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Sweating and Chinese Medicine

Our ability to sweat is based on the body’s need to keep our core temperature within a relatively narrow healthy margin. Strong exercise and sun exposure are the two most basic situations were we ‘break out a sweat’.

Other well-known causes can be stress-related ‘nervous sweating’, illness, where the body’s immune system triggers fever and even things like eating spicy foods. For many women entering menopause, hot flushes and associated sweating can have a strong impact on their quality of life.

In Chinese medicine, sweating, like almost every other symptom, can be split into an excess or a deficiency symptom. Excess is quite simple: there is too much Heat accumulated inside the body, causing strong sweating. Any treatment will attempt to guide out that Heat and prevent its renewed build-up.

In Deficiency, the body is unable to contain its fluids and they are ‘leaking out’. The feeling is more of a clammy and cool skin. Deficiency Heat with Heat tends to have short, violent flares rather than a continuous feverish feeling. Here, the fluids need to be restored, energy supplied and the deficient Heat calmed down rather gently.

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