If you have ever experienced an acupuncture treatment before, chances are that your Doctor was taking a peek at your tongue before starting the treatment. This may seem a bit strange to most and I often find patients asking me what I’m looking for.
The basic idea of tongue diagnostics is to get an idea of the state of the inside of the body, as it is the only muscle we can see. All of the features on your tongue (size, color, coat, cracks…) are your body’s way of giving you clues as to any imbalances from within.
One of the most common features I see is scalloping on the tongue: those little dents along the sides of the tongue that look like teeth marks.
This is most often seen as a sign of Qi deficiency, particularly of the Spleen, and can be a result of long standing over-thinking or worry. It is often known as the “student tongue” because of the long hours spent studying and worrying about test results. Fatigue and digestive issues tend to be the top symptoms that will also pop up in those with this tongue feature.
So what should you do if your tongue is scalloped?
The spleen is seen as a major digestive organ in Chinese Medicine, so diet is going to play a huge role.
It is important to avoid spicy, greasy, cold and raw foods and alcohol.
All of these damage the spleen and can lead to worsening of your symptoms. Including foods that are easy on the digestion (like rice, cooked veggies, fresh fruit and fish), fermented foods, and probiotics will all help in supporting digestion.
Managing stress levels will also be key.
Ask yourself what causes you to feel your most stressed and what activities make you happy or help to relieve that stress.
Exercise and quiet time spent without electronics are shown to bring stress levels down. So find what type of movement you like best, even if it’s as simple as a walk around the block after dinner, and take some time at the end of each day to un-plug and stare at the wind blowing in the trees (no matter how silly it sounds).
And, of course, consulting with your local acupuncturist for a more specific diagnosis and treatment plan is never a bad idea. They can help immediately lower stress levels with an acupuncture treatment and prescribe herbs to help maintain that calm feeling while building up any Qi deficiency you may have.