Ancient Beauty Rituals at Home: Tongue Scraping
I have incorporated several techniques from an ancient health and wellness tradition into my Slow Beauty practice. Among them are Tongue Scraping, Abhyanga, Dry Brushing and Padabhyanga. These techniques are from the 5,000 year strong Indian health and wellness tradition Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word meaning “the knowledge for long life”. I use the above-mentioned techniques to elevate my beauty routine to a beauty ritual because beauty is so much more than “anti-aging” lotions and potions. Together these techniques release toxins, strengthen the body, boost the immune system and slow down the aging process; and these are only a few of the benefits they offer.
Tongue Scraping: The body releases toxins while we sleep. Many of these toxins deposit themselves on the surface of our tongue. Scraping the tongue each morning removes the toxins. Tongue scraping also boosts the immune system by warding off sinus related infections and promotes dental health. Scraping the tongue helps to avoid bad breathe by removing bacteria, and also enhances our sense of taste. It is also said to gently stimulate the internal organs. When I learned that tongue scraping is related to our organs I was intrigued, and when I delved a little deeper an entire world on the tongue was revealed. The tongue, it turns out, is a mirror reflection of our organs.
Try this at home: Stick out your tongue in front of the mirror. Do you “see” your organs? In the front of your tongue you will find your lungs, heart, chest and neck (left side , left lung, right side right lung with the heart, chest and neck in between) In the center part of your tongue is your stomach and pancreas (middle center), on either side the spleen (left) and liver (right). The rear of the tongue relates to the intestines and colon (center) and the left and right kidney (left and right respectively). In the Ayurvedic tradition this is known as tongue diagnosis. An Ayurvedic specialist will look at your tongue and note discoloration and or sensitivity of a particular area to determine the health status of an organ. And when we practice tongue scraping daily we are subtly cleansing our organs.
How to Use: Scrape daily on an empty stomach using a metal tongue scraper. Place the scraper at the back of the tongue and gently scrape from back to front 7 – 10 times. Make sure to scrape the entire tongue. If you are interested in purchasing a tongue scraper I recommend Dr. Tung’s. Made from stainless steel it’s easy to clean and more gentle on the tongue than a plastic version. They also come in a variety of fun colors. You can purchase on line at drtungs.com or find it at your local Whole Foods market. (Do not use a toothbrush to scrape your tongue as that will have the opposite effect of pushing bacteria and toxins into the tongue.)
Some Recommended Summer Reading: Ayurvedic Tongue Diagnosis by Walter Shantree Kacera.
Tags: beauty, studies and research, yoga and fitness