Saturday, January 21, 2023

Chinese New Year Spring Cleaning

How to clear this befor CNY?
We had quite a few patients who came in this week complaining of neck, shoulder and low back pain. All from spring cleaning their homes to prepare for Chinese New Year. 

For Chinese families, it is tradition and superstition for them to clean their houses and surrounding areas before the start of the Chinese new year. 

The word 'dust' in Chinese is a homophone for 'old' , hence cleaning the house is symbolic for driving away the bad luck from the previous year to allow for a new start. Besides getting rid the of bad luck and misfortune from the past, it also opens up spaces for all the new, good luck to enter your house and infuse your life. 

Many of us have clutter in our homes, offices and cars. Sometimes cleaning it out seems like a huge task. This messy environment can affect our minds, making us anxious and can hurt our ability to relax, focus or sleep. We take longer to do things, we may lose or break things. It just makes life harder.

It can also cause emotional distress since we are constantly faced with reminders of the clutter and messiness which does not conform to our identity as someone whs has their act together. This was shown in a recent study that tested the effect of mess on behavior by placing subjects in a normal versus chaotic kitchen (Vartanian et al, 2017). Those in the messy kitchens tended to over indulge in less healthy snacks more than those in normal kitchens.

So other than Chinese tradition and superstition, you now have another good reason to clear out the clutter and clean up the mess.

Happy Chinese New Year to all our patients and readers.


Vatanian LR, Kernan KM and Wansink B (2017). Clutter, Chaos, And Overconsumption: The Role Of Mind-set In Stressful And Chaotic Food Environments. Env and Behav. 49(2): 215-233. DOI: 10.1177/0013916516628178.

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