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  • Writer's pictureAmy Malone RN LAc DiplOM

TCM Tip of the Month: November

Woman wears a scarf to help protect her from illness, according to acupuncture and chinese medicine theory

Have you ever wondered why your acupuncturist is always wearing a scarf and recommends that you do the same? As the weather gets cooler and the season has changed from summer to fall and now fall to winter, protecting your immune system is essential to staying healthy. So what does protecting your immune system have to do with wearing a scarf, isn't a scarf just to help you stay warm? Well, the simple answer, is yes, a scarf is to help you stay warm, and staying warm, with your body at its resting natural temperature does help you stay healthy, but there's more to it than that.

In Chinese medicine, your immune system is comprised of a protective barrier of qi called Wei qi (sounds like whey chee). Wei qi circulates through the soft tissues of the body, under the skin, and when strong, emerges from the body for about an inch. The protective barrier serves to keep external pathogens from invading your body so that you stay healthy and don't get sick. In biomedical terms, think of this as the bioelectric charge of your skin. We all have a slight negative charge, in alignment with the earth and at our healthiest, this is protective. This bioelectricity helps to dictate when your pores open and close. So in this way, wearing a scarf and keeping covered when it's cold, helps protect your wei qi, keeps your bioelectric charge consistent and intact.

Another reason to wear a scarf is to protect from wind. In TCM there are "six evils" that can bring on disease. One of these evils is wind. Wind can carry pathogens into the body and when your pores are open, the pathogens (bacteria, viruses) can enter through the pores and causes disease. The back of the neck is particularly vulnerable to wind when it is cold and left uncovered, so, for this reason, we suggest you wear a scarf.

The good news is, scarves are comfortable, warm and there are tons of fashionable ways to wear them. So add to some fun scarves to your wardrobe and help keep yourself healthy with this little tcm tip.

**All information and resources found on are based on the opinions, experience and research of the author unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider...even if that provider may be the author ;)

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