Tongue Health – Ayurveda Style

~ the benefits of this ancient knowledge

The health of your tongue speaks volumes about your overall well-being and the ancient practice of looking after your tongue’s health dates back thousands of years from an Ayurvedic perspective. Ayurveda is the natural system of medicine, from India with over 5000 years of success, literally meaning ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge). Thus, Ayurveda (a Sanskrit word) translates to knowledge of life.

Ayurveda teaches us to embrace specific lifestyle interventions and natural practices (or treatments) to support us to regain a balance between the body, mind, spirit, and the environment we occupy. One of these practices involves taking care of our tongue and the bonus in our busy western society is that this one doesn’t take long, even when done daily. 

Tongue scraping is a simple morning habit to get into, in order to support greater health, according to ancient texts such as the Charaka Samhita. It’s quick and affordable and 100% easy to fit into any morning routine. 

But what is it about tongue scraping which makes it so effective for our overall health? Well, let me share with you five simple benefits of this easy practice to help your tongue stay happy and healthy…

  1. Taking notice of your tongue each morning supports you to stay on top of your internal health. The tongue is a reflection of what is occurring within us i.e. the health of our body inside, which is often not seen or felt until symptoms are chronic. Thus, looking at your tongue each morning gives you regular updates on the state and balance of your health, supporting you to eliminate aspects such as food which may be aggravating you or an alert to something which needs deeper intervention to regain balance. 
  2. The action of scraping your tongue each morning helps to remove unsupportive bacteria in your mouth. Your sleep time isn’t just for resting. Your body is working during your sleep time, digesting the food from the day and helping to process and eliminate unwanted toxins. This process of detoxing utilises the mouth as one way of ridding them from the body. Therefore, scraping the tongue each morning removes these toxins from your system and prevents them from being reabsorbed back into your body. 
  3. Tongue scraping supports the stimulation of your vital organs, supporting overall digestion and elimination of waste from your body. Your tongue can be broken down into sections, with each part relating to specific organs in the body. So the act of ‘cleaning’ your tongue each morning, is like an indirect cleanse and support for these organs. It enlivens their function. 
  4. Helps to reduce and remove bad breath. Unwanted bacteria in the mouth can appear as a coating on the tongue. If we do not clean this off each morning with tongue scraping, bad breath can begin to build up as a consequence. 
  5. Your sense of taste is upgraded. If you consider the process of eating, digesting and eliminating, it all begins in the mouth with our sense of taste. Ayurveda places a great deal of emphasis on the health of a person’s digestion and this starts in the mouth. A regular, long-term coating on your tongue compromises the ability of your taste buds to function efficiently and effectively. You then add more condiments to help enhance your sense of taste e.g. salt or ketchup, which when not balanced appropriately with other ingredients in the meal, compromise and therefore decrease your body’s capacity and potential to digest, assimilate and use or eliminate food properly. Again, the knock-on effect is a build-up of toxins overall, which results in chronic imbalance over time, when repeatedly ignored. 
How to tongue scrape in four steps. 
  1. When you go to the bathroom after waking up, look at your tongue in the mirror. Notice if there is anything unusual in its appearance e.g. cracks; a white/grey/black/brown/reddish/yellow/green coating; spots; trembling; pale; thick, heavy/large – these are all indicative of imbalance. 
  2. Once you’ve taken a quick look to notice anything different or odd, take your tongue scraper and make sure it’s clean before you begin. Simply rinse with warm water and soap if necessary. 
  3. Then, gently glide the curved edge from the back of the tongue to the front/tip of the tongue, rinsing off after each stroke with warm water. 
  4. Repeat step 3 up to ten times, to remove the residual build-up on your tongue, remembering to wash your scraper once completed, storing it in a dry, clean place for the following morning. Then just brush your teeth as normal afterwards. 
Top Tips
    • Be gentle in this process – no need to be aggressive. And there shouldn’t be any discomfort, bleeding etc. 
    • This is an activating process on the body system…therefore it’s best carried out in the morning, not before bed, when you do not want to stimulate the system. 
    • Avoid aggravating any symptoms which may already be present – hence the gentle approach. Also, there are naturally raised bumps at the very rear of your tongue. Avoid scraping these or be gentle if you do go over them.

