If you have ever visited an acupuncturist then you know that we look at your tongue, as a diagnostic tool. I personally love the tongue and find it to be incredibly reliable when diagnosing patients. The tongue never lies! It is so cool, because the tongue is inside the body, but it can be outside the body as well. The tongue is used to diagnose everything and anything. Since we all seem to be stressed out of our f*cking minds these days, I thought it would be fun to point out how the stress manifests on your tongue!
To begin, all organs have a location on the tongue. This area will display the energetic health and functioning of the organs. The tongue also shows how energy (known as Qi), blood, and fluids are flowing. Additionally, it helps to paint a picture of the patients constitutional health and how their general vitality is. The tongue shows me how you heal, where you hold onto your stress, and of course your emotions.
Acupuncturist Note: When I speak of your organs know that I am talking about their energetic function and not the overall health of the organ. For instance, if I say your heart is deficient, I mean energetically. I AM NOT suggesting you are about to have a heart attack.
The Anxious Heart (The Tip)
If you tend to be anxious or struggle with real anxiety (or panic attacks) then take a look at the tip of your tongue. Your heart’s health is reflected here. The heart is related to the element fire and tends to manifest as anxiety when out of balance.
An anxiety prone tongue will generally have a red tip, might have red dots, may be thin, or perhaps be pointy or stiff. The heart element being the fire element can easily be out of balance and turn into too much heat. It is simply the nature of the element. My favorite heart tongue is of course Ms. Miley (I can’t stop sticking out my tongue) Cyrus. This chick has a classic heart tongue! Also the behavior of constantly sticking out her tongue is a heart imbalance of poor boundaries as well (but I think I will save that for another time).
To be honest, there is a lot to diagnose with this tongue, but for this post I am going to zero in on the stiffness, pointy shape, and red tip. A patient with a tongue like this will tend to be anxious, easily stressed, have slightly erratic behavior, battle insomnia, perhaps have dream disturbed sleep, maybe even some reflux, or even panic attacks.
The Controlling Liver (The Sides)
When it comes to Chinese Medicine, the Liver is the ultimate control freak! The Liver is known as the “General” is THE organ who keeps everything under control. Course, we are all living breathing human beings, and we know keeping things in control is not so simple. So, of course, the Liver tends to be tested from now and then.
Now, fair warning, when the Liver is out of balance, he tends to be a bit of an a$$hole. Remember the idiot who slammed on their horn this morning the moment the light turned green? Yeah, his Liver was behind the wheel. In other words, he has no control so the Liver acted out in the only way he knows how; anger and f*cking rage!
Now, fair warning, when the Liver is out of balance, he tends to be a bit of an a$$hole.
Considering that a vast amount of the population sits at a desk all day long, Liver Stagnation is incredibly common. Note, that the Liver is located right underneath the right ribcage. So, when you are sitting slouched over at your desk all day long what organ do you think is taking the biggest beating? Yes, that’s right. It’s the pesky Liver energy that is constantly getting stuck. Stuck Liver energy can manifest as anger, stressing over things that are out of control (i.e. thinking about a meeting two weeks from today), short temper, sighing, yawning, bloating, and even insomnia or waking up around 1am with the inability to fall back asleep.
The Liver energy manifests along the sides of the tongue. So if you are like me (yes it’s true) and you stress about things that are out of your control, take a look at the sides of your tongue! A Liver tongue will have reddish to bright red sides (depending on the severity), could also have puffy or even curled sides. Next time you find you are dealing with a little road rage, check your tongue before laying on that horn!
The Worried Stomach (The Center)
The Stomach relates to the Earth Element. Like Mother Earth or mothering energy, the Stomach worries like a mother-f*cker! The Stomach energy is constantly thinking, an overly pensive mind that causes its own turmoil. The Stomach’s stress is one that comes from worrying about everything and anything. If you are someone who can’t seem to turn off your worrying thoughts and over-thinking EVERYTHING then take a look at the center of your tongue!
The center of the tongue is where the Stomach energy is located. When imbalanced, you might notice that you have a crack or a dip in the center of your tongue. If you have been suffering from severe stress and worry for an extended period of time the crack might even be quite deep. As an example below, Jonah Hill is showing a center dip in his tongue.
Patients with a worrying tongue likely suffer from digestive complications due to their stress levels. These are the patients that are typically diagnosed with some form of IBS or have an anxious stomach. Stress goes right to their gut. Perhaps, they suffer with reflux, ulcers, bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea (or loose stool), insomnia due to an over-active mind that can’t slow down, or perhaps even eating disorders.
Look at Your Tongue!
When it comes to the tongue and stress, it’s important to note that the tongue can change and evolve. Just like our stress levels our tongue does not remain the same. It’s like a mirror of your organs energetic health. The tongue is also a reminder of how damaging stress can really be on our bodies. So take a look at your tongue. Where are you holding onto stress? What organs energetically need attention? What behaviors might you need to shift in order to live a healthier lifetime?