Today’s self-care exercise will require:
- 1 stainless steel tongue scraper ($5-10 at Whole Foods or on Amazon)
will benefit you:
Last week I introduced you to the importance of our oral health when I discussed oil pulling. This week I want to discuss
tongue scraping, which is another Ayurvedic practice that supports our dental hygiene. For this cleansing exercise, we utilize a stainless steel tongue scraper, which can be purchased at nearly any health food store. By gently pulling the scraper over the tongue (starting at the back of the tongue and scraping toward the tip of the tongue), we are able to remove bacteria, food debris, fungi, and dead cells from our tongue’s surface.
As you can easily imagine, this self-care tip is very beneficial to our dental health, but tongue scraping actually goes far beyond simply freshening our breath. Many of you (especially if you’re one of my clients) are probably familiar with the concept of reflexology; that is to say that there are points on the hands and feet that correlate to various organs and systems of the body. By activating these points on our limbs, we can have a positive effect on the associated internal structures.
Similar to reflexology, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses
the tongue as a chart that reflects the health of all the internal organs. As you’ll see in the tongue chart to the right, there are areas of the tongue that correlate to the heart, lungs, liver, gallbladder, spleen, stomach, kidneys, bladder, and intestines. By stimulating these various parts of the tongue, we can indeed promote health and vitality in the related organs and meridians. (Remember last week
when Dr. Moldovan said that “everything is connected”? That’s what Eastern medicine has been saying for thousands of years.)
You might be surprised during your first tongue scraping session to discover a coating/film (aka “gunk”) that comes off of your tongue. The color of this coating may be clear, white, yellow, brown, or even green. In Chinese medicine, we observe the location and color of these films to help us make an accurate assessment of what’s going on internally. Regularly removing these films from your tongue by the practice of tongue scraping is one of the easiest forms of detoxification that exists.
We regularly wash our hands and face, brush our teeth and hair, and clean our ears and nails. After being equipped with this new knowledge, I hope you’ll add tongue scraping to your hygiene practices.
Article: Zachary H. Avery
Photo: Ale Hidalgo