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Part of the diagnostic techniques of acupuncture is the assessment of the tongue.  This involves only a quick inspection, but encompasses details of the coating, colour, texture and symmetry of the body of the tongue.  Similarly to iridology, this provides a window to the inner workings of the body.

This practice has been used for thousands of years within the Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic systems, but was also routinely conducted by doctors in the UK, using western terminology, until recent generations.

In 1987, a paper was published in the Chinese language ‘Journal of Oncology’, examining the tongues of more than 12,000 patients.  They found ‘significant changes’ in colour, coating and texture in the tongues of cancerous patients compared to those without cancer.

In 2009, research was published, using thousands of digital images, to highlight the effectiveness of tongue diagnosis to detect a wide range of pathological conditions.  Click here for further details.

Ongoing research at the Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre is examining computerised images of tongues to quantify early indication of colon cancer.

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