What is a TCM tongue diagnosis?
The tongue is directly connected with the Zang-Fu organs through the meridians which all eventually reach the vessels in the tongue.
By looking at this diagram, you can see that the longest meridian of the Heart, which reaches the tip of the tongue. Therefore if the tip is red, we know there is Heart-heat. Similarly, the Spleen meridian reaches the root of the tongue and spreads over the middle surface. And finally, the kidney meridian ends at the very back of the tongue.
Why is this the case? Based on Chinese Medicine philosophy, Essential Qi can go upward and nourish the tongue and so any pathological changes to the Zang-fu organs will be reflected during the diagnosis of your tongue.
How does this work? In Chinese Medicine diagnosis of tongue, the energy of a patient can be seen in the shape and color of the body tongue. What qualifies as a well balanced body during a tongue diagnosis is a tongue that is pink, rosy-red, shiny/glossy, and has a smooth texture. Any type of imbalance in the body can be identified by patterns deviating from the balanced tongue.
What well balanced diagnosis of tongue?
- Tongue Color: rosy pink, white and pale, or deep purple?
- Coating: shiny/glossy. super dry, or overly moist?
- White vs yellow: really white and patchy or yellow?
- Texture: smooth or rigid? Is there a deep crack?
- Size: narrow and slim or thick and plump?
How to best prepare for an accurate tongue diagnosis:
- Stop tongue scraping: if you're doing this everyday or routinely, this is going to interfere with how we view your tongue! So definitely, do not scrape. There are no benefits of tongue scraping so stop looking for a tongue scraper on Amazon.
- Stay relaxed: if the body is very tense or rigid, the tongue will also appear tense and possible curled up or hold excessive muscle tension.
- Stick it out for max 20 seconds: the tongue might change to a deeper red when it's extended for a prolong amount of time
- Lighting: make sure the tongue is in natural lighting (daylight) and try to avoid fluorescent light
- Avoid food / drinks: the tongue color can be discoloured with coffee, tea, or foods with strong spices (curry). so best to avoid any of this 60mins of your tongue diagnosis