Stick Out Your Tongue and Say AHHHH

Arvada acupunture
You Want to Look at My WHAT!?!
Chinese Medicine… it’s statically the most commonly used medicine in the world, and it’s probably the least understood as well.  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been around for thousands of years. I like to warn people new to my office that any medicine that is that old can seem a little strange at times.  There is no better example of this than your initial consultation with an Acupuncturist.  We will often take you through a full questionnaire about your health history and often ask you questions that seem unexpected and maybe even a little embarrassing (don’t worry, it’s for a good reason, and not just because we are trying to make you uncomfortable).  The next step is often the one that I get the most questions about… we will check your pulse on each wrist and then we will ask to look at your tongue.  Yep, we want you to do one of the things your parents always told you NOT to do… stick your tongue out at a stranger.  So often people ask about what we are looking for when looking at your tongue and what it means; and a blog seems like a perfect forum to answer these questions once and for all (or at least until my next new patient comes in and I ask to see their tongue).First and foremost, a “normal” tongue (I rarely see these) are light pink, moist but not too wet, without scallops or teeth-marks on the sides of the tongue, no cracks or peeled patches, no coat and lastly, no red tip to the tongue.  We may also ask to see the underside of the tongue, and if so, we are looking to make sure that the sub-lingual veins are normal and not dark or distended.  What does this mean if your tongue doesn’t appear to match up to the one I just described?  Well, that’s where TCM diagnosis comes in and that would take years to fully go into, so we’ll just keep it simple.  The easiest thing to explain and the most common issue I see on a tongue is someone who has a bright red tip to their tongue… this often means they are stressed out.  The coating on a tongue usually indicates issues in digestion or diet.  If there are scallops or tooth-marks on the sides of a tongue this can mean the person is pre-disposed to issues with weight or some kind of “fluid” issue (such as edema or mucus issues). A pale tongue often indicates fatigue or can even mean anemia.  The list goes on and on with the things we can diagnose by looking at your tongue;  but the last issue I want to cover is the one that makes me the most nervous when I see it, a black tongue (I’ve seen them!).  If someone has a black tongue that typically means that the person is usually VERY mentally unstable.

So there you go… a crash course in why an Acupuncturist may ask to see your tongue.  It’s a diagnostic tool and one more piece to the puzzle.  As you can imagine, the more pieces to the puzzle we have, the better we are able to help you reach your health goals in the fastest and most efficient way possible.  So open wide and say “AHHHHH!






Jana Royer-Morian