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Novice Karate Group (ages 8 & up)

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Charles Johnson
Charles Johnson

Tongue Diagnosis In Chinese Medicine


An essential tool in Chinese medicine, the Tongue nearly always shows the true condition of the patient. It is particularly useful in complex, chronic conditions manifesting with contradicting symptoms and signs. Its strength relies in the fact that it is nearly always reliable and objective. Compared to pulse diagnosis, it is also much easier to learn! This course consists of a 170-slide presentation with video narration, text, diagrams and over 200 photos, together with an audio live lecture on Tongue Diagnosis by Giovanni.




Tongue Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine



Breast cancer (BC) ranks second in the cancer fatality rate among females worldwide. Mammogram, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), blood testing, and fine needle aspiration biopsy are usually applied to discriminate BC patients from normal persons. False-negative results, undetectable calcifications, movement-incurred blurry image, infection, and sampling error are commonly associated with these traditional means of diagnosis. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) covers a broad range of medical practices sharing common theoretical concepts. Tongue diagnosis plays an important role in TCM. Organ conditions, properties, and variation of pathogens can be revealed through observation of tongue. In light of this observation, this paper investigates discriminating tongue features to distinguish between BC patients and normal people, and establishes differentiating index to facilitate the non-invasive detection of BC. The tongue features for 60 BC patients and 70 normal persons were extracted by the Automatic Tongue Diagnosis System (ATDS). The Mann-Whitney test showed that the amount of tongue fur (P = 0.007), tongue fur in the spleen-stomach area, maximum covering area of tongue fur, thin tongue fur, the number of tooth marks, the number of red dots, red dot in the spleen-stomach area, red dot in the liver-gall-left area, red dot in the liver-gall-right area, and red dot in the heart-lung area demonstrated significant differences (P


From a Western medicine perspective, nutritional deficiencies may make the tongue sore and beefy-red in color.17 A smooth, glossy tongue with a red or pink background or atrophic glossitis is often linked to an underlying chronic vitamin deficiency of iron, folic acid, vitamin B12, riboflavin, or niacin but may also include the concomitant conditions of diabetes, xerostomia, and/or candidiasis.18


Tongue diagnosis is an important practice in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for diagnosing diseases before determining proper means of treatments. Traditionally, it depends solely on personal knowledge and experience of the practitioner, thereby being criticized as lacking of objectivity. Currently, no research regarding intra- and inter-agreements of automatic tongue diagnosis system (ATDS) and TCM doctors has been conducted. In this study, the ATDS is developed to extract a variety of tongue features and provide practitioners with objective information to assist diagnoses. To evaluate the ATDS clinical stability, 2 sets of tongue images taken 1 hour apart from 20 patients with possible variations in lighting and extruding tongue, are employed to investigate intra-agreement of the ATDS, intra-agreement of the TCM doctors, and the inter-agreement between the ATDS and TCM doctors. The ATDS is shown to be more consistent with significantly higher intra-agreement than the TCM doctors (kappa value: 0.93 0.06 versus 0.64 0.13) with P


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic autoimmune disease with unknown aetiology that causes the immune system to attack the joints (synoviums), leading to chronic inflammation. According to the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), RA falls into the category of Impediment disease ("Bi" syndrome), that is, poor circulation of qi and blood (stasis). Tongue diagnosis is an important method of TCM to detect blood stasis. In this study, 74 RA patients, meeting the pre-set criteria, were recruited via rheumatology outpatient clinic and examined by experienced rheumatology physicians. Two images-one of the tongue and the other, sublingual vessels-of the same patient were taken by a Canon digital camera in a darkroom with uniform lighting conditions. Relevant features of the tongue were extracted by utilising image processing techniques. Every tongue was classified into corresponding patterns based on the features identified. The subjects included 62 females and 12 males with an average age of 49.86 13.81 years old, an average morbidity period of 4.56 3.92 years, an average rheumatoid factor (RF) of 225.3 373.8 IU/mL and an average erythrocyte sedimentation rate of (ESR) 40.9 31.9 m/hr. According to our study, 86% of the patients with RA have tongues with sublingual vessels with a width of more than 2.7 mm, a length of more than 3/5 from tongue tipto sublingual caruncle, or a count of sublingual vessels more than 2. Moreover, since RA index is highly correlated with blood stasis in TCM, a logistic regression is conducted to predict the probability of presence of RA using RF and ESR as explanatory variables. Also, the logistic regression analysis of RA with respect to the conventional tongue diagnosis criteria was performed. Based on the aforementioned studies, we concluded that tongue diagnosis is helpful in detecting blood stasis of RA.


