How To Use Traditional Chinese Medicine To Do A ‘Tongue Diagnosis’

In Traditional Chinese medicine using the tongue in order to clearly see the health of the body is very common. This tongue diagnosis technique will show the practitioner what is wrong with the body so that he or she can then recommend treatments such a nutrition, massage, herbal remedies, exercise, acupressure, or acupuncture. 

The reason the Ancient Chinese use the tongue is because it is believed to show the health of the 5 major organ systems: kidney, heart, sleep, lung, and liver. If you want to be completely healthy then keeping these 5 organs in balance is key.

What they look for

In a traditional tongue assessment, the healer would look at the shape, color, and coating on the patient’s tongue. Here are the major areas they would examine and what it meant in this ancient tradition.

  1. Tongue Color

shutterstock_74232157A person’s vital energy is that you look for when you look at the color of their tongue.

This vital energy of ‘qi’ is considered healthy when the tongue is a light red color. If the color is off then it may be a sign of a coming chronic illness that needs to be addressed.

Another example is the Ancient Chinese believed that having a pale tongue was a sign of blockages in the natural energy flow of the body which may mean issues with the digestive system or pancreas.

An almost purple color is another sign of qi blockages.

2. Tongue Shape

According to the tradition, you want a tongue that isn’t too thin or thick. You also want the surface of the tongue to be smooth with no sign of cracks. If a person had any of these signs then it was believed that they had a chronic illness that involved bodily fluids such as the blood.shutterstock_343761575

If you have a puffy or swollen tongue this may be another sign that something is wrong with your digestive system or the pancreas.

Cracks may show that something is wrong with the heart, memory issue, or even insomnia.

If you have curling on the side of your tongue it was said to be an issue with qi flow becoming stagnant.

3. Tongue Coating

A normal tongue should have a thin slightly white coating. If the tongue becomes a pale yellow or has a thicker film on it that then may be a sign of health problems.

shutterstock_74232157These health problems are thought to be connected to the spleen (immune system) or stomach.

Sometimes a strange tongue coating can also be a sign that we are experiencing a cold or sinus issue.

The opposite problem is also a concern. If you have no coating or peeling skin then that may be a yin energy issue associated with the kidney, tinnitus, or the lower back.

Some things to keep in mind.

Tongue Diagnosis aren’t validated by science in most cases at this time. Though the health of the tongue can be helping in finding issues with the body it is important that we use more than one data point when we are trying to find an issue. Also being on certain vitamins such as vitamin C can change what your tongue looks like.

Take a look at your tongue in the mirror and see what you can find!

Sources-

verywell.com

Anastasi JK1, Currie LM, Kim GH. “Understanding diagnostic reasoning in TCM practice: tongue diagnosis.” Altern Ther Health Med. 2009 May-Jun;15(3):18-28.

Lo LC1, Chen CY, Chiang JY, Cheng TL, Lin HJ, Chang HH. “Tongue diagnosis of traditional Chinese medicine for rheumatoid arthritis.” Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2013 Aug 12;10(5):360-9.

Lo LC1, Chen YF, Chiang JY, Cheng TL, Damdinsuren N. “Education of Chinese medicine tongue diagnosis by automatic tongue diagnosis system.” Chin J Integr Med. 2015 May 12.

Lo LC1, Cheng TL2, Chen YJ3, Natsagdorj S4, Chiang JY5. “TCM tongue diagnosis index of early-stage breast cancer.” Complement Ther Med. 2015 Oct;23(5):705-13.

Lo LC1, Cheng TL2, Chiang JY3, Damdinsuren N4. “Breast cancer index: a perspective on tongue diagnosis in traditional chinese medicine.” J Tradit Complement Med. 2013 Jul;3(3):194-203.