WS 3 (Clinical Module 2: Tongue Diagnosis) Participation possible without attending the lecture

Tongue inspection is commonly identified as one of the fundamental diagnostic procedures within the Chinese medical system. As such, it has a very long history, which can be traced back to the earliest extant tongue diagnosis monograph, compiled during the Yuan Dynasty (1341). The original purpose of observing the tongue was to carefully assist in the identification of the externally contracted diseases, which at the time were closely associated to the theories put forward by the “School of the Cold Injury”.

During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) tongue observation became an important tool for the diagnosis of syndromes caused by “Warm Disease” and plague. Through this development arose a new path to understanding the externally contracted diseases, which ultimately brought forward the four level pattern differentiation systematology. In Chinese medicine the externally contracted syndromes are typically labeled under the category of acute infectious diseases. Over the course of several centuries, Chinese medicine developed an elaborate methodology, which links the empirical observations with herbal treatment (formulary). From the fusion between clinical experiences and TCM theories, more than 100 traditional tongue depictions and their herbal treatments have been summarized, standardized and the systematically understood within the Chinese system.

We believe that if such knowledge is further combined with modern medical advancements, it may provide a new direction in dealing with infectious diseases, and also offer an effective and speedy clinical methodology in places where laboratory diagnosis may be unavailable. Through the translation of the classic texts, these achievements can be shared with the rest of the medical world, clinically re-confirmed, and researched around the globe. Finally, it is evident that tongue diagnosis has still much to contribute, and therefore further research may allow it to find its rightful place in the modern world.

Impressions of ICTAM IX

  • Impressions of ICTAM IX, 2017, by Matthias Burmeister, ICTAM IX Filmteam