One of the easiest ways you can promote health using the fundamental principles of integrative healthcare and Traditional Chinese Medicine is to recognize where you hold your resources and keep them protected. This means:
- Wearing a hat in the winter to avoid releasing too much heat (this makes your body work overtime to restore it).
- Keeping your lower back covered (yes, those adorable cropped shirts need to cover your kidneys – they help keep your hormones online!)
- Keeping your neck covered in cool weather
Though we’ll discuss the first two of the aforementioned in subsequent posts, I’m going to focus on the importance of the neck here, because I think it’s more broadly applicable among varying climates and fashion preferences.
Yin and Yang in Integrative Healthcare
I’m sure many of you are familiar with the terms Yin and Yang, right? These terms are used to embody the varying characteristics we see all around us, and it’s the balance between these characteristics that brings health. This concept exists in integrative healthcare as well. Here’s a quick example: if you have too much cold (Yin) body systems start to slow and cellular death can occur (think skin tissue as the result of hypothermia). If you have too much heat (Yang) body systems start to speed up and cellular death of a different kind can occur (think brain damage from an unchecked fever).
Back to covering your neck. Your Yin channels in TCM and integrative healthcare are held on the front side of your body where most of your organs lie protected by your rib cage and your physical ability to keep them warm by curling your knees into your chest to preserve their warmth and function. Your Yang channels run primarily on the side and back of the body and help protect from inclement weather disrupting the delicate balance of what lies inside.
There is one place where all of your Yang channels meet – it’s at the acupuncture point DU14 located at the base of your cervical spine (or bottom of your neck). It must remain covered to protect against the influences of the great outdoors. Here’s an odd, yet effective analogy: the worm has to work the hardest to get through the protective layer of the apple. However, once it makes it past the thickened skin of the fruit, it’s much easier to get to the seed which is held at its center and which contains the ability to make new life. Now weaken a portion of the skin by exposing it to frost, and your apple becomes mushy, thus rendering the whole fruit vulnerable, and potentially more prone to death.
So, the moral of the story is this: the skin at the base of your neck is the most vulnerable to inclement weather. Cold, rain, and wind all have the ability to affect the strength of your protective channels (the Yang channels) at this precise location, more than anywhere else in the body. So embrace scarves, popped collars, or the trending turtleneck when the great outdoors is less than sunny and warm. Your internal health is dependent upon it!
If you’re interested in collecting personalized, effective tips to improve your holistic health, we’re here to help. Our supportive environment of healthcare professionals work side by side with each patient to ensure that they receive the unique holistic care they deserve.
Photo credit – marymarkevich by free pik