For thousands of years, Chinese medicine practitioners have relied on various parts of the body, especially the tongue, to interpret the health of internal body parts. “Tongue diagnosis is pretty standard at the beginning of an acupuncture session,” says Christie Jordan, a practitioner and owner of Source Healing. A healthy tongue is pink and moist, with a thin, clear coating of saliva.
Getting mapped After discussing any medical problems, sleeping trouble and eating habits, you’ll stick out your tongue while the acupuncturist examines it. She’s looking for shape, coloring and markings (such as spots or tooth marks) in each region of the tongue (pictured), which correlate to various body parts. Signs of body imbalance include a red or swollen tongue, yellow or grayish saliva, dryness and cracks. Depending on how your tongue looks, you might be told to eat more veggies, stay away from cold foods (which, for some people, are said to decrease energy and slow down metabolism) or visit a doctor for a blood-pressure test.
$125 for initial session, $90 for additional 45-minute acupuncture sessions at Source Healing (650 N Dearborn St, 312-335-9330, www.sourcehealing.com)
Craniosacral therapy works directly with the central nervous system (the brain and the head), but it influences the rest of the body, too. That’s because meridians related to different body parts and organs are said to pass through or end at the face and skull, so massaging them can release blocked energy channels and enhance your health.
Getting mapped This light-touch form of manual therapy at Red Door Spa mainly focuses on your head, neck, spine and face. You’ll start by discussing your health concerns (e.g., chronic back pain, nausea, migraines) and then your therapist will home in on the corresponding area. For example, the stomach is connected to the bridge of your nose, so rubbing the region supposedly helps alleviate nausea.
$115 for 50 minutes at Red Door Spa (919 N Michigan Ave, 312-988-9191, www.reddoorspas.com)
Reflexology uses nerves in the feet to influence internal body parts in positive ways. From the days of ancient Eygypt and China, foot regions have been said to correspond to different areas and organs in your body—the toes, for example, affect your head, brain and sinuses. “Your feet reflect your whole body,” says reflexologist Nourhy Chiriboga, owner of NOW Massage Studio. “When I massage them, I’m reaching every cell and every organ.”
Getting mapped It feels a lot like a foot massage, but the rubbing is a little more intense and calculated. The therapist will rub your feet individually, paying special attention to supersensitive areas such as the big toe—which is synched with the pituitary gland, the area of your brain that helps regulate hormones. If you, say, suffer from constipation, she’ll focus on the middle of your feet. The intense pressure can be a bit uncomfortable at times, but overall, it’s a blissful experience.
$55 for 30 minutes at NOW Massage Studio (2141 W Webster Ave, 773-276-5278, www.nourhy.com)