Could This Be Your Tongue? TCM Tongue Diagnosis

Tongue diagnosis is one of many tools acupuncturists use to access the health of patients. Many people have a combination of patterns occurring at the same time, making diagnosis more complicated. First we will look at the tongue body then the tongue coating.

tongue-normalNormal Tongue
A normal tongue is pink, not too big and not too small, with a very thin white coating.

Tongue Body

tongue-juttingJutting Tongue
This tongue to “v” shaped and juts out forcefully. The tension in the tongue is indicative of the tension held in the body. It is a sign of Liver excess (Liver Qi Stagnation or Fire). Possible symptoms include muscle tension, stress, irritability, depression, and PMS. If the tongue veers to one side this indicates Liver Wind and potentially stroke or convulsions.

tongue-puffyPuffy Tongue
Also known as a enlarged or fat tongue. This indicates Phlegm and is a sign of congestion of body fluids. Phlegm is implicated in many modern diseases including sinus or lung congestion, excess weight, irrational thinking, obsessive thoughts, fatigue, foggy thinking, chronic joint pain, high cholesterol, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and channel blockages.

tongue-smallSmall Tongue
A tongue that is smaller than normal indicates a deficiency of substance in the body, namely Blood Deficiency or Yin Deficiency. Common symptoms include anxiety, restlessness, tinnitis, insomnia, night sweats, and female hormone deficiency.

tongue-scallopedScalloped Tongue
Teeth marks on the sides of the tongue indicates Spleen Qi Deficiency. This can present as weak digestion, food allergies, fatigue, poor muscle tone, a tendency to bruise, low immunity, and organ prolapse.

Accessing Tongue Body Color
tongue-redRed indicates Heat.

 

 

tongue-palePallor indicates Cold or Deficiency (Qi, Blood, and/or Yang).

 

 

tongue-purplePurple or bluish indicates Blood Stagnation.

 

 

tongue-redtipRed Tip The very tip of the tongue corresponds to the Heart. A red tip indicates Heart Heat, or emotional unrest. This can manifest as stress, anxiety, or insomnia. If the tip has a cleft it indicates longstanding or constitutional tendency towards emotional issues.

Tongue Coating

tongue-white-coatThick White Coat
A thick tongue coating indicates Dampness. This is a pathological accumulation of fluids associated with digestive impairment. Common signs include weight gain, abdominal bloating, cloudy urination, mucous in the stools, edema, excessive vaginal discharge, poor digestion, and loose stools.

Thin Yellow Coat
The coating is thin, but distinctly yellow. This indicates Heat, either internal or Wind Heat (pathogenic invasion).

Thick Yetongue-yellow-coatllow Coat
The tongue appears heavily coated and yellow. This indicates Damp Heat, the combination of Dampness and Heat (fluid accumulation mixed with inflammation). Commons symptoms include excess weight, feeling hot, anger, Liver/Gallbladder issues, and red weepy skin conditions.

tongue-mirroredScanty or Mirrored Coat
The tongue looks shiny, like liver. This indicates Yin Deficiency and the patient may present with insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, thirst, low back pain, tinnitis, hot flashes, and night sweats.

Common Combination Patterns:

tongue-various bigger-words

Cinnabar Talk – Spring Detox

ImageLiving by the Seasons is key to health and longevity. When move with cycles, we increase our energy, when work against them we lose energy.
Summer – Full Expansion – Heart, Increase Connections and Creativity
Fall – Introspection – Protect Lungs, Build Immunity
Winter – Hibernation – Building Reserves Tonify Kidneys
Spring – Detoxification – Cleanse Liver & Gallbladder, change unwanted patterns

Spring is Best time to:
⦁    Drop excess weight (Dampness), lean down after hibernation
⦁    Cleanse Liver and Gallbladder, even if have no symptoms
⦁    Start a new project or goal
⦁    Let go of what no longer serves you
⦁    Increase movement

Spring Diet
⦁    Higher percentage of raw foods (especially in warmer climates), sprouts, young greens, and a more vegetable-based diet.
⦁    Dandelion, watercress, arugula, mung beans, seaweeds
⦁    Lightest meals and simplest cooking of the year.
⦁    Quickly sauté or steam vegetables so that they are partially raw. Focus on sweet and pungent flavors while limiting salty and heavy foods.

