March 24, 2015

Tongues Tell All: How our Tongues Reveal our Health Level.

Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve had an acupuncture treatment, then you’ve been asked to stick out your tongue.

I like to call the tongue the “Chinese X-Rays” (fun fact alert!) as it’s the only internal organ we can see from the outside.

By observing the color, shape, texture, coat and thickness of the tongue we can see how our whole body is functioning. These observations allow us to detect imbalances in different systems in our body. The tongue changes as the state of your health changes.

Unlike reading your pulse, which changes very quickly, the changes to the tongue appear more slowly. Therefore the tongue diagnosis is a wonderful, visible, marker of your improvements over the course of your acupuncture sessions.

So this is the perfect time to grab a mirror or a buddy! Go on, I’ll wait…


A normal tongue is pink in color, medium thickness, has no cracks, ulcers, or teeth marks and has a light white coat on it. However, just like a snowflake, rarely are two tongues alike. You can monitor your own health level by taking a look in the mirror and tracking changes that occur.

Here’s a common example I see everyday in the treatment room: a red tongue tip! A red tongue indicates heat in general, a red tip indicates heat specifically in the heart. Heat in the heart typically rises from chronic emotional upset, and can be experienced as anxiety, depression or even excess anger or frustration.

Once diagnosed appropriately, acupuncture is a powerful tool to help with these upsets, and you feel better, your tongue will change!

Here are some other common examples:

A deep crack down the middle of the tongue: Digestive Issues (Stomach/Spleen Deficiency)

Swollen with teethmarks on the edges: fatigue, poor appetite, shortness of breath, worry (Spleen Qi Deficiency)

Pale Tongue: Dizziness, fatigue, palpitations, memory issues, insomnia (Blood Deficiency)

Quivering Tongue: pain that moves around in the body, cold/flu, rashes, spasms (Wind)

Greasy white coating: feeling of fullness, bloating, lethargy, feeling heavy (Dampness)

So what do you think? Pretty amazing, right?

Our bodies have so much to share with us, and sometimes it’s all on the tip of your tongue!


Relephant Read:

5 Peculiar Things that Could Change Your Life.


Author: Lance Isakov

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


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Kate Mar 29, 2015 9:22pm

Nice article by a great practitioner, thanks Lance!

sandra bridgeman Mar 25, 2015 9:59am

Have you ever met a case when the tongue hangs down, after their hyoid bone has been fractured on just the left side? Due to an accident.This is usually found after a person has been hung, but, I was hit in the throat and it's very painful, just to swallow is very hard.

hector espinosa Mar 25, 2015 6:58am

Dont become alarmed if you see any One sign see what happens over time remember the tongue is like any Organ if you went drinking you're going to feel sluggish that doesn't mean you have liver disease that means you happen to see it the day after you went drinking.

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Lance David Isakov

Lance David Isakov, M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl. Ac., CYT  is a Licensed Acupuncturist & Kundalini Yoga Teacher. He has been practicing holistic medicine for since 1995 and specifically Five Element Acupuncture for 14 years. Lance has extensive experience using acupuncture to help with emotional and psychological issues. Lance is the founder of Wayne Family Wellness in Wayne, PA and also Mt. Airy Acupuncture in Philadelphia.