Your tongue speaks! (and it tells all)
By Lance Isakov, M.Ac., Licensed Acupuncturist
Here is the third in a series of articles to help explain particular aspects of Chinese Medicine to my patients! As those of you who have come in for acupuncture know, I spend quite a lot of time with diagnostics including reading your pulses and looking at your tongue. This helps me find the root cause of your upset and gives me information to treat you effectively and safely.
Last time we talked about pulses, today we will talk about your TONGUE.
If you've had an acupuncture treatment, then you've been asked to stick out your tongue. I like to call the tongue the “Chinese X-Rays” (fun fact alert!) as it’s the only internal organ we can see from the outside.
By observing the color, shape, texture, coat and thickness of the tongue we can see how our whole body is functioning. These observations allow us to detect imbalances in different systems in our body. The tongue changes as the state of your health changes. Unlike reading your pulse which changes very quickly, the changes to the tongue appear more slowly. Therefore the tongue diagnosis is a wonderful, visible, marker of your improvements over the course of your acupuncture sessions.
So this is the perfect time to grab a mirror or a buddy! Go on, I’ll wait…okay!
A normal tongue is pink in color, medium thickness, has no cracks, ulcers, or teeth marks and has a light white coat on it. However, just like a snowflake, rarely are two tongues alike. You can monitor your own health level by taking a look in the mirror and tracking changes that occur.
Here’s a common example I see everyday in the treatment room: a red tongue tip! A red tongue indicates heat in general, a red tip indicates heat specifically in the heart. Heat in the heart typically rises from chronic emotional upset, and can be experienced as anxiety, depression or even excess anger or frustration. Once diagnoses appropriately, acupuncture is a powerful tool to help with these upsets, and, as you feel better, your tongue will change!
Here are some other common examples:
A deep crack down the middle of the tongue: Digestive Issues (Stomach/Spleen Deficiency)
Swollen with teethmarks on the edges: fatigue, poor appetite, shortness of breath, worry (Spleen Qi Deficiency)
Pale Tongue: Dizziness, fatigue, palpitations, memory issues, insomnia (Blood Deficiency)
Quivering Tongue: pain that moves around in the body, cold/flu, rashes, spasms (Wind)
Greasy white coating: feeling of fullness, bloating, lethargy, feeling heavy (Dampness)
So what do you think? Pretty amazing right?! Our bodies have so much to share with us, and sometimes it's all on the tip of your tongue!!
If you are wondering about your tongue or have questions about your health in general, come on in for a diagnostic session, we can chat, check out your tongue, help you feel better, and maybe even help you THRIVE!! Go ahead and book online =)
P.S. if you write the word tongue a lot, the word starts to look really funny =)
P.P.S. Thank you to Sam, my tongue model, who revealed her health to the world <3