Herbs for Spring
Wu Wei Zi (schizandra berry)
⦁    Safe long-term liver detoxifier and protector.
⦁    Beauty benefits. Plumps up and hydrates the skin.
⦁    Increases sexual fluids and sensitivity.
Milk Thistle
⦁    Safe long-tern liver detoxifier

Liver Cleansing Broth
1 head of cabbage
2 celery sticks
2 carrots
1 onion
2 russet potatoes
Chop and put in a big pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 min.
Add 1 bunch parsley and 1 clove garlic and simmer an additional 5 min. Strain and serve.

Recommended Treatments and Packages
(discounted prices with Heather’s Program)
Detox  
⦁    Endermologie ($75), Slimming Package ($99)
⦁    Schizandra (Wu Wei Zi), Shu Gan Wan (Liver detox), Qing Dan Hua Shi Pian (stones), Jiang Dan Gu Chun Pian (cholesterol)
Weightloss
⦁    Slimming Package ($99), Ear Magnets ($15)
⦁     Weightloss Pills
Allay soreness, protect against injuries
⦁    Acupuncture ($70), 60 min massage ($70)
⦁    Yunnan Paiyao
Increase Stamina, build muscle and strength
⦁    Acupuncture ($70)
⦁    Deer Antler Drops, Ant Drops

Treating Immunizations with TCM; Before You Vaccinate Your Dog

My dog Rita recently got a rabies shot which brought up the subject of how to treat immunizations in TCM.
Immunizations cause latent heat toxins. Latent Heat Toxins are a factor in many modern diseases such as cancer and autoimmune diseases and should be taken seriously.

My dog Virginia died of injection site sarcoma (cancer that develops at the site of immunization injections which is why vets now vary the location of injections) and I now avoid immunizing my pets as much as possible.

I follow these guidelines:
1.    I immunize my pets the bare minimum possible.
2.    They only receive one immunization at a time, spaced out by at least 1 week.
3.    I treat them with Heat Toxin clearing herbs to avoid latent Heat toxins.

Animals are harder to treat as they don’t offer feedback and their signs are less obvious than humans. In children the appearance of Heat Toxins and damage to Yin by vaccinations is easier to see, as the body of their tongue will get redder than normal.

There are several formulas for the treatment of Heat toxin. They should be taken right after immunizations. This is a chinese herbal formula specifically for the rabies virus, which is the injection Rita had. I used powdered herbs and made a decoction and used a syringe to administer it orally every 4 hours until symptoms subsided:

di gu pi, jiang can, tao ren, lian qiao, huang lian, qiang huo, chi shao, fu ling, tu bie chong

Note: I am not a veterinarian and thus this information is given for entertainment purpose only.

Have You Had Your Pumpkin Today?

Pumpkins are more than pretty reminders of the holiday season. They are a potent medicine. Pumpkins have a cool temperature, are sweet and slightly bitter, and resolve dampness in the body. They are used in Chinese Food therapy to:

  • balance blood sugar
  • tonify the Spleen/Pancreas
  • discharge mucous from the lungs, bronchi, and throat
  • alleviate bronchial asthma
  • alleviate eczema and edema
  • pumpkin seeds reduce prostate inflammation and clear roundworms from the intestines

When using food as a therapy you need to eat it at least once a day. If you have one of the above conditions, have pumpkin daily for as long as they are season. Food therapy is surprisingly powerful to make and keep us healthy. It is also cheap and has no side effects.

How To Heal Yourself From a Cold

Besides paying a visit to your acupuncturist there a few things you can do to speed along a cold.

