What Can Chinese Medicine Tongue Diagnosis Tell You About Your Health?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a system of healing that's been in use for thousands of years. It includes acupuncture, tui na massage and Chinese herbal medicine.

When you visit a TCM practitioner, they won't diagnose you the same as a Western doctor. For example, one tool that TCM practitioners use is the tongue. It seems like a small part of the body, but you might be surprised by what a tongue diagram can reveal.

Keep reading to find out what your tongue can tell you about your health.


The Tongue Diagram

TCM practitioners use the tongue diagram to get an idea of the health of the different organs of the body. The tip of the tongue represents the heart, just behind that is the lungs. The edges are the liver and gallbladder, the central part represents the stomach and spleen. The rear of the tongue maps to the kidneys, bladder, and intestines.

This is because Chinese medicine believes each part of the body reflects the entire body. This idea also underpins treatments such as reflexology, which maps the body to the soles of the feet or the hands, and is used in acupuncture.

Tongue Diagnosis

When a TCM practitioner looks at your tongue, they are looking for many different signs of an imbalance. Some of the things they will look for include:


The normal color of a tongue is light pink or light red. Other colors will lead the practitioner to suspect other problems; for example, red tongues are associated with too much heat. A pale tongue might suggest Qi deficiency.

The Condition of the Tongue

A practitioner examines the appearance of your tongue to make a diagnosis. For example, a stiff tongue is usually a sign of excess in the body, while a weak, floppy tongue is the opposite.

The coating of your tongue can also help complete the picture of your overall health. While a thin, white coated tongue is normal other coatings can indicate a problem. This has been confirmed by studies, for example, patients with HIV were seen with cracks in the tongue with a thick, white, coating.

The practitioner will also be looking at your tongue for any spots or other differences on the tongue's surface. These spots can be red, white or black and the type and location will guide the practitioner to different treatment choices.

Preparing for a Tongue Examination

If you brush your tongue, either for hygiene or for religious reasons then it is best to avoid doing so for the day of the appointment. Likewise, avoid highly colored food and drink which might stain your tongue.

What Does Your Tongue Tell Us?

If you'd like to find out what your tongue diagram has to say about your overall health, then get in touch today to make an appointment. TCM is a fascinating discipline that can shed light on chronic conditions and help treat the underlying imbalance.

If you're struggling with a long-term health condition, or are just feeling under the weather then TCM could help set you on the path to better health.