By Megan Nishida, R.Ac

Have you ever wondered why acupuncturists ask to look at your tongue?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the tongue provides important clues as to how we are functioning internally since it is the only part of our internal body that we can project outside the body.  When we examine your tongue, we look at a few things.  First, we map the surface of the tongue, where each region is associated with a specific organ system; if something is showing up in that region it may indicate an issue in that organ.  Second, we look at the physical tongue body: its size, shape, colour, movement, and any markings.  Finally, we look at the tongue coating thickness, location, quality, and colour.
A healthy tongue is generally pale red to pink in colour, has a thin white coating, is moist, has a uniform and symmetrical shape, and there is no abnormal movement (ex. quivering, deviating to one side, etc)
Common syndromes that we can provide a TCM diagnoses from your tongue:

  1. Stress: the edges of your tongue are scalloped, the tip is redder than the rest of the tongue, there may be petechiae (little red prickles like a strawberry)
  2. Digestive Issues: the tongue body is swollen, there is a thick white or yellowish coating, it may be slimier than usual
  3. Insomnia: the tongue is red with a yellowish coating and the tip is even redder, there may be a cracks in the tongue (ex. A crack down the middle)

So I’m interested to know: what does your tongue look like?

Registered Acupuncture is available with Megan on Saturdays from 10am-2pm.