  • Gan Mao Ling is a patent Chinese Herbal formula. It isn’t strong enough for a full blown cold or flu, but works wonderfully if you take it every 3 hours when you first start coming down with something.
  • Eat chicken soup with ginger, lemongrass, scallions.
  • If there is a lot of heat (fever, sore throat) mint is very helpful.
  • Bundle up and sweat it out.
  • Gets plenty of sleep.
  • If you have someone to do gua sha this move the cold fast. To do gua sha: get a spoon, coin, or popsicle stick. Put oil on upper back and neck. Have the person quickly and roughly scrape back and forth on your skin until it gets bright red. This will leave marks but offers almost immediate relief.

Treating Acne Naturally

Treating acne naturally involves internally addressing the underlying imbalance and externally controlling the symptoms while improving the quality of the skin. This blog is a little about how we address acne at our clinic. Each person’s skin is different and tends to change over time. We recommend coming in for a consultation in order to assess the best regiment.

Clinic Treatments

Acupuncture – Acupuncture treatments address the root cause of acne whether it be stress, hormonal imbalance, etc. Acupuncture on the local area can also speed the healing of acne lesions. View video.

Microdermabrasion –  Microderm is mechanical exfoliation using crystals or a diamond tip. Our machine runs on sodium bicarbonate crystals (baking soda), making it less irritating and completely non-toxic. Microderm feels scratchy on the skin. Many acne cases can be controlled with a series performed every two weeks. View video.

Peels – Peels provide chemical exfoliation of the skin and can include different types of acids. For acne typically a salicylic acid peel works best, like our Purity peel, particularly if the skin is oily.

Face Endermologie – Facial endermologie offers mechanized lymphatic drainage, stimulation to lift sagging skin, and increases microcirculation. This is an ideal treatment for sensitive skin, anti-aging benefits, and puffiness. View video.

Facials/Extractions – Regular facials including steam, enzyme exfoliation, extractions, and high frequency continue to be a key component for a clear skin regiment.

LED Light Therapy – Especially helpful for redness as is the case with inflamed acne or acne complicated by rosacea.

Ultrasound – Ultrasound using a skin scrubber uses vibration to facilitate extractions and relieve congestion in the face.

Homecare

There is some variability based on age, oiliness, and sensitivity as to specific regiments. As a general rule:

  • Use a retinoid (Vit A) 1-3 times a week. The more congested and oily, the more frequently you can use retinoids. In our clinic we have two retinoids we recommend for home use. The first is Clarity, which contains retinyl acetate. The second is A-Boost, which contains retinol and retinyl palmitate, is more appropriate for sensitive skin or for an anti-aging regiment with no breakouts. Retinoids help the formation of healthy skin cells. It also acts as an exfoliant. Retinoids are useful not only for acne, but also for hyperpigmentation (dark spots), wrinkles, and sagging skin.
  • Use a gentle cleanser. We recommend either the Sensitive Cleanser (more irritated skin), Acne Cleanser (contains sulfur), or Face & Body Bar (anti-bacterial & anti-fungal). Avoid SLS and any cleansers that irritate and dry out the skin. This will only unbalance the skin in the long run and lead to more acne. Remember, it’s not about annihilating the acne and your skin with it. Acne is a sign of imbalance and when you rebalance the skin the acne will clear up.
  • Calm irritation. We have a few products we recommend for this. There are two toners we use Colloidal Silver Mist with Lavender and Calming Mist for use after cleansing and prior to serums and moisturizers. Ointment Rx is an excellent product when there is obvious inflammation, rosacea, or you are recovering from harsh topicals such as Benzoyl Peroxide.
  • Moisturizer. It can be very difficult to find a moisturizer that hydrates without blocking pores and irritating the skin, both of which lead to increased acne. The best all around moisturizer is Healing & Restoring Cream. It was originally developed by the founder of Hylunia for his baby daughter who had exzema. It is excellent as a night cream or under sunscreen. We have found it to shrink the pores, reduce redness and irritation, and reduce lines. Other excellent options are Moisturizing Drops (oil-based) and Recovery Plus Intensive (lotion). Both of these are great for drier skin types.
  • Sunscreen. Use only physical sunblocks and avoid chemical sunblocks. Chemical sunblocks chemically interact with your skin. They often cause irritation and aggravate acne. Chemical sunblocks should not be left in the sun as they will loose their effectiveness. These are listed as long, unpronounceable names in the active ingredients list. Physical sunblocks refer to Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. These sit on the surface of the skin and block both UVA and UVB rays. They actually calm irritation. The most popular sunblock at our clinic is Reflect, a Titanium Dioxide-based sunblock in spray-on form. It’s not greasy nor does it leave you looking chalky.  Other options are Hydrate + (includes moisturizer), Serious Protection (heavier cream), 302 tinted and untinted (leaves mineral powder finish). Mineral makeup is another option. See below.
  • Enzymes. Natural enzymes help to unglue dead cells and gently exfoliate them away. We use Papaya Enzyme Mask. It is safe even for sensitive skin. You can apply and leave on in the shower 3 x a week or leave on overnight leaving the skin beautiful in the morning. Another option is the Acne Mist for those who don’t like using masks. Apply up to 3 x a week after cleansing and leave on.
  • Makeup. Pure mineral makeup is the best option. Unfortunately it will not give you that great coverage of  thick, liquid, chemical-laden, pore-clogging makeup. The wrong makeup can undermine all your efforts to clear your skin. As hard as it is, the best tactic is to find the mineral makeup that works best for you and just accept that you won’t be able to cover your skin as well. Don’t worry. It will be clear soon and you won’t even have to wear makeup. 302 has a super clean mineral powder that comes in 2 shades but it doesn’t camouflage that much for troubled skin. Read our blog on selecting a mineral makeup.

