Why do I need to show my tongue?

That’s probably what you will be thinking if you ever try acupuncture.
It does not matter whether you are coming for a back or neck pain or a bad stomach, the acupuncturist will ask to have a look at your tongue anyway!

But my tongue is fine! Beside, it’s a bit embarrassing to show…

In Chinese Medicine, the tongue is read as a map of your internal organs.
Not only are Chinese doctors (referring to practitioners of Chinese medicine, irrelevant of nationality) able to determine the health of your organs by looking at your tongue, but also if you are suffering or likely to soon suffer from virus or bacterial attack.
Far from being seers, chinese doctors can observe your tongue body shape, colour and coating to see what is brewing inside you.
As prevention is key in Chinese medicine, the tongue is able to tell whether something is coming even if you do not have full blown symptoms.
For example, some virus require an incubation period of 48hours before the symptoms appear, the tongue can reflect that, by showing a thin / thick yellow or white coating.

Here is a map of the tongue in chinese medicine:


As you can see it is neatly divided into areas, each of these being associated with one or two organs.
Now if any of these parts are holey / bloated this indicates that something is going on!

For exemple, swollen edges indicate Liver (as in Chinese medicine) issues:
This could be stagnation of Qi and Blood

(if your tongue is on the purple side, it’s blood stagnation).
And a red tongue tip indicates Heart (as in chinese medicine) issues:
Such as emotional instability, anxiety…

Here are some main types of tongue:


A normal healthy tongue is pink and fits perfectly in the mouth.

Now, look at your tongue on your smartphone or in a mirror.
If pointy and cracked, you need more fluids.
If swollen and pale, maybe too much fluid or damp retention.

Your tongue changes during the day, try and have a look at it before lunch and after lunch!

Once you start looking at it you will be stuck every morning in your bathroom and wondering: is it normal???
Pay close attention to your diet and daily activity. After an exhausting week of work your tongue could be all floppy and show teeth marks, this means that you lack some energy (Qi) and that it is time to rest and reload your batteries!

We only just completed the tongue diagnosis module in class, and many of us decided it would be good to start a tongue diary!

Thank you for reading and see you next time!

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