Why does your acupuncturist look at your tongue? | Acupuncture
//Why does your acupuncturist look at your tongue?

Why does your acupuncturist look at your tongue?

girl sticking our her tongue

A Miami Acupuncturist associates the tongue with meridians and internal organs when giving a diagnosis for patients that seek help. Chinese medicine doctors associate colors, size, shape, and thickness of the coating of the tongue. We will go over all of these today.

In traditional Chinese medicine, we divide the body into 3 parts called burners. The following organs are associated to the burners:

  • (Lower burner) includes the bladder, kidneys, uterus, large intestine, small intestines and genital area.
  • (Middle burner) includes the liver, spleen, gall bladder.
  • (Upper burner) includes the heart and lungs.

What acupuncturists try to do is basically give the upper body a shape of a tongue to associate it with the organs.

The meaning of a healthy tongue in Acupuncture/TCM


A healthy tongue body is correlated to a pink tongue, more importantly, the tip. But an unhealthy tongue will show different colors. Let’s go over what some of these colors mean.


  • Purple can mean blood stagnation which may mean a slow pooling of the blood related to the heart QI.
  • A pale color may mean Yang/blood deficiency add a cracked tongue and you may be deficient Qi or Xue.
  • Deep Crimson red color may mean that you accumulate extreme heat in your body. This may indicate a Febrile Illness or you are insufficient in Yin.

  • Black or grayish tongue may mean extreme Stagnation.



Next, we are going to talk about tongue fur in TMC.

The fur is basically the coating on your tongue. The fur goes hand in hand with the spleen and stomach when in balance there is an even density of fur and a little thicker in the middle of the tongue.

  • A thicker fur indicates to us that there is too much of something. Obviously, a thin fur means lacking something, but there is no need to worry if you are well with this one.  
  • A greasy fur means you may have some (phlegm) a liquid secreted by the mucous membranes.
  • Peeled fur off or missing means deficient in the spleen or yin or fluids.
  • White fur is an indication of coldness. If it looks like cottage cheese, it may be heat in the stomach.
  • A gray/black fur with a red tongue color may mean extreme heat if the tongue is pale with black fur may mean the opposite extreme cold.

Size and shape of tongue in acupuncture diagnosis.

  • When the tongue is flaccid and enlarged, deficient Qi might be the culprit. Also, if in conjunction with these symptoms, your tongue’s edges has semicircles, this could also be a sign of stagnation of fluids.
  • An enlarged and hard tongue may mean too much of something.
  • A small, thin tongue deficient in Yin.
  • Hammer Shaped tongues will indicate a spleen, stomach, or kidney problems.


Movement of the Tongue in Traditional Chinese medicine.

Another part of the tongue diagnosis is how the tongue rests in the mouth. A healthy tongue rests comfortably in the mouth without being too big or small.

  • Having a quivering tongue is an indication of Qi or Xue deficient.
  • Yin Deficiency is associated with a flaccid tongue that is deep red.
  • If the tongue is not centered it could be a sign of an early stroke.
  • Rigid tongues may be a sign of fever and mucous obstruction usually indications of the heart Qi involved.

Tongue diagnosis in Chinese Medicine is used in conjunction with pulse diagnosis. The tongue is a sensitive indicator of health, while the pulse is used to detect underlying imbalances of internal organs and body. Once we make a pattern of imbalance we make a plan to treat the illness or condition. Acupuncturist in Miami Dr. David Sontag is ready to answer more detailed questions. You can email him here or just give us a call.

By | 2017-06-06T21:23:59+00:00 June 6th, 2017|Categories: Acupuncture|0 Comments

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