Diet & Herbs

Herbal formulas are specific to the patient as there are different imbalances that cause acne. We recommend seeing an acupuncturist and/or herbalist for a recommendation. There are, however, general dietary recommendations.

  • Drink plenty of water. Half your bodyweight (in lbs) in ounces of water per day is a good guideline. So if you weigh 140 lbs, drink about 70 ounces of water.
  • Keep your blood sugar stable. Avoid simple carbs like: white bread, cookies, sweeteners, and fruit juice. Also avoid greasy or processed foods. Eat whole grains. Get plenty of fiber and good fats in your diet.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables. Ideally close to half your meals should be vegetables. Bitter vegetables such as arugula and watercress are particularly helpful.

Lifestyle

Do something to alleviate stress on a regular basis. People who internalize and stuff their emotions have a much higher likelihood to develop skin problems. Also make sure to wash your pillowcase, towels, and anything that touches your face regularly.

Cinnabar Peel Week, September12-17, 2011

Our Peel Week is a an opportunity to experience our more effective treatments at a great price. Below are listed some recommendations by skin type, followed by the price list. We are also featuring free indepth skin analysis.

Acne: Microdermabrasion followed by Purity Peel

Hyperpigmentation: Microdermabrasion followed by Benefit Peel

Sagging Skin: Benefit Peel followed by Lumi-Lift

Wrinkles, Photodamaged Skin: Face Endermologie followed by Benefit Peel

Purity Peel    $50
Decongests and detoxes the skin. Ideal for acneic, rough, hyperpigmented, or congested skin.  Salicylic, TCA, Retinol peel. (You will leave orange.) View Video

Benefit Peel    $50
Anti-aging and brightening. Ideal for wrinkles, sagging skin, and hyperpigmentation. Vit C, Lactic Acid, Retinol peel. (You will leave with a glow.)

Blueberry Smoothie Peel Scrub     $30
Removes rough, dead skin. Ideal for congestion and rough skin. Safe for pregnant women. Anti-oxidant, Lactic Acid peel.  View Video

Pomegranate Peel   $30
Increases natural moisture factor and brightens. Ideal for dry, sun damaged skin. Safe for pregnant women. Anti-oxidant, Lactic Acid peel. View Video

Microderm Boost   +$30
Extra exfoliation for acneic, rough, or hyperpigmented skin.
View Video

Lumi-Lift Boost     +$30
Microcurrent LED treatment lifts and tones sagging skin.
View Video

Face Endermologie Boost     +$30
Lifts and tones. Decongests sensitive skin.
View Video