Tongue Scraping – A Simple Way to Stay Healthy

Do you ever spend time looking at your tongue? No?! Well, according to Ayurveda we can learn a lot about our health by reading the messages on our tongue. If you take time to examine your tongue, and learn how to read it, which is too much for this blog post :), you can learn things about organ function, quality of sleep, quality of digestion, or even spinal issues. One main thing to keep an eye out for is a coating on the tongue which can tell you many things.

In some Eastern medicines, including Ayurveda, the tongue is considered the “mirror for the body.”

Overnight our body detoxifies and has to put all the junk it cleans out somewhere to be excreted when we wake. Food we eat during the day is continuously broken down and filtered through various organs of the Gastrointestinal (GI) tract until it gets to the liver. Our liver is one of the main organs in the GI tract that kicks in high gear while we sleep. (More on this in a future blog on sleep.) Consider the liver the garbage truck of the body. The liver finishes separating the nutrients and waste from our food of the day, which is a critical function to remove toxins from the body. In addition to ending up as crusty eyes, urine, etc, waste comes out on our tongue! Who knew?

This waste shows up on our tongue as a white, yellow-ish, or brown-ish coating. If you stick your tongue out and can’t see your taste buds, or you see a thick coating on your tongue, this can be a sign of ama. Ama is specific to Ayurvevda as an indicator of imbalance in a person and shows up as toxins in the body that haven’t been fully digested and excreted.

This is where tongue scraping comes in. Tongue scraping first thing in the morning is beneficial to scrape off the toxins on your tongue rather than swallowing them back into our digestive system. Ew. Let me tell you, if you use it once, you will never not use it again. You can use it more than once per day, if you feel like it helps your mouth feel clean and fresh.

Now, you might ask, “What about brushing my tongue? Isn’t that the same?” No. When we brush our tongue we move those toxins around in our mouth instead of removing them. This makes it more likely to swallow the toxins back in to your system. I like to think of it as flossing for the tongue. You should still brush your tongue, though.

Benefits of Tongue Scraping

  • Helps eliminate bad breath and prevents cavities – Removes bacteria at back of tongue which causes plaque
  • Improves taste – Proper digestion begins in the mouth where saliva begins to break down carbohydrates
  • Reduces food cravings – Keeps the taste buds healthy and alert
  • Boosts immune system – Removes toxins, dead cells, food debris
  • Gently stimulates organs – This can also help with a bowel movement in the morning and stimulate appetite
  • Good to support proper oral hygiene promoting heart health

Tongue Scraping Video How To with Yoga With Angelina Fox

Visit www.facebook.com/YogaWithAngelina for a quick “how to.”

What You Need
A Tongue Scraper – That’s It!

I recommend you get a stainless steel or copper tongue scraper. They are easiest to keep clean and more durable than a plastic one. You can find a tongue scraper online and sometimes in your local drug store, although they are often plastic. I have one from Banyan Botanicals, but you can get them online from places like Amazon. With its increasing popularity, it may also be possible to find one in your local drug store.

When to Use It

Use the tongue scraper on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. Using it a few hours after a meal or before bed may also help with oral hygiene, but once a day is usually enough.

Technique

  1. Stand over a sink.
  2. Hold the ends of tongue scraper with both hands.
  3. Stick out your tongue.
  4. LIGHTLY place the rounded, probably flat, part of the tongue scraper as far back on your tongue as comfortable. (Don’t gag yourself.)
  5. LIGHTLY pull the tongue scraper from the back of the tongue to the tip.
  6. Flick liquid into the sink.
  7. Rinse tongue scraper with warm water.
  8. Repeat 3 to 7 times or until no more coating is coming off.
  9. Wash your tongue scraper after use.

I recommend you get a stainless steel or copper tongue scraper. They are easiest to keep clean and more durable than a plastic one. You can find a tongue scraper online and sometimes in your local drug store, although they are often plastic. I have one from Banyan Botanicals, but you can get them online from places like Amazon. With its increasing popularity, it may also be possible to find one in your local drug store.

When to Use It

Use the tongue scraper on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. Using it a few hours after a meal or before bed may also help with oral hygiene, but once a day is usually enough.

Technique

  1. Stand over a sink.
  2. Hold the ends of tongue scraper with both hands.
  3. Stick out your tongue.
  4. LIGHTLY place the rounded, probably flat, part of the tongue scraper as far back on your tongue as comfortable. (Don’t gag yourself.)
  5. LIGHTLY pull the tongue scraper from the back of the tongue to the tip.
  6. Flick liquid into the sink.
  7. Rinse tongue scraper with warm water.
  8. Repeat 3 to 7 times or until no more coating is coming off.
  9. Wash your tongue scraper after use.

Precautions

Always use your tongue scraper on an empty stomach. Only place the tongue scraper as far back on the tongue as you are comfortable. DO NOT press the tongue scraper down on your tongue. Although it is called a scraper, don’t try to scrape off your taste buds. It should not hurt or damage the tongue in any way.

  1. You only need one thing – a tongue scraper!

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