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Does your tongue look like this?

You may have been asked to show your tongue if you've been to an acupuncture appointment. Why is this? The tongue is seen as a reflection of the body as a whole and one of the key methods of diagnosing health patterns in Traditional Chinese Medicine. There is actually a normal tongue. If your tongue is pink with an evenly spread thin white coat then you are in good shape. Below is the meaning of a few alternative tongue appearances.


What color is your tongue?

Red: shows heat in your body which can include symptoms of inflammation, hot flashes, thirst, constipation, acne, irritability. The tip of the tongue is connected to the Heart and when it's red there may be anxiety or insomnia. Pale: indicates qi (chee) or blood deficiency (eastern perspective). Fatigue, worry, shortness of breath, dizziness and hard to fall asleep can be related symptoms. Purple or dusky: a sign of diminished circulation. Your body may be experiencing injury and pain, migraines, PMS with cramps, varicose veins.


Do you have cracks or teeth marks?

Teeth marks: Teeth marks, usually accompanied with a puffy pale tongue, signify too much moisture in the body. This is considered dampness. Dampness occurs when digestion fails to transform food and water into usable nutrients for our body. Other signs of dampness: nasal congestion, bloating, tired after eating or when waking up, foggy headed, loose stools.



Cracks or peeled coating show a deficiency of yin indicating depleted moisture levels. Yin has cooling and moistening functions. In the case where there is not enough yin, conditions that are hot and dry will arise (hot flashes, night sweats, dry mouth, eyes, throat).

The center of the tongue is connected to the digestive organs. Cracks in this area are indicative of diminished stomach fluids.

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