If you are feeling under the weather, just stick out your tongue – the state it’s in can present an accurate picture of your health. The colour, texture and moisture of your tongue can provide signs of what’s going on inside your body. Many complementary therapies, including Acupuncture and Naturopathy, use the tongue to aid diagnosis.
When examining the tongue, the Acupuncturist looks at the colour of the tongue body, its’ size and shape, the colour and thickness of its’ coating or fur, locations of abnormalities and moistness or dryness of the tongue body and fur. These signs reveal not only overall states of health but correlate to specific organ functions and disharmonies, especially in the digestive system. Not all tongue irregularities are indications of disharmony however. Food and drugs may change the coating or colour of the body of the tongue; for example, coffee yellows the coating.
Furthermore, some people have minor, unchanging cracks on their tongue which are considered normal. Others are born with what is called a “geographic tongue,” which is covered with severe cracks and covered with hills and valleys. This is considered normal by some practitioners but a sign of disharmony by others.
The way a tongue appears is not an absolute indicator of the location of the disharmony but when taken as part of an overall pattern that includes a complete evaluation, they offer strong clues to the location of disharmony.
Tongue diagnosis can be a subtle art. To try it yourself, observe the variations of your tongue and compare it to that of friends or family members. After you have looked at a few tongues, you will see that they differ widely and with a little study can tell you a lot about the overall health of a person.
Duncan Ford, Acupuncturist