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Chinese Medicine Treatment for Sweaty Palms and Feet

herbal prescriptions | acupuncture therapy | acupressure | external remedies | tips to reduce foot odor

The palms of the hands and the soles of the feet have more sweat glands than any other part of the body. Excessive hand sweating is the most common sweating problem; sweaty hands usually come along with sweaty feet. In severe cases, this can greatly affect oneˇ¦s social life, work performance and even health.

When sweaty hands and feet become a severe problem, they are called palmar hyperhidrosis and pedal hyperhidrosis respectively. They tend to run in families, and usually begin in early childhood and worsen in the teenage years and early adulthood. The sweaty hands and feet are likely to develop cracking and scaling of the skin, blisters, frostbite, warts and fungal infections.

Treatment options of sweaty hands and feet vary according to the intensity and how well the person responds to treatment. There are over-the-counter products or prescription antiperspirants for light to moderate cases. Apply the powder, lotion or cream on the palms or soles, cover with a plastic wrap overnight, and then wash off in the morning. Iontophoresis which uses a mild electrical current to temporarily turn off the sweat gland is also suitable for sweaty hands and feet. Botox injections, although quite painful, are helpful to those who with severe sweating. When all these methods fail, surgery is the last resort. Quiet often, a single method that works for a person may not work for another, so it is better to use a combination of methods.

In addition, stress, emotional stimuli, anxiety and certain foods play key roles in the development of the problem. People should find ways to minimize these things through relaxation techniques, changing diets and exercise.

In TCM, when sweating is always aggravated by nervous states; it means the heart system is under-functioning.
In TCM, when sweating is always aggravated by nervous states;
it means the heart system is under-functioning.

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the spleen system controls the muscles and the limbs; the four extremities must be nourished by the nutrient essence transformed and transported by the spleen. When the spleen and stomach fail in its transportation and transformation functions, it will lead to abnormal distribution of the body fluids and excessive sweat will arise from the hands and feet. Furthermore, due to the pathways provided by the meridian system, certain pathogens can be transmitted to the hands and feet affecting the local sweating process, for example:

Excessive heat in the stomach and intestines not only leads to constipation, but also sweaty hands and feet.
Damp-heat in the spleen and stomach lead to wet hands and feet, and the sweat is like to be sticky in nature.
Yin deficiency creates virtual fire that leads to warm sweaty palms and soles.
Coldness in the spleen and stomach leads to cold sweaty palms and soles.

TCM remedies for sweaty hands or feet are based on particular disharmony patterns that mean besides the intensity of sweaty hands and feet, physicians also notice the subtle symptoms that go with them. In TCM herbal prescriptions, specific herbs like sour jujube seed, shriveled wheat, ephedra root, oyster shell and fossil bone are used to arrest excessive sweating. Typical disharmony patterns that result in sweaty hands and feet are listed below.

Herbal prescriptions for sweaty hands and feet

Damp-heat in the spleen and stomach
People with sweaty hands and feet may also have symptoms such as gastric bloating, poor appetite, fatigue, feverish sensation, scanty urine, a feeling of incomplete emptying after bowel movements, a tongue that is covered by yellow greasy fur, and a soft, floating pulse. The remedy should clear heat, dry the organs and regulate the middle burner.

Sample prescription: Three Kernels Decoction plus white peony root.

Yin deficiency in the heart and kidney
Sweaty hands and feet may be accompanied by other symptoms such as mouth dryness, warm palms and soles, low appetite, sleeping difficulties, constipation, red tongue, and a thready, rapid pulse. The remedy should nourish yin and clear heat.

Sample prescription: Six-ingredient Pill with Rehmannia plus dwarf lily-turf tuber and schisandra.

Coldness in the spleen and stomach
Sweaty hands and feet may be accompanied by other symptoms that include limb coldness, pale complexion, no appetite, fatigue, loose bowels, urinary difficulty, pale tongue and a weak pulse. The remedy should warm and invigorate the middle burner.

Sample prescription: Regulate the Middle Pill plus smoked plum.

Insufficiency of heart yang
Sweating in the hands is more apparent than in the feet, and the situation is always aggravated by nervous states; sufferers also have sleeping difficulty at night. Physicians treat this by harmonizing heart yang.

Sample prescription: Cinnamon Twig Decoction plus fossil bone, oyster shell, tortoise shell, sour jujube seed and shriveled wheat.

Acupuncture therapies for sweaty hands and feet

The hands and feet are either the end point or the starting point for each of the twelve regular meridians, and many of their important acupoints are located in the four extremities. Appropriate point selection and stimulation can help regulate the sweating process in the regions. Acupuncture therapies for sweaty hands and feet aimed to:

Resume the normal functions of the spleen and stomach;
Unblock the localized meridians include the heart, pericardium and kidney meridians.

Suggested acu-points for sweaty hands and feet caused by spleen and stomach dysfunctions: pi shu (Bl 20), wei shu (Bl 21), zhong wan (Cv 12), zhang men (Lr 13), qu chi (Li 11), zu san li (St 36), san yin jiao (Sp 6) and yin xi (Ht 6). Each time stimulate three to four points bilaterally, for 20 minutes and twice weekly.