The Tongue (Chinese Medicine): The tongue is a critical accessory organ of the human body. It helps with tasting, chewing, and swallowing food and drink. It is also an aid to speech. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the tongue reflects the health condition of the entire body. Examining the tongue is an essential component of Chinese medicine practice.


In Traditional Chinese Medicine, licensed practitioners often examine the tongue to confirm the diagnosis due to its many relationships and connections in the body, both to the meridians and the internal organs. For example, a pale tongue could be a sign of blood deficiency. No tongue coating or thick tongue coating are signs of digestive system issues.


The process of tongue diagnosis is relatively quick. All you need to do is to stick your tongue out for a few seconds. The practitioner will take a good look from the tip to the back and from top to underneath.


If you hold your tongue out for too long, the color of your tongue will change. Therefore, during your visit with the licensed practitioner, they will often ask you to close your mouth for a few seconds and bring your tongue out again for the most accurate diagnosis.


At the Virginia University of Integrative Medicine, students learn tongue diagnosis in Oriental Medicine Diagnosis I and II classes after learning Basic Theory of Oriental Medicine I and II. During the clinical internship, student interns will perform tongue diagnosis as an essential component of Chinese medicine diagnosis, which consists of observations, auscultation, olfaction, inquiring, and palpation including tongue and pulse. Based on the diagnosis, student interns will develop a treatment plan, which will be reviewed and approved by a licensed clinical supervisor. Student interns will then perform the approved treatment plan.


Using the knowledge about the tongue diagnosis, you can monitor your own health by taking a look at your tongue regularly in the mirror and tracking health changes. If you notice a deep crack line, red tongue tip, or other abnormal signs compared to the normal tongue, you might want to consult a licensed practitioner for the most accurate diagnosis and advice.


Tongue diagnosis is a unique method in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). This is the first investigation on the association between traditional tongue diagnosis and the tongue coating microbiome using next-generation sequencing. The study included 19 gastritis patients with a typical white-greasy or yellow-dense tongue coating corresponding to TCM Cold or Hot Syndrome respectively, as well as eight healthy volunteers. An Illumina paired-end, double-barcode 16S rRNA sequencing protocol was designed to profile the tongue-coating microbiome, from which approximately 3.7 million V6 tags for each sample were obtained. We identified 123 and 258 species-level OTUs that were enriched in patients with Cold/Hot Syndromes, respectively, representing "Cold Microbiota" and "Hot Microbiota". We further constructed the tongue microbiota-imbalanced networks associated with Cold/Hot Syndromes. The results reveal an important connection between the tongue-coating microbiome and traditional tongue diagnosis and illustrate the potential of the tongue-coating microbiome as a novel holistic biomarker for characterizing patient subtypes.


The characterization and differentiation of Cold and Hot Syndromes has played an important role in the clinical practice of TCM for gastrointestinal diseases and the appearance of the tongue coating has long been a major parameter in discriminating the Cold and Hot Syndromes. We speculated that the microbiome composition is a key factor that affects the appearance of the tongue coating and reasoned that the microbiome composition on the tongue coating could be associated with characteristics of stomach diseases. If this is true, then the underlying association of the Cold and Hot Syndromes defined by tongue coating features may be rooted in the association of microbiome features with the health status of the human body. Therefore, we investigated the possible relationship between the tongue microbial community and the health status of the patient as described in TCM practice to begin to bridge the gap between traditional tongue diagnosis and molecular systems biology. 041b061a72


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