Panchakarma Journal: Tongue Scraping

Buddha Reflecting by Morgan Ellis,

One of the things I was required to do during my Panchakarma retreat was to scrape my tongue every morning.  In fact, it was the very first thing I had to do upon waking.  Scraping, or cleaning, the tongue is an essential component of the detoxification process during Panchakarma.  In Ayurveda, it is also considered a critical part of one's daily health routine.  Why is tongue scraping so important?

Elimination of Toxins

It is believed that throughout the day, but particularly during sleep, the body releases accumulated toxins.  Some of these get deposited on the tongue. Scraping the tongue first thing in the morning removes these toxins, along with any mucous and bacteria.  This prevents them from being swallowed and absorbed back into the body.  The action also sends a signal to the digestive system to release toxins.

Other Health Benefits

Tongue scraping is thought to provide a wide range of other health benefits including:
  • Enhances sense of taste
  • Stimulates digestion
  • Aids in cleansing the digestive tract, liver, kidneys and other organs
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Improves oral hygiene and gum health
  • Lessens bad breath
  • Prevents bacteria from traveling to the respiratory system
  • Keeps sinuses clear

Related:  Dry Brushing Teeth

Tongue Analysis

It is believed that the tongue is related to various organs and systems in the body, including the lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, spleen, stomach and intestines.   It is also believed that the surface of the tongue reflects the state of health of these various organs and systems.  Tongue analysis is an integral part of Ayurvedic (and other medical systems) diagnosis.  An excellent resource on this topic is Ayurvedic Tongue Diagnosis by Walter Shantree Kacera.

Keeping Your Tongue Clean

Keep your tongue clean only takes a few minutes and is a simple, easy process.  You simply place the scraper or spoon at the very back of the tongue and move it forward.  Repeat 7 to 9 times covering the entire tongue.  Although you can use a spoon,  I was provided with a stainless steel tongue scraper by the Ayurvedic practitioner at the start of my Panchakarma treatment.   Different types of scrapers are widely available in drugstores or online.

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