So what's with the tongue?

Chinese medicine is a complete model of medicine. It is autonomous from Western medicine in that it does not need allopathic diagnostic methods (labs, x-rays, etc.) to fulfill an effective treatment. Chinese medicine has its own anatomy, its own physiology, and therefore its own pathology and treatment based on this Eastern science.

When Chinese medicine was translated into English, the Chinese organs and conduits (aka meridians, channels) were named the same as the Western organs. This could cause confusion, because they are different. For example, one of the functions of the Chinese Spleen is to promote the transformation of food and the transportation of its nutrients to the body. This simplified example of the Spleen describes more of a systemic physiology. As a point of differentiation, the Western spleen has a specific anatomical location and holds a surplus of blood and supports the immune system. They are clearly different.

Chinese medicine practitioners use the tongue as a map of the whole body. Different organs of the body are mapped on the tongue. For example, the tongue tip reflects the state of the Heart. The Lungs surround the tip and are backed by the Spleen / Stomach in the center of the tongue. At the tongue's root are the Kidneys, Bladder, Intestines and the sides represent the state of the Liver / Gall Bladder.

Once the map is understood, we then look at the landscape of the tongue. Is the body red, pink, pale, blue, purple (if purple is it a red-purple or a blue-purple)? Where do these colors exist in relation to the organ map? What is the tongues shape? Is it wide and swollen? Is it thin and small? What kind of moisture is on the tongue? What is the coat like? Is it thick? Is it thin? Is there even a coat? What color is the coat? Is it white, yellow, dusky, gray, brown even?

All these components represent how the body is metabolizing and using energy. Is it running hot and in excess? Or is it running hot and in deficiency? What organs are involved?

These are just some of the components that I look at when I observe the tongue. The tongue is a window into the body where I have the opportunity to see how things have been, and also how things are progressing.

Are you curious? Would you like to know more on how you can keep tabs on your own tongue? Please call or email me. I would love to be a resource for you.