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Tongue Diagnosis is one of the most ancient and highly reliable techniques for discerning a patient’s root cause of a disease. By observing the body, color and coating of the tongue, a practitioner can easily understand underlying conditions and ailments and make a prognosis for the healing course. This technique provides a reliable visual indicator of a person’s overall body constitution in regard to strength and the internal organ unity. Traditional Chinese Medicine has always been at the core of this practice.

Why the tongue?

The tongue connects to many parts of the body and is specially related to the heart. In Chinese medicine, the tongue is known as the sprout or offshoot’ of the Heart. The tongue has five element zones that correspond to various organs of the body. This means that its appearance changes in relation to physiological changes in the body, (Maoshing, 2010). The five meridians/channels or zones that connect with the tongue are:

  • The spleen / stomach channel –spreading over the tongue’s middle area, it is the internal zone of the primary channel relating to digestive strength.
  • The heart channel – any imbalances would show at the tongue tip.
  • The kidney /bladder channel – an internal branch terminating at the base of the tongue.
  • The liver / gallbladder channel – this zone is at the sides of the tongue.
  • The lung channel – manifesting at the area posterior to the tip of the tongue.

Tongue analysis indicators

The tongue has muscles, arteries, veins, capillaries, salivary glands, mucus and lymphatic vessels; all of which make it a very sensitive organ. The coating makes up for the uppermost layer of the tongue. A normal human tongue should be slightly red, a bit wet and thinly covered with a white layer. (Schnorrenberger & Schnorrenberger, 2011).

  1. Tongue coloration – The color is an indicator of blood condition and constitution. A pale color could be an indicator of possible anemia while a deep red coloration could indicate acidity, toxic overload and even high blood pressure.
  2. Tongue shape – Indentation of edges is a sign of nutrient malabsorption. A thin tongue indicates fatigue while an abnormally thick tongue shows possible lymphatic congestion. A pointed stiff tongue is often a result of fatigue or rigid physical state.
  3. Tongue coating – While the coating might be evidence of foods eaten, it may also depict infections or presence of toxins in the body. A thick yellow coating could be a sign of congested gall bladder or liver. On the other hand, a thick white coating possibly indicates presence of toxins like Candida albicans.
  4. Tongue movement – This mostly serves as a mental wellness indicator. High physical and mental stress leads to a rigid tongue while a flaccid tongue is a sign of low body energy and overall poor circulation.

How we use tongue diagnosis in our TCM approaches

At Boca Raton Acupuncture we use tongue diagnosis to distinguish the nature of underlying diseases and judging the extent of disease progression. The technique helps us to narrow down the area of focus for an effective treatment plan and accurate prognosis especially as it pertains to the treatment of internal diseases.

Tongue diagnosis helps us effectively pinpoint the correct acupuncture points to choose and the correct herbal remedy to prescribe as well. It truly is one of the most powerful and effective diagnostic methods in our practitioner toolbox. Call us today to get a free consultation and learn more about tongue diagnosis, acupuncture and achieving optimal health!