Chinese medicine has always paid close attention to the external apprearance and behavior of a person. With thousands of years of experience behind this medical modality, it has been found that these signs are reflections of internal processes.
Tongue diagnosis dates back to the Shang Dynasty which began around 1600 B.C. Diagnosis of the tongue by a trained professional can provide you with some clues as to the nature and perhaps the location of a particular health issue. Just as parts of the foot (Reflexology) and parts of the iris (Iridology) relate to the various parts of the body. Parts of the tongue represent the internal organs. The kidneys and bladder are imaged at the very back of the tongue, the spleen and stomach in the centre, the heart at the front tip and the lungs just behind. The liver and gallbladder relate to the sides of the tongue.
A practitioner examines the general shape, as well as the colour, coating, cracks protrusions of the tongue. A healthy tongue will be pink and moist with a thin clear or white coats. Signs of imbalances are raised spots, cracks, peeled areas and very pale purple, blue or black colours.
As with any assessment method, the wellness professional doesn’t rely on tongue diagnosis alone, but uses it in conjunction with other diagnostic modalities to read the complete picture of a person’s health.
By Ilana Attali
Toronto-based acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine herbalist