by Cathy Wong
Chinese medicine practitioners believe the appearance of your tongue can reveal a lot about your health.
Tongue diagnosis is an important part of the Chinese medical assessment. During an examination, the practitioner usually looks at the overall tongue coating, shape, and color. Then he or she looks at specific areas on the tongue.
Different areas of the tongue are believed to reflect the health of the different organ systems. If there is an unusual color, coating, and/or shape in a certain area, special attention is paid to the corresponding organ system.
As with any assessment method, the doctor doesn't rely on tongue diagnosis alone, but uses it to provide a complete picture of a person's health.
Below are some of the guidelines Chinese medical practitioners use to assess the tongue. This is only a selection of many different types of patterns.
What is the Tongue Color?
Normal tongue color is light red, indicating that a person's vital energy (called qi) is strong. It also reflects the health of the internal organs and blood circulation. Changes in the tongue color usually reflect chronic illness.
What is the Tongue Shape?
Normal tongue shape is not too thick or thin, and the tongue body is smooth with no cracks. Changes in the tongue shape usually reflect chronic illness involving blood, qi, or body fluids.
What does the Tongue Coating Look Like?
Normal tongue coating is thin and white. A pale yellow and slightly thicker coating at the back of the tongue may also be normal. The tongue coating often indicates the health of the spleen and stomach. It also provides a good indication of acute illness, such as colds and digestive problems.
Are there any Specific Problem Areas?
Each area of the tongue is connected to specific internal organs.
Other Tongue Tips
This article is meant for information only. An accurate tongue assessment using the Chinese medical system can only be made in person by a qualified practitioner.