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Traditional Chinese Medicine Pulse and Tongue Diagnosis

By Kelly Ferguson, L.Ac.

Looking at someone’s tongue is a helpful tool for Acupuncturists. The tongue allows us to see what is going on in a person’s body. When we are looking at your tongue we are checking the color, texture, coating, shape and markings on the tongue. By seeing what the tongue looks like we can see if we need to build qi or energy, help the flow of qi throughout the body, clear phlegm or heat, or build fluid in the body.

In addition, there are different locations on the tongue that correlate to the meridians. While we are looking at the color, texture, shape, marks and coating of the tongue; we are also looking at how they look on the different areas of the tongue to determine which meridians to use during treatment. The tongue does take time to change, so after you’ve been getting treatments for about a month take a look at your tongue and see the difference.


Pulse Diagnosis

 During your acupuncture treatments, your practitioner will take your pulses on both wrists. We are looking for six pulse positions on each wrist. These pulses connect to the meridians or pathways that move qi or energy throughout your body. These pulses help us to diagnosis which meridians might need to be flushed out or strengthened.

The analogy that comes to mind is with Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In the story the porridge can’t be too hot or too cold, it had to be just right. This is what we are looking for with pulses. The pulse can’t be too high or too low in strength. We want the pulse to find a happy median.

Kelly sees patients on Tuesdays & Thursdays 12p -8pm, Saturdays 10am-3pm in Timonium, and Wednesdays 12:30pm-7:30pm in White Marsh. Read more about Kelly at

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