What Your Tongue Is Telling You About Your Circulation In TCM

For the sake of this article, we’ll stick to a pale, ashen tongue. (Again, find the whole tongue map and what it means for health over here.) According to Bourassa, a pale tongue goes hand in hand with blood flow. “If your perfect tongue is bright pink, no coat, moist, and a little glistening, a blood deficient tongue will be a bit more pale.” 

Sometimes it can even take on a gray-ish hue, says Bourassa. “Just like you would think about somebody not having enough blood—they [may] go pale in the face. It’s the same thing with the tongue.” We should note that this is different from a purplish or dark-colored tongue—in TCM, this could indicate circulation disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, according to research.

Of course, we can’t say with utter conviction that if you have a pale tongue, you have poor blood flow. But if you’re noticing some other sluggish symptoms (think low energy, cold hands, or digestive issues), a good, long look at your tongue can perhaps clue you in. The next step would be to consult a professional to help deal with these issues, whatever that may be. Remember: Tongue reading is a sign, not a solution—it’s the first step toward identifying imbalances in your body, but then it’s up to you to do the work. To follow the TCM route, see here for acupuncture, exercise, and food therapies to move stagnant energy and get your blood flowing. 

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