Tongue and Pulse in TCM Diagnosis

Looking at the tongue and feeling the pulse are considered the most important in TCM diagnosis. 

Tongue observation is based on four main areas.

  1. Tongue body color: Indicates condition of Blood, Ying Qi and Zang (Yin) Organs
  2. Tongue body shape: Shows the state of Blood and Ying Qi
  3. Coating: Indicates the state of Fu (Yang) organs
  4. Moisture: Indicates the state of Body Fluids

Along with tongue diagnosis, pulse diagnosis is an important part of the diagnostic process. 

There are 29 pulses in TCM pulse diagnosis. 

  • Fu Mai (Floating, Superficial)
  • Hong Mai (Surging, Flooding)
  • Ge Mai (Leathery, Drumskin, Tympanic, Hard)
  • Kou Mai (Hollow or Scallion Stalk, Green Onion)
  • Ru Mai (Soft or Soggy)
  • San Mai (Scattered)
  • Xu Mai (Forceless, Empty, Deficient)
  • Chen Mai (Deep)
  • Fu Mai (Hidden)
  • Lao Mai(Firm, Confined)
  • Ruo Mai (Weak)
  • Chi Mai (Slow)
  • Huan Mai (Slowed down, Moderate, or Relaxed)
  • Se Mai(Choppy, Hesitant)
  • Jie Mai(Knotted, Bound)
  • Shi Mai (Excess, Full, Replete, Forceful)
  • Hua Mai (Slippery, Rolling)
  • Jin Mai (Tight, Tense)
  • Chang Mai (Long)
  • Xuan Mai (Wiry, Taut)
  • Wei Mai(Minute, Faint, Indistinct)
  • Xi Mai(Thready, Thin)
  • Duan Mai (Short)
  • Dai Mai (Regularly Intermittent)
  • Shuo Mai(Rapid)
  • Ji Mai (Racing, Swift, Hurried)
  • Cu Mai (Rapid-Irregular, Skipping, Abrupt)
  • Dong Mai(Moving, Throbbing, Stirring)
  • Da Mai(Large, Big)

TCM tongue and pulse diagnosis are both crucial to differentiation syndromes and should be taken into consideration within the context of the whole diagnostic process! They are complex and take time to master, but with the aid of Boncho Friends’ tongue and pulse icons, it will be fun and easy to study them. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment