Thursday, April 30, 2009

May I see your tongue?

Kind of unnerving, isn't it? That particular question ~ someone asking to see your tongue. All of these thoughts sprint through your head like 'Did I remember to brush my teeth?' or 'Should I close my eyes or keep them open' or 'What does she see in there?' and the ever-popular 'Do I now say Ahhhhhhh?' Unsealing your mouth, protruding that pinkish slimy muscle forward, is like blatantly opening a window to the core of your soul. It's completely personal and usually you'll refrain from doing so. It is certainly not uncommon for parents to reprimand silly rascals from sticking their tongue out at each other or at irksome unsuspecting adults. So, what gives here?

Apparently, you can tell a lot about a person by the condition of their tongue. The one time that it's actually encouraged to stick your tongue out at somebody is in the acupuncturist's office. You see, according to ancient Chinese medicine, the tongue unveils a pattern of disharmony inside the body, revealing where your current state of ill health hails from and therefore, the acupuncturist can determine potential cures for those ailments with the appropriate care ~ perhaps using acupuncture, acupressure, herbal supplements, etc. The acupuncturist examines the tongue's shape and color ~ a normal tongue is pale red with a thin, white coating and a smooth shape whereas tongues showing disharmony may be pale, red or purple. Also, their coating may be thick, patchy, non-existent or yellow. Kind of gross, eh? Sure it can be…however, tongue diagnosis determines the method and length of individual holistic treatment. Who am I to balk at such an age-old practice?

Like clockwork, I am asked this very same question: 'May I see your tongue?' and each and every time, I feel completely awkward. Identical thoughts, as were illustrated above, race inside my head while she is copiously jotting notes about my wet mouth piece. I full well understand the procedure, but it definitely doesn't make the situation any easier. Maybe if Mom didn't always roar when my tongue blatantly exuded from its rightful toothy domain, I'd be more relaxed about it. OK. So maybe it just plain feels weird and I find myself producing exactly what I'm trying to alleviate ~ stress.

I'm not sure if the mental suffering outweighs the physical. While I squeeze my eyes tight and appear to lick the air, I begin to wonder if she really can see what troubles me. Can she perceive my tension? Comprehend my utter anxiety? Visualize my inner pain? Is it possible to distinguish dilemma caused by life circumstance simply by tongue appearance alone? Can she tell that neither of my parents called on my birthday or that I found yet another rigid gray hair sticking straight up on my youngish 32 year old head? Can she enlighten me to the reason as to why my Western medical procedures never seem to work like they're supposed to? Does she witness what I live through and how I cope on a daily basis? Will I ever conceive and carry the baby to term?

I stick out my tongue each moment she asks me and with every extension, I sincerely hope she can foresee and potentially heal my internal wounds…and I'm not talking about the 3rd degree burn on the roof of my mouth from over zealously ingesting a steaming cup of cream of broccoli soup too soon. Ow! I open my mouth and bulge my illness gauging device far and wide. Please unearth what's wrong. Please help. Please be right.



  1. I do acu, too, and am always slightly embarrassed to shove my tongue out to the world. lol

  2. Ack! I thought I was the only one who felt awkward doing this! lol