Sweating It Out
Sweating is a normal bodily function. The human body contains up to five million sweat glands, which release perspiration to the surface when our body temperature rises. When this fluid on our skin’s surface evaporates, we cool down to maintain a normal body temperature (average 37°C).
Of course, sometimes we sweat more than usual. We sweat more on hot days, depending on how we are dressed, and during physical exertion. Additionally, we might sweat more when emotional. Those are all normal reactions to keep the temperature regulated based on the environment.
However, some people suffer from hyperhidrosis, a medical condition in which one perspires unpredictably and excessively. People with hyperhidrosis can produce up to 10 times as much sweat as the average!
What Does Unusual Sweating Mean?
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), if you perspire more than usual it is a sign of bodily dysfunction. If you are sweating more than others around you, it likely means your yin-yang balance is off.
Some of the things the TCM doctor will investigate include when the patient perspires most, how much they perspire, the parts of the body perspiring most frequently, and accompanying symptoms. For example, if a patient perspires often in the morning and feels fatigued, then this could be a sign of weak qi. If a patient is experiencing sweaty palms or feet, then the problem could lie in the spleen. A yellowish tint to sweat or many sweat stains often indicates damp heat in the body.
Types of Sweating
There are two categories of perspiration: spontaneous sweating and night sweats. Spontaneous sweating happens mostly in the daytime and increases during physical activity. Night sweats typically happen when the person is sleeping. They may cause the person to awaken. Anyone can experience night sweats, but they’re more common in children under the age of 12, teenagers, senior citizens who are weak, and women experiencing menopause.
What to Do
If the condition is not accompanied by other symptoms, such as low energy or dry mouth, it is likely not a cause for concern. The body uses sweating to rebalance and deal with external and internal factors.
However, when it comes to alleviating the problem, diet, TCM and acupuncture are especially effective. If you are concerned about sweating, a TCM doctor can evaluate your body’s condition and create a plan to bring it back into balance and alleviate symptoms.