Tongue diagnostics is partly used in Western medicine, but is significantly refined in Eastern medicine. It is an examination technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It plays an important role in Normamed diagnostics in the observation of fine changes in organ functions for instance. Similarly, evident light coatings often provide visible evidence of the disease pattern such as yeast infections.
Changes in colour, shape and coating can indicate disturbances in the body. The reason for this is the intensive networking of the oral cavity and tongue with the brain. The tongue is connected to both the brain and internal organs via four nerves. These are responsible for the sensation of heat, cold, pain and taste.
Pale pink, slightly moist, glossy, often covered with a clear whitish coating: Such is the appearance of the normal tongue. For the experienced TCM physician, any deviations in shape, coating, colour, moisture, etc. are indications of disorders of the organ functions.
In a spleen disorder, the tongue is swollen and there is a notch in the middle of the tongue. Changes in certain regions of the tongue can show how organ functions are impaired. Since the tongue reacts very quickly to disturbances of the organs, tongue diagnostics – in addition to the mouth and throat anamnesis – is an important method for testing the effectiveness of therapeutic measures. The examination of the tongue can also reveal a suspicion of infection (to be tested microbiologically): A groove or notch in the middle of the tongue indicates a stomach disorder, which is very often caused by an infection with Helicobacter pylori. It is advisable to have this examined by a doctor. This is a good example of the combination of Western medicine and TCM in Normamed diagnostics.
Without reading and evaluating the tongue changes, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) would lack an essential element of diagnostics.
Besides taking the pulse, tongue diagnostics is the most important method of diagnosing and monitoring the course of diseases.
According to the curriculum of Chinese medicine studies, one can obtain reasonable assurance about tongue diagnostics after having taken a closer look at 15,000 to 20,000 tongues. This is certainly one of the reasons why tongue diagnostics is not very widespread in Central European naturopathy and TCM, although it provides some key approaches and could help save money within the healthcare system.