Rituals: Tongue Scraping
The ancient Ayurvedic recommendation of tongue scraping is one that is often overlooked.
The tongue is the mirror to all the organs of the body. Taking a daily look at the tongue prior to scraping gives you a clue to your general health.
In Ayurveda, a good tongue examination is a useful way of evaluating the health of the entire body. When you examine your tongue, it’s an opportunity for self-awareness, where you can reflect on the choices of the last several days, months, or years and see how those choices have affected your health.
If a thick white coating is noted, you are accumulating toxicity. By realizing this, it gives you the opportunity to become more self-aware and make new, healthier choices.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, tongue scraping should be performed on a daily basis. It is just as important as brushing your teeth and flossing.
This ancient practice helps to stimulate the internal organs through energetic connections with the rest of the body, improve digestion by increasing your sense of taste, and cleanse the body by removing “Ama” and bacteria from your oral cavity.
In Ayurveda, “Ama” refers to any accumulation of toxic residue in the mind-body. This can result from improper eating, poor digestion, or a reflection of an imbalance somewhere in the gastrointestinal system. When there’s an imbalance in our GI system, it will often present as acne or an inflammatory rash or skin condition.
Since the oral cavity is one of the main gateways between your mind/body (think gut health) and the environment, maintaining the health of this connection is critical to general well-being.
Tongue scrapers should be made of gold, silver, or and brass and should be non-sharp and curved, so as not to injure the tongue. Stainless steel scrapers, which are now widely available and resist corrosion, are effective as well. Copper ones are said to leave heavy metal residue in your system.
How to scrape your tongue:
1. Hold the scraper with one hand on each end.
2. Look in the mirror, and stick out your tongue. Place the scraper on the back of your tongue, being careful not to gag yourself.
3. Gently scrape the surface of your tongue in a long stroke from the back to front. You'll notice ama, the white mucus, accumulate on the scraper.
4. Repeat 10 times. You see that even the pink spots on your tongue have ama stored in the deep crevices.
5. Rinse the scraper with water, and store in a clean place.
*Practice every morning before brushing your teeth...Ideally, follow with oil pulling.