When your acupuncturist is looking at your tongue, they're looking at several things:
1. General shape of your tongue: Is your tongue a nice "U" shape? Does it have a thin pointy tip? Does it look like your tongue is scalloped or that you've taken bites out of the edges of your tongue? If your tongue is a "U" shape, this is a pretty good sign of overall health. If you've got a pointy tip to your tongue, you probably have some sort of yin deficiency. If your tongue is scalloped, you probably have problems with dampness and Spleen Qi deficiency.
2. Color of your tongue: Is your tongue a baby pink color? Is it beet red? Is it purple? Or maybe it has pale sides? If your tongue is a baby pink color, you probably are pretty healthy with few complaints. If your tongue is red or beet red, you probably suffer from some sort of heat problems. Hot flashes often present with a bright red tongue. If your tongue is purple you're likely in some sort of pain or are very stressed out (or both!)
3. The coating of your tongue: Can you easily see the color of your tongue? Is it hidden by a thick, greasy-looking substance that you try to brush off with your toothbrush every morning? If you can easily see the color of your tongue, you probably don't have any dampness problems. However, if our tongue coating is thick and it masks the color of your tongue body, you likely do suffer from such complaints.
I'm not going to put pictures of tongues on here, because not everyone has the stomach for it. If you do have the stomach for it, ask your friends and family if you can see their tongues. You'll be surprised at how different tongues can be from one another!