So let’s get you going with your tongue scraping, help rebalance your inner health and avoid chronic illness – purchase your scraper here now. If you don’t know which one to get because you’re unsure of your Ayurvedic body type, go for a stainless steel one, which works for everyone. 

To find out more about your Ayurveda constitution and how this form of medicine can support you, contact me today.


Understanding & Working With Your Digestion Intuitively

Digestion in Ayurveda is called Agni or the digestive ‘fire’. Agni is considered of utmost importance. If working well, it gives good health. If digestion malfunctions, it gives rise to ‘ama’ or toxins, which can and do contribute to the cause of ill health, along with unresolved trauma, among other key factors. Critical to good digestion is to know when to eat, how much to eat and how to eat.

The How

How you treat digestion is very important. What you eat is important, but even the best foods are of little value if you cannot digest them. Ayurveda places great emphasis on your awareness of, and attention to, your digestion.

Your Past Conditioning

When you were young you were probably pressurised to eat at a certain time, irrespective of your hunger, and to ‘clean your plate’ and you may have learnt to eat as a reward or eat to be sociable. If so, you may now be out of touch with your body’s needs for food and be eating out of habit, or for emotional reasons.

A New Way ~ learning to tune in to your digestion

The only true reason for eating is physical hunger, though in our modern society we eat a lot for pleasure, enjoyment and social celebrations too.  In order to be more sensitive and aware of your body’s signals however, no matter why you’re eating, the following exercise is very useful, to help avoid unnecessary eating and over-indulgence.

You must first start to feel your stomach. Allow yourself to get hungry by delaying eating. When hungry, put your attention in the area of your stomach and notice what you feel. You may not feel anything or you may be aware of an emptiness, a true hunger in this space. At this point, have a meal. After the meal, place your attention on your stomach again. You should now notice a significant contrast. From these two extreme spaces of contrast, with considered and intuitive practice,  you can learn the difference between an empty stomach (when hungry) and a full stomach (when satiated).

Going Forwards ~ stages of digestion

From now on, make a point of always checking your stomach before and after eating.  As you do this over the coming days and weeks you’ll become aware of your ‘hunger level’.

Your stomach has two functions – to hold food after a meal and to begin digesting. As your stomach digests, it slowly empties. After a meal your stomach should be no more than three-quarters full, leaving room for churning the food and for digestive juices to do their job with optimal function.

Two hours later your stomach may be half full and after another few hours, it will be quarter full. A quarter full is the point at which your stomach has finished digesting the previous meal and is now just emptying. So it’s only now the stomach is truly ready to digest again. It is at this point that it sends us signals of hunger.

Common mistakes

So many of us (myself included at one point) are eating far too much between meals, snacking and grazing, eating little and often, believing it’s a good thing to do.  Whereas in actual fact, it’s just sending confusing signals to the digestive system, because it then doesn’t know what stage it’s at within the whole digestive process. As a result, we then begin to see all kinds of digestive issues showing up in their early stages and if subtle enough and left undetected, they become worse over time, until chronic and more of an issue to undo and heal.

Tuning In ~ fulfilled or filled full…?

However, if you continue to check your stomach, by putting your attention in that area of the body, you become more aware. You begin to recognise when your stomach is full, three-quarters full, half full, quarter full or empty. As you do so you will become more and more tuned in and even be able to predict your hunger. When you feel half full it will be up to two hours before you will feel hungry. When quarter full, you will shortly feel an appetite.

For good digestion, it is most important to eat when hungry. If you eat before true hunger arises you’re expecting your stomach to finish digesting the previous meal and yet, at the same time, to start digesting a new meal. This upsets digestion. The second most important lesson is to stop eating when three-quarters full. Overeating leaves no room for churning and digestive juices and so digestion is compromised. It is like putting too much coal on the fire. A simple question to remember after the meal is: are you fulfilled or are you filled full? ‘Fulfilled’ feels good. ‘Filled full’ is a heavy discomfort in the stomach and a general feeling of dullness and lethargy.

