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Chinese Face Reading for Health Diagnosis and Self Knowledge
by Maura Bright, MBAcC, MAR
There's more to the face than meets the eye! The shapes of the face, the features, colours of the complexion, and the 'life points' all give information about a person's health, energy, fortune and destiny as well as character traits, potentials, family background, financial ability, relationships, and career. The balance of the Five Elements and Yin and Yang within the face show the spirit, the constitution and the gifts and restrictions which the person will face in this life.

The idea that there is a relationship between facial features and personality is not a new one: Aristotle wrote on the subject in 340BC and Lavater in France wrote extensively on physiognomy in the 17th century. We are all to a certain extent face readers: our language has many physiognomic phrases such as "honest face", "pay through the nose", "chinless wonder" and most people accept the face as primary evidence of identity, gender and emotional state.

Chinese Face reading is part of the methods of diagnosis and divination which have their roots deep in Chinese cultural and scientific life. Ancient scholars and thinkers have written extensively on the subject. The first texts such as the Bamboo Chronicles were written in the 3rd century BC and Chinese physiognomy is documented in the Tang manuscripts from Dunhuang which are dated 500-600 AD, as well as material from the 10th - 15th century AD.

Nowadays Hong Kong businessmen consult face readers