Acupuncture Practitioner, Michelle Ulisse explains how your tongue can help uncover lots of useful information about you and your body.

In Chinese medicine, the tongue is a part of our diagnosis toolbox. The different areas of the tongue correlate to different systems and organs of the body. By examining the tongue, we’re given an overall picture of your health and a basic indication of illness in certain areas of your body.

The diagram below outlines the different areas of the tongue and the parts of the body they are linked to:

The image below by AcuMedic (2009)shows how certain health conditions and deficiencies can affect the tongue’s appearance:

Tongue Appearance and Diagnosis: Some Examples

If you stick out your tongue and it is quivering this is a sign of Spleen Qi deficiency.  From a Chinese Medicine perspective, the Spleen is said to ‘house thought’ and as such, worry and overthinking can deplete the Spleen. It’s common, for example, to see a quivering tongue amongst students who are cramming for exams.

If your tongue is pale and dry, this is a sign of blood deficiency. This is often a common signal in women who are experiencing heavy menstruation.

Before Your Acupuncture Appointment

When you come for your acupuncture appointment, it would be useful if you can avoid eating food or drinks which may discolour your tongue such as coffee and blueberries. Also, if you brush your tongue please avoid doing this in the lead up to your appointment as it’s useful for us to see any tongue coatings present.

During Your Acupuncture Appointment

During your appointment, we’ll ask you to stick out your tongue – several times – for a few seconds each time.  This is because the tongue can change in appearance if it’s left stuck out for long periods. During our inspection, we’ll look at the shape and size of your tongue, plus the colour, coating, moisture levels and any noticeable spots or cracks. This, combined with pulse diagnosis, will help inform our individualised treatment plan for you.

Using the Tongue Diagnosis to Treat with Acupuncture

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the tongue is an excellent indicator of poor health and deficiencies – and informs the areas we concentrate on in our acupuncture treatments. If you would like to find more about acupuncture and how you could benefit from this treatment, feel free to book in a free 15-minute chat to discuss if it’s the right path for you.

Written by Michelle Ulisse