Final Vignettes

If you truly tune in and listen to your stomach you will over time develop better-eating habits. Gradually you will tend to eat at the right time, when hungry, and eat the right amount. At this point, you will learn from listening to your stomach the amount you should eat for breakfast which satisfies but leaves you hungry for lunch, which should be the main meal of the day, eaten around 12pm to 1 pm because this is when digestion is at its strongest. Then you will eat appropriately at lunch to leave you with a hunger for your lighter evening meal, ideally eaten by 7 pm. Only if hungry should you snack between meals.

Another important consideration for digestion is the way you eat. Ayurveda considers it essential to sit and relax. Only when you relax can your body concentrate on digestion. Therefore do not watch TV, read a newspaper, book or magazine or even scroll through a screen while eating. Also do not eat if you’re having an argument or have become emotional. The best scenario is gentle company enjoying a meal together or else eating quietly on your own.

Lastly, make sure you’re also eating appropriately for your constitution, for you as a unique and individual being. Eating foods which do not suit you and your individual make-up, no matter how healthy they may have been labelled, will not support a healthy digestive system and ultimately feed your mind and body fully if they’re not the right foods for you. So make sure you’ve done your research and are not just following the latest celebrity trend.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Having lived most of my life with food sensitivities and intolerances, I’ve been there, done that and done a lot of research and training…e.g. raw foods are not for most people despite what mass media may say, especially if you already have issues like constipation, insomnia, anxiety or dry skin. Similarly, spicy, hot, acidic foods are not much use to someone with reflux, skeletal aches and pains or skin issues like eczema. Or if you struggle with deep depression, lethargy and obesity, foods like mushrooms are not going to help you. I could write a whole other blog post on this…and perhaps I will soon. For now though, just remember, there is not a one-size-fits-all remedy. We all have to do our own research and find what works for us.

If you would like some extra help and guidance, do get in touch, where we can discuss your specific needs and make an individual plan to suit you.

And if you haven’t already, join me on Instagram for more regular sound bites.

Immune Support Tips & Ideas – Day 7

Tips: 19 – 21

Day 7 of this 10-day series of tips to support immune health, with kind permission from A. Vogel’s and their Healthy Way publication.

In today’s final tip, I make a mistake about who’s able to take a product I share. It’s for over 16s only. Not children under 16. I misread my notes in my haste. So my apologies for this.

I also talk about probiotic ideas to support gut health. And the best place I’ve found for all homemade fermented things is a blog called Nourished By Nature headed up by a wonderful Scottish lady called Janice.

This is my go-to for all fermented ideas and recipes. And the kimchi recipe is my absolute favourite daily dose of homemade probiotics. So check out her blog online.

As mentioned before, this mini-series was originally made for Instagram and so the first 3 videos I converted for here didn’t turn out well visually. So if you would prefer to view on Instagram, you can do so here.

If you have any questions about how to balance your own health and wellbeing, do get in touch and we can discuss how I can support you on your journey to reach your aspirations.

Where there is an imbalance of any form in our body, there is always an answer for how to rebalance it again, when we explore ourselves fully and look at the whole picture and broader perspective. To find out more about the six main root causes of illness and dis-ease, click here.

In the meantime, here is the video for Day 7 via YouTube…

Immune Support Tips & Ideas – Day 6

Tips 16 – 18

A few short simple tips for today, which I trust will help someone improve their immune health in some way.

Please share these videos if you like them. I’m making them in the spare time I have. I’m not being paid or sponsored.

The products I share are available for most budgets, rather than being more expensive and exclusive to those with higher incomes. That’s why I chose to approach A. Vogel’s and ask permission to share the tips from their Healthy Way publication.

There’s something simple which we can all do to help ourselves build a stronger immune system in this mini-series…so let me know how you get on. And if you would like personal guidance for your own health and wellbeing, then do get in touch, where I would be delighted to help and support you to find the root cause of your symptoms and diagnosis.

This entire mini-series is also available on Instagram if you would rather view them on that platform. You can find it all here.