Why does my Acupuncturist Want To Look At My Tongue?

Wierd I know. You may not be suffering from a cold, sore throat or a fever, but I will always ask to see your tongue.

The overall appearance of the tongue provide a look inside the health and harmony of the organs. Believe it or not, the tongue is the only muscle we can see and it tells us a lot about what is going internally.

photo courtesy of @acupuncturediaries

photo courtesy of @acupuncturediaries

When Chinese medicine was first introduced over 2000 years ago, there were no diagnostic imaging equipment that exist today. Instead practitoners relied on an sharp sense of observation, looking closely at the main problem and how it may be affecting the body as a whole.

On your visit you may have noticed that I ask a a ton of questions that that seem very unrelated, and then I feel your pulse and look at your tongue. I am taking down your diagnosis to understand exactly what is going on in your body, and I put together a picture of your entire health.

About the tongue I look at the shape and color of the tongue and the quality of the tongue coating. Divided into different areas, it is reflective of the internal workings of your body. The perfect tongue is pale red, with a thin white coating.

The color of the tongue tells me about the body's consitituation and any imbalances that may be creating symptoms. For example a purple tongue imples stagnation like pain while a blue or black color means there is internal cold. The color and thickness of the tongue coating indicates the amount of dampness in the body and digestive behaviors.

Have a look at your own tongue and you will notice it can change depending on how you are feeling, what you eat and how rested you are. When you get the common cold it is not uncommon to notice a redness on the tip (reflective of the lungs). If you become nauseous, seasick or motion sick, you may notice a thick coating in the tongues center, (reflective of the digestive system).

It is remarkable what the body is able to communicate, and how we can continually learn how to help ourself just by understanding these observations.