Tongue Diagnosis


Tongue Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine.

Ever wondered why your acupuncturist ask to see your tongue before your treatment?

The tongue provides us with valuable information that helps us to correctly diagnose the root cause of whatever sickness or pain you are experiencing, and how to treat it. 

We look at the color, shape, texture, and thickness of the tongue and the coat.

A normal healthy tongue is a light “fresh red”, with a thin white tongue coat. The tongue itself does not appear swollen, and there are no teeth marks along the sides of the tongue.


Common tongue diagnosis:

Deep Red: Means heat in the body. This heat can manifest in various ways, depending on the organ or body part involved. Heat can mean, anger, emotions being trapped, pain, high blood pressure, etc. I also commonly see deep red tongues in menopausal women (think hot flashes).


Pale: Deficiency. This person is usually fatigued, weak, may have sleep and digestive problems.

Dark Red or purple: Stagnation. This indicates that energy is not flowing smoothly in the body. This frequently occurs with pain.

Swollen Tongue: Dampness, this person is usually fatigued, easily sick, probably foggy headed, digestive issues, easy weight gain.


Thick white tongue coat: This is an indication of cold in the body. A thick white tongue coat in the center may appear as symptoms such as stomach cramps that get better when heat is applied.


Yellow tongue coat: This is another indication of heat in the body called damp heat. I usually see this with excessive alcohol use, greasy take out foods, poor digestion with loose stools, or beginning stages of the flu.



Not only do we look at the color and coat, but we also look at where the color and coat is. Certain areas of your tongue correlate to different organ systems in the body.


Take a look at your tongue and see what you find!


See something you’re concerned with? Don’t freak out, it’s best to leave the diagnosis up to the Acupuncturist (it’s a quite complex system). ;)


Want a virtual TCM and Tongue diagnosis? Book an appointment here with me!

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