Much like your face, your tongue stands as a roadmap to what may be off-balance or in need of attention when it comes to your internal health. Your tongue can reveal a multitude of ailments, from sleep deprivation to hormonal imbalance. From my own experience of having my tongue examined, I was able to become aware of organs that needed specific attention or actions that needed to be included in my daily routine. It was only a few years ago that I had a holistic coach take a closer look at my tongue while attending a local health and wellness festival. The examination was spot on, as my tongue revealed a lot of what I already was feeling or assuming may need my attention. Listening to your body and paying close attention to what it could be telling you is key to reaching and maintaining optimal health, and using our tongue as a blueprint is an essential and easy way to gain a quick glimpse inside.
Examining one’s tongue is a practice derived from Chinese medicine, and it takes a holistic approach to ensure that your body and mind are in perfect balance. Take out a mirror or ask someone you feel comfortable with to help you assess your tongue. So open wide and say “ahhhhh” as here are a few common tongue characteristics, and what they might be trying to tell you.
Bright Red Tongue
When everything is balanced and aligned your tongue should be a slight pink color, which can and may vary in intensity. If it is a bright, vibrant red, this may be your tongue trying to tell you that there is an imbalance in the body and an accumulation of heat. This could mean that something isn’t circulating right in the body, and that could be due to a lack of proper exercise to encourage proper heat flow or that your body may be in the early stages of getting sick. This could also be the result of poor eating habits or issues with digestion that may be causing inflammation. If you are finding that you are ingesting more spicy foods than normal, it can be taking a toll on your body’s temperature balance and your body’s ability to process your food. Try staying away from hot and spicy foods, and see if a change in pigmentation occurs in your tongue.
Indentations on your tongue from your teeth can indicate a few different health ailments. It can either point towards issues with your spleen, low hyperthyroidism, fatigue or digestive issues. The teeth marks are due to swelling in the tongue, causing it to become enlarged and therefore presses against your teeth. If your tongue shows signs of scalloping it may be time to see a health professional and look into specifically what is in need of attention in order to bring the swelling down.
Cracks in Tongue
Deep cracks within the tongue can mean that there is a deficiency, and most commonly it is a hormone imbalance. As the cause of a hormone imbalance can be tricky to identify, it can be difficult to self-diagnose and cure. Making small changes in your diet and filling your diet with foods and herbs that help to balance hormones could be a good direction to follow. If you find that there are no changes in your tongue or how you feel, then it is suggested that you see a health professional to see what the underlying cause is.
Just as a vibrant red tongue is problematic, a tongue that is pale in color could mean that your body is calling out to be nourished. Pale coloring means that you are lacking something in your body. This is a very vague diagnosis as to what may be wrong, so it can be important to pinpoint with a health professional. Sometimes we already have an idea as to what needs to be addressed in our health regimen, so those changes could be made based on each of our personal relationships with our bodies.
Iron is another common deficiency that comes along with a pale tongue. Incorporating more iron rich foods such as kale, lentils and tofu can help to bring balance to your body. Another common cause of a pale tongue is dehydration. We all know how important it is to drink water, and if you find that you aren’t drinking as much water as you should be that your body is telling you to drink up.
Changes in Different Areas of the Tongue
Remember when I mentioned in the beginning how the tongue is like a map to your body’s internal health? If your tongue is showing changes in different areas, this idea could not apply more. According to Chinese medicine, when your tongue has a change in color or texture that is occurring only in a certain part then it is trying to signal you to a specific organ (or two) that is in need of your attention. The tip of your tongue is the heart, the center is your spleen, stomach or lungs, and the back is the kidneys, urinary tract, or the large and small intestines, and, last but not least, the sides are liver and gallbladder. This key can help you to understand if there is a specific organ that may need to be balanced, and help you to take the proper steps to do so.
The best time to do this examination is first thing in the morning, as you have not yet consumed anything that may change the color or texture of your tongue. Different foods and drinks, coffee being a big one, can affect the appearance of your tongue, causing an inaccurate reading. It is also important that you base your reading off of not just one examination of your tongue, but off of consistent check-ins to see if there are any changes in its appearance.
Our bodies are always changing and fluctuating, so there is no need to become stressed if you see a slight change. If you see changes in the tongue, you can research foods and actions that can help to get your body back on track. If you don’t see any changes after a period of time, then it is always best to see a health professional to ease your stress and provide insight as to what may be causing these signs on your tongue. Analyzing your tongue is a beautiful way to stay connected to the needs of your body, and to remain aware of what your body may be telling you.
Have you looked at your tongue lately?
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