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"GROSS," Why Does My Acupuncturist Want To See My Tongue for Acupuncture?!

Updated: Dec 20, 2023


Acute Acupuncture 163 The Terrace, Wellington Central, Wellington.
"GROSS," Why Does My Acupuncturist Want To See My Tongue?!

Tongue and pulse are diagnostic tools that have been the cornerstone of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries. These two diagnostic tools are used by acupuncturists, herbal, and Tuina TCM Practitioners to evaluate the state of a patient's health and to identify imbalances within the body's systems that the patient may have. This Blog Post will explore the history and principles behind tongue and pulse diagnosis, as well as the clinical applications of these diagnostic tools. After reading this in full you may get a better understanding of why your acupuncturist needs to look at your tongue before your acupuncture treatment.



TCM is a holistic medical system that has been practiced in China for over 2,000 years. Acupuncture, Tuina, and TCM herbs are practiced globally. This system is based on the principles of yin and yang, the five elements, and the vital energy known as qi. There have also been different Chinese dynasties that have helped shape and formed how acupuncture and TCM evolved. but it does not stop there, Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism also played a role and influenced Acupuncture, Tuina, and TCM from a cultural viewpoint or lens. According to acupuncture and TCM theory, when these principles are balanced, the body is in health, and when they are out of balance, disease or pathologies may occur. In Western Medicine, this would be viewed as homeostasis. Acupuncture, Tuina, and herbal medicine are three of the four primary treatment modalities used in TCM. Tongue and pulse are diagnostic tools that help your practitioner identify any imbalances within the body, which is a critical step to the successful outcome of these treatments.


Tongue diagnosis is a diagnostic tool that involves examining the tongue's size, shape, color, coating, and texture. The tongue is seen as a microcosm of the body, with different parts of the tongue corresponding to specific organ systems and meridians. Acupuncture, Tuina, and Herbology TCM practitioners use tongue diagnosis to evaluate the state of the body's organs and to identify imbalances within specific organs or meridians. A healthy tongue is pink, moist, and may or may not have a thin white coating, while an unhealthy tongue may be red, dry, or have a thick coating or purple hue or teeth marks. The tongue also takes a long time to change. This also represents or gives the practitioner insight into the medical history or pathophysiologies of the patient.


Pulse diagnosis is another diagnostic tool used in Acupuncture, Tuina, and Herbology TCM. Rather than just measuring the heart rate, pulse diagnosis involves evaluating the pulse's quality and strength at various positions on the wrist at different levels when pressed. Acupuncture, Tuina, and Herbology TCM practitioners use pulse diagnosis to assess the state of the body's organs and meridians, identifying imbalances that may be contributing to illness. Practitioners must learn approximately 28 different pulse qualities to differentiate and interpret accurately. The pule is generally dynamic and constantly changing and represents the patient in these moments when the pulse is checked.


Both tongue and pulse diagnosis are essential tools in Acupuncture, Tuina, and Herbology TCM. These diagnostic methods provide your Acupuncturist, Tuina, and Herbology TCM practitioner with a wealth of information about a patient's health status, allowing them to identify the imbalances and develop targeted treatment plans with each patient. Tongue and pulse diagnosis can help practitioners evaluate the effectiveness of treatment and monitor progress over time. By evaluating the improvement of the tongue and pulse over time and looking into the historical aspects of the patient the acupuncturist or TCM practitioner can monitor the patient's progress more effectively.



Tongue and pulse diagnosis tools are essential diagnostic methods in acupuncture, Tuina, and Herbal TCM. These tools have been used for centuries to evaluate the state of the body's organ systems and meridians, identify imbalances, and develop targeted treatment plans. Tongue and pulse diagnosis are critical to the success of acupuncture, Tuina, and herbal medicine treatments and can help your TCM practitioners monitor progress over time. It is crucial to find a qualified acupuncturist. You may want to consult with an acupuncturist before starting treatments. click the button below and book a complementary 15-minute consultation at Acute Acupuncture Wellington, Let's discuss if acupuncture is right for you. Thank you for taking the time to read this Blog Post, don't forget to like, subscribe, and share this post with others. If you have any questions or concerns check out Acute-Acupuncture Wellington Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), as we find this help to answer most people's questions, or leave a comment below.


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