Why does Dr. Kong look at my tongue and take my pulse?

Looking at the tongue gives a general idea as to which organ is most affected and the prognosis for resolving it. The tongue is the only muscle in the human body we can see that isn’t covered with skin. When Dr. Kong looks at the tongue he is looking at its length, size (swollen or not), shape (cracked or not), color, and any details about the coat on top of it. Each one of these things tells him something different and relates to something within Chinese medical theory.

Looking at the tongue gives a general idea as to which organ is most affected and the prognosis for resolving it. The tongue is the only muscle in the human body we can see that isn’t covered with skin. When Dr. Kong looks at the tongue he is looking at its length, size (swollen or not), shape (cracked or not), color, and any details about the coat on top of it. Each one of these things tells him something different and relates to something within Chinese medical theory. From a Western perspective, the tongue reveals the quality of blood circulating in the body, how their lymphatic system functions, the presence of yeast or other growths in the body, how a person is digesting, and any longstanding or constitutional conditions. In Western medicine, the pulse is only a minor diagnostic tool, used mainly to determine heart rate and blood pressure, however it is very important in Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM doctors feel the patient’s pulse and notice not only the rate, but many other qualities. The pulse is diagnosed by it’s length, width or amplitude, how deep and close to the bone, how close it is to the surface, the strength, and other qualities. Pulse diagnosis gives information on the state of balance of the body as a whole, the state of qi, yin and yang, blood, and even the person’s overall constitution, and the state of individual organs.