are the Bladder and Small Intestine channels. These two channels travel up the back of the neck. One of the most common route of cold and wind entering the body is through the most superficial layer, the Bladder and Small Intestine channels at the back of the neck. When cold attacks through these channels, we may experience stiff neck, headaches, especially at the back of the neck, aversion to wind, lack of sweating, chills, malaise, fatigue, and stuffy head or nose.
So, to stop a cold before it stops you – cover up your neck when you go outside.
If you are getting more than one cold or flu a year, you may want to think about strengthening your immune system to help prevent colds and flus. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine excell at strengthening the immune system giving you more time to keep doing the things you enjoy.
Chinese Medicine has effective, time-tested techniques which boost immunity and protect us from colds and the flu. Acupuncture points and herbal formulas can be used to balance the body’s energy, strengthen the body, and even speed recovery if you do come down with a cold.