If you have never had acupuncture or herbal treatments, the
intern or clinician always asks to see your tongue. I still have
regular patients that I see in the main clinic in Lombard who think
the practice of sticking out their tongue for five seconds is very
silly and awkward, but it is a necessary diagnostic tool in Chinese
In fact, the tongue is one of the most important diagnostic
areas in ancient medical traditions. Your tongue, containing water,
electrolytes, mucus, and enzymes, is a very sensitive organ and its
appearance changes with many physical changes in the body. In TCM,
the tongue represents the organs in in our body, for example the
tip of your tongue represents the Heart and Lung, the sides of the
Liver and Gallbladder.
Have you are ever curious about what your tongue looks like?
Wonder if you're coming down with a cold? Stick out your tongue and
say "Ah!" Or at least give it a glance. Get in front of the mirror
and look at your tongue right now. What does your tongue look like?
Here is what you want to see: A normal tongue should be pink,
muscular without tooth marking or discoloration, and have a very
thin clear coating.
When I exam patients' tongues I am looking at the color of the
tongue, texture, and if there is a coating on the tongue (usually
white, yellow, black, or clear) or no coating. I look at the tip,
both sides of the tongue and back of the tongue. In addition, I ask
patients to show me the underneath of their tongue where sublingual
veins are located.
I always advise patients not to brush their tongue if they think
they are coming into the clinic. The reason for this is because I
need to see the tongue's true physical state. If you brush your
tongue, it is physically altered, and this will affect the accuracy
of the tongue diagnosis.
Your tongue is one of the easiest ways to check your health
Thank you for you continued support of the AOM Blog! Have a
wonderful week and stay dry!
It is officially spring! Spring is the time of birth, where yang
energy is full and abundant. For many people, however, spring and
summer are seasons for allergies.
Allergies, or allergic rhinitis, are due to an over-reactivity
of the immune system to certain allergens. During spring and
summer, allergies are generally induced by wind-born tree, grass or
weed pollen, and can cause such symptoms as: sneezing; nasal
congestion; runny nose; watery, itchy, or red eyes; headaches;
fatigue; and sometimes coughing and wheezing. When allergens and
antibodies react in individuals with allergic rhinitis, their nasal
mucosa becomes swollen and may obstruct drainage from the sinuses
causing sinusitis in many people. Thus, sinus infections are a
frequent complication and consequence of allergic rhinitis.
While spring and summer are the seasons of the year that bring
us outdoors, many people are unable to enjoy these warmer months
due to uncomfortable symptoms. Chinese medicine can help bring
relief of symptoms, correct imbalances of the immune system,
prevent the occurrence of infection, and allow healing of tissues
of the sinuses.
From a Chinese point of view, allergic rhinitis is due to a
deficiency of the Lung and Kidney's Defensive-Qi systems, combined
with retention of chronic "Wind" in the nose.
Allergic rhinitis often starts in early childhood, with a
constitutional weakness, but it may also start later in life, with
a progressive decline of Kidney-Qi. Lung and Kidney Qi Deficiency
is the root of the problem, therefore, with herbal medicine and
acupuncture, we strengthen and nourish these organs. The
manifestation of the disease is Wind invading the Lung channel in
the nose. This accounts for the acute attacks. With herbs and
acupuncture, we clear the Wind, reduce congestion, and open the
nasal passages. It is necessary to treat both the root and the
manifestation in order to produce lasting results.
The western treatment of allergic rhinitis relies mostly on the
use of antihistamine agents. Unfortunately, antihistamines only
treat the manifestations of the disease and not the root. In
addition, they cause side effects such as dizziness, fatigue,
insomnia, nervousness, dryness, and gastrointestinal
Chinese medicine offers allergy sufferers a way to strengthen
their bodies and significantly reduce their symptoms, without
unpleasant side effects. You do not have to spend another season
living with allergies.
Here are acupuncture points from my class notes and CAM book. I
have clinically used these points in the clinic and I feel they are
very effective in treating allergies, postnasal drips and
Wind-Cold Affecting the Lung
Wind-Heat Affecting the LU
Signs & Symptoms
Word to the wise: The treatment protocols mentioned above are to
be used after a complete tongue and pulse examination. The
effectiveness of these treatments may vary based on the
differential diagnosis, while other points should be added or not
used based on your patient history and complete
Thank you for your continued support of the AOM blog. Have a
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