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Winter Warm Up: Wrap Those...Wrists?!

From the Desk of Dr. Douglas R. Briggs

wrist warmers

Mom was right…bundle up to stay warm! Source:

Being a practitioner of “alternative healing,” I often get interesting and unique catalogs in the mail. There are a lot of products and gadgets out there, and I must confess I enjoy window shopping all the new and different therapy options. Sometimes you need to sit back and recognize what is genuinely good advice and what is just a fancy advertising campaign. Many of us realize that we do not need to spend a lot of money on exotic treatment therapies, when common sense options are readily available.

One item recently caught my attention-wrist warmers, or should I say “Warmth from the North?” The product offered is essentially a polyester tube you slip over your hand to cover your wrist with the idea of increasing the heat of your whole body. The product description went on to describe how people in Scandinavia and Northern Europe have used such things for centuries, and how you might still see an old man in Bavaria out chopping wood in the snow wearing little more than thick trousers, a shirt and his wrist warmers.

Although a nice discussion, the idea is very simple. The wrist is one of the more exposed areas of the body. The vessels and nerves are close to the skin, and there is typically not a lot of fat covering to insulate the underlying tissues-so the body can easily loose heat at this area. In acupuncture philosophy, the Source points are also in this area, which thereby exposes the meridian system to the elements.   It makes sense to protect the wrists from the cold.

Now don’t get me wrong-I think it is a legitimate product with a valid application. But I don’t think you have to travel to the mountains of a distant land to find credibility. You can pick up almost any hunting or winter sport catalog and find a number of good winter gloves with longer gauntlets to protect the wrist. The big picture is to protect the wrists from the cold as much as the hands-protecting the body from negative exposure.

But let’s not just stop at the wrist-there are other places the body can lose internal warmth as well. The ankles are just like the wrists-thin skin with easily exposed nerve and vascular points. The neck is also a place where the blood supply to the head is readily affected by the cold.

So, Mom was right: stay bundled up and warm in winter. Common sense? Absolutely. But I have had many patients who never thought that protecting their body from the cold was actually a good thing. It really is a good idea to wear a scarf, good gloves, and warms socks. Common sense care generally trumps exotic therapies. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.

Dr. Douglas R. Briggs, DC, Dipl.Med.Ac.(IAMA), L.Ac., DAAPM, is a Chiropractic Physician and Acupuncturist at First State Health & Wellness-Wilmington. First State Health & Wellness has been providing award-winning integrative healthcare and education for over 30 years. Services among six offices across Delaware include Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Massage, Functional Nutrition, Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression and Rehabilitation. Learn more at or call 302.654.4001 to schedule an appointment.

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