Well, it seems even we can be surprised.
A team from the University of Missouri in the US are currently working on a system that will enable us to find out how healthy we are from taking a picture of our tongue with our mobile phone.
Based on a 5,000-year-old Chinese principle, each image will be analysed and then able to provide important information about a patient’s health, and even help identify early signs of serious illness.
To test out the theory, 263 gastritis patients and 48 healthy volunteers had their tongues analysed.
The gastritis patients were classified by whether they showed infection by a certain bacteria, known as Helicobacter pylori, as well as the intensity of their gastritis symptoms. In addition, most of the gastritis patients had been previously classified with either hot or cold zheng. This allowed the researchers to verify the accuracy of the software’s analysis.
It is based on the flow and balance of positive and negative energies in the body, and uses the tongue as a key to the physical health, or zheng, of a person.
The software analyses images based on the tongue’s colour and coating to distinguish between tongues showing signs of ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ zheng. Shades of red and yellow are associated with hot zheng, whereas a white coating on the tongue is a sign of cold zheng.
Are we convinced this could actually happen? The jury’s still out. What we will say is that with advances in technology and medical science, anything is possible.