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3039 Davis Road
Fairbanks, AK, 99709
United States of America

(907) 452-3600

Located in Fairbanks, the Alaska Center for Natural Medicine provides a balanced approach to healthcare, including naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, chiropractic care, counseling, massage and spa services, and more.

ACNM Blog

The Alaska Center for Natural Medicine Blog features health-related articles by our staff practitioners, including naturopathic doctors, acupuncturists, chiropractic doctors, nurse practitioners, counselors, and massage therapists. 

Please, Stick Your Tongue Out

Michael Zuniga

     “Moooom, she stuck her tongue out at me!”

     How many times did you hear or even say that growing up? Have you wanted to do that to someone in your adult life? Well, if you ever feel the need, just visit your local acupuncturist!

     That is right, go ahead and stick your tongue out at us. In fact, we will even ask you to do so during your appointment. Why in the world would we need to see your tongue? Actually, there are many things we look for while we encourage the small, but mighty muscle to hang out for a few seconds.

     We observe the coating of your tongue. Is it white, yellow, grey, thin, thick, wet, dry, or non-existent? Then we look at the overall shape and size. Is it thin, swollen, puffy, broad, skinny, or deviated to one side or the other?

Your tongue will look different during different phases of your health and we use those clues to know where to place our acupuncture needles and what herbs may be appropriate for .

     The color of your tongue is important too. Having a purple tongue means something different than having a scarlet tongue (and there are many variations in between). Examining for cracks, toothmarks, and other formations provides acupuncturists information about the overall status of your health.

     Our acupuncture super power is being able to tell if you are afflicted with conditions such as insomnia, hot flashes, digestive issues, cold/upper respiratory infections, and even pain – just by looking at your tongue.

     In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we use our observation of your tongue to help form a diagnosis and treatment plan. Your tongue will look different during different phases of your health and we use those clues to know where to place our acupuncture needles and what herbs may be appropriate for .

     Interesting, right? Who knew we could learn so much out about your health within a few seconds? So the next time you get the notion to display your tongue, just beware that someone might be analyzing your health!


Selena Wooley is a licensed acupuncturist at the Alaska Center for Natural Medicine. She specializes in scar therapy, prenatal/postpartum women, and chronic pain. To learn more about Selena, check out her bio here. To schedule an appointment, call our front desk at 907.452.3600!