Suggested acu-points for sweaty hands and feet caused by heart and kidney dysfunctions: fu liu (Ki 7), yin xi (Ht 6), he gu (Li 4), tai xi (Ki 3) and nei guan (Pc 6). Each time, stimulate on both sides for 20 minutes and twice weekly.

Acupressure to ease sweaty hands and feet

Acupressure is a good way to calm down and relax, so that the sweating is unlikely to be further aggravated by a nervous condition. TCM regards nervous conditions or stress as a manifestation of unease spirit in the heart, soothing certain acupoints on heart or pericardium meridian helps to relaxation. Acupressure techniques are suitable for this propose; choose either way when you begin to sweat.

Acupressure points for sweaty hands.
Acupressure points for sweaty hands.

Method 1: Use the thumb to rub the front side of wrist, knead forcefully on nei guan (Pc 6) and shen men (Ht 7), 2 minutes on each point.
Method 2: Use the thumb to rub the palm, knead forcefully on lao gong (Pc 8) and shao fu (Ht 8), one minutes on each point.

The points belong to the pericardium and heart meridians, which are indicated for calming the spirit in the heart. When the sweating is accompanied with warm palms and soles, sleeping difficulties and irritability, lao gong (Pc 8), shao fu (Ht 8) and yong quan (Ki 1, located in the center of soles) should be pressed, do this every night before going to bed.

External herbal remedies to arrest excessive sweating in the hands and feet

External herbal remedies can directly work on the hands and feet and lessen the activity of the sweat glands. These remedies are necessary for complications like odor, scaling, blisters and fungal infections. In addition, applying them frequently at home as a part of beauty treatment for the hands and feet can make you look good and feel great.

Astragalus root (30g), kudzu root (30g), schizonepeta herb (10g) and ledebouriella root (10), this is particularly good for preventing excessive sweating in the hands.
Alum (30g), melanterite (30g), oriental arborvitae leafy-twig (60g) and cutch black catechu (30g). This is suitable for sweaty hands and feet that have blisters.
Alum (15g), kudzu root (20g) and astragalus root (30g). This is suitable for sweaty hands and feet that tend to be triggered by a nervous condition.
Alum (15g), kudzu root (20g) and astragalus root (30g).
18. Alum (15g), kudzu root (20g) and astragalus root (30g).
Tea leaf (25g) and salt (25g) are suitable for sweaty feet.
Alum (30g), sopora root (15g), clove (10g), kudzu root (15g), purslane herb (15g) and red halloysite (30g), this are suitable for sweaty and smelly feet.
Siberian cocklibur fruit (60g), sopora root (30g), common cnidium fruit (30g), amur corktree bark (30g), alum (30g), and bee wax (15g), this can arrest sweating, inhibit microorganisms growth and stop itchiness.
Belvedere fruit (20g), Siberian cocklibur fruit (60g), sopora root (30g), dictamnus root bark (20g) and amur corktree bark (30g), this helps remove dead skin, inhibit the growth of microorganisms, and stop itchiness.

The above prescriptions can be prepared as a washing solution or regular scrub. For washing and soaking, keep the water temperature between 50 -60˘J, soak for at least 20 minutes while rubbing evenly to remove dead cells from the skin. After bathing, rinse with clean water, wipe the hands and feet properly, and put on lotions for protection or anti-fungus drugs if necessary.

Tips to reduce foot odor

People with smelly feet should pay attention to hygiene in the area, as the unpleasant odor is mostly duo to bacteria breaking down dead skin cells on sweaty feet. The following suggestions are helpful:

When you take a bath, remember to scrub and clean the feet rather than just splash water on them. Dry the feet thoroughly afterward especially between the toes.
Choose the right shoes and socks, making sure that they are of natural materials and fit well; these allow your feet to breathe.
Do not wear the same shoes everyday, let them dry out completely before wearing them again.
Take off your shoes and air the feet regularly if possible, and go barefoot at home.
Use a disinfectant spray to kill bacteria in the shoes, or use an odor-fighting powder or absorbent insoles.
Wash your feet with antibacterial soap.
Soak your feet in hot water for 15 minutes everyday before going bed.
Wash shoes or insoles regularly, and make sure to dry them completely before wearing them.
Treat athleteˇ¦s foot and other foot problems in their early stages.
A light and easily digested diet along with well hydrated body helps stabilize the nervous system and make it less likely to sweat heavily.

Smelly feet is mostly duo to bacteria breaking down dead skin cells and secretions on the feet
Smelly feet is mostly duo to bacteria breaking down dead skin cells and secretions on the feet

TCM suggests selecting foods that cool down the body and invigorate the spleen, include lotus root, lotus seed, Chinese cabbage, water bamboo, spinach, bitter melon, cucumber, tomato, wax gourd, celery, white fungus, mung bean, hyacinth bean, bean curb, coix seed, hawthorn fruit, banana and yoghurt. Generally, pungent, spicy and fried foods should be taken in moderation. It is important to maintain a balance between work and rest, exercise daily to help the metabolism and minimizes stress, and drink water to stabilize the body temperature.