Often at the beginning of a new year we set health goals. As we start to make those changes to enhance our current state of health, the list can be overwhelming of all the things to be addressed. For me it is always easier to add small, reasonable changes into my current lifestyle that I can easily adopt and can have a long term impact on my health.
The first of those I would like to talk about is the benefits of using a tongue scraper. For many this is a foreign thought. In fact many people don’t even know what it is! Let’s start with some of the main benefits of using one daily:
- Removes waste products or toxins that have built up on the tongue from the continuous digestion process that occurs throughout the night
- Decreases halitosis or bad breath
- Increases the sense of taste thus enhancing the flavors in food and potentially reducing cravings such as sugar
- Enhances digestion and boosts the immune system
- Provides insight as to your state of health
Using a tongue scraper takes less than a minute. It is best to use it first thing in the morning after you have gotten out of bed before eating or drinking anything. Gently scrape the entire surface of the tongue 7 to 14 times, cleaning the scraper with fresh water in between each stroke. Rinse your mouth with water after you are finished and that’s it, you are done and ready to start your day!
There are many types of scrapers on the market. I think the ideal are ones made of stainless steel rather than plastic. They should be large enough to cover your entire tongue with each stroke, such as this one:
The other benefit to this daily ritual is becoming more aware of your current state of health. As mentioned our tongue is an indicator of what is happening inside our body, especially related to digestion. Here are just a few examples:
- A tongue that has a white coating tends to show too much mucous in the diet, often meaning too much dairy is being consumed
- A tongue with cracks, especially down the middle, can show digestive and malabsorption issues
- A red tongue can be an indication of vitamin deficiencies
As you start to use the scraper daily, note how your tongue is looking. It will remind you of how you feel, when you tend to overeat certain foods (such as dairy products), and encourage you to take steps towards being healthier.
Tongue diagnosis is an integral part of assessing an individuals’ health practiced both in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and in Ayurvedic medicine. If you would like to learn more, there are several websites that discuss this in detail or you can always consult a practitioner in your area to learn more about your overall health as indicated by the health of your tongue.
So give the tongue scraper a try for several months. See if you don’t find subtle health benefits coming your way!
To your health in 2016!