Feeling a Chill? Here’s Why You Have Cold Sweats
Published | 4 min read
You sweat during exercise or when you're exposed to hot weather. However, cold sweats are a symptom of an underlying physical or psychological cause.
Continue reading to learn what causes the condition and how to treat it effectively.
What are the Reasons Behind Cold Sweats?
Cold sweats are a fight-or-flight response to stress. It often involves episodes of sudden and overwhelming tension. These can be physical or psychological and may include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Hormonal changes during menopause
- A heart attack
- A life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
- An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)
- Alcohol withdrawal or excessive use of the substance
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), cold sweats relate directly to imbalances in the Heart and Lung organ systems. Excessive internal Heat also induces abnormal sweating. It can occur from eating spicy food, Yin (passive energy) Deficiency, or a weak
“Yin is created when yang (active) energy evaporates body fluids. A disruption of the yin–yang balance will prevent wei qi – superficial energy that protects the body against harmful pathogenic factors – and skin pores from functioning properly. Consequently, it can lead to unexpected episodes of cold sweats,” explains Eu Yan Sang physician Peh Wei Jie.
How do You Correct Cold Sweats?
A clinical physician will ask questions to learn why you have cold sweats. Examples of these are:
- “Are you currently in pain?”
- “Are you anxious or stressed?”
- “Have you recently been bitten by an insect?”
- “Have you recently consumed unfamiliar foods or beverages?”
- “How long have you been breaking out in cold sweats?”
- “Are you recovering or have recently recovered from a fever or other infection-related symptoms?”
A TCM practitioner will carefully examine multiple factors, such as:
- The location of sweat
- Time of the day that it happens
- The nature of sweating (cold or warm)
- The smell of sweat
They’ll also classify people according to body types before proposing herbal medications that correct cold sweats.
Make a few changes to your lifestyle
Limit your intake of hot and spicy foods like ginger, cinnamon, pepper, and mutton. Refrain from consuming too many caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. Rather, eat cooling foods to remove Heat, and nourishing foods to boost yin levels in the body. These include Chinese cabbage, sea cucumber, white fungus, pears, and lotus seeds.
If you have frequent night sweats, try striking a balance between work and rest. Relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation are good stress-relievers. Keeping the bedroom cool and ventilated can help maintain
Use herbal formulas to achieve balance
Palpitations, shortness of breath, cold or night sweats, a pale tongue, and weak pulse are signs of Heart Blood Deficiency. Gui Pi Tang (归脾汤) can be used to nourish blood, invigorate the Heart, and stop sweating. It combines astragalus (huang qi, 黄芪), magnolia berries (wu wei zi, 五味子) and jujube seeds (suan zao ren, 酸枣仁).
Constipation, recurring night sweats, warm palms and soles, a red tongue, and rapid pulse indicate Yin Deficiency with internal Heat. Dang Gui Liu Huang Tang (当归六黄汤) or Yu Ping Feng San (玉屏风散) are two formulas that may be combined with grounded oyster shells (
Stimulate acupoints to minimise the frequency of cold sweats
Regulating the yin and yang balance of your body is necessary to reduce the number of cold sweat episodes. Acupuncture treatment can be used to achieve this goal by nourishing yin and curbing excessive yang levels.
The points that can be worked on are
Consultation with a clinical healthcare provider can help identify why you’re experiencing cold sweats. In addition, a TCM practitioner will suggest suitable remedies to support treatment while ensuring they’re safe for your specific constitution.
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- Cleveland Clinic. Anxiety Disorders. [online] [Accessed 27 July 2022]
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- American Diabetes Association. Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Glucose). [online] [Accessed 27 July 2022]
- National Health Service (NHS). Treatment – Anaphylaxis. [online] [Accessed 27 July 2022]
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