Tongue and Pulse Diagnosis

The next important question is a challenge to the knee jerk assumption that is causing Chinese medicine doctors to fail.

What is a “fat” tongue? This is an important question because nearly everyone in this demographic has one.

A truly thin tongue is rare to find even in China since meat consumption across all social classes jumped in in the past two decades. This has already been the norm in western countries now that people eat meat more than once a week. In most cases the so called thin tongue is simply presented with some flexion. In fact you can make a fat tongue look relatively thin depending on the about of flexion and tension you put into the tongue. If the patient truly relaxes the tongue, you will likely see that it is wide, thick, and has water retention.

Does a fat tongue always mean “spleen qi deficiency”?

In Chinese medicine schools a fat tongue is said to mean a spleen qi deficiency. Some people will say it’s associated with a low thyroid. This basically means that there is too little nitric oxide and atp production to keep the sodium potassium pumps working effectively. The tongue swells representatively of the muscles in the body as a whole as there is water retention.

Yes, a fat tongue means spleen qi deficiency when you are hungry or underslept. A spleen qi deficiency doesn’t last long. It lasts a few hours before the sodium potassium pumps and aquaporins fall offline. After a few days the gut changes and then this can no longer be called a “spleen qi deficiency” tongue.

This is one of the biggest mistakes in the Chinese medical world. After this time it’s actually a sign of water retention which is a sign of accumulation or fullness. The water must be moved out before you begin to nourish otherwise you will only nourish pathogenic bacteria and make the situation worse.