acupuncture and the tongue Ever wondered why an acupuncturist always asks to look at your tongue? As an adult, seems a little weird – and a little silly — right?

But according to Chinese medicine, the tongue is a map of your internal organ systems, and it’s the most accurate reflection of the health of these organ systems.

Here is the Chinese medicine map of the tongue:


When you stick your tongue out at me, I am looking at the shape, color, moisture level, cracks, and amount of coating to get a general sense of how your body is functioning. Then I dive in deeper to examine each area of the tongue to get specific information.

For example, a swollen or puffy tongue will indicate overall spleen organ system deficiency. If the tongue is very wet, then that further indicates presence of something we call dampness (basically, think of it as slush that’s not able to be processed by your body). If the spleen and stomach area of the tongue is covered with a thick coating, then that means there is large amount of phlegm and mucus in the body. I’ll talk to you and look at your health history to find out where the phlegm is hiding out, which could be a number of places in your body. Phlegm, as we know, is a huge foe of TTC-ing

An overly-red tip of the tongue is a common symptom I see at my practice. Most of my patients have been struggling with infertility for months, and sometimes years. Anxiety and depression often come with the territory. As a result, sleep disturbance is a common issue. I can always tell when someone has not been sleeping well or is anxious because the tongue tip will be super red. The tongue tip is the area of the Heart organ. The heart organ houses the spirit (remember body, mind and spirit?) Chinese medicine believes that when your heart organ is malnourished, the spirit becomes restless, and your mind cannot rest.

Tongue diagnosis is a powerful tool for me to gauge progress of a patient along with discussions of symptoms. As you continue treatment with acupuncture and herbs, your overall health will improve, and it will be reflected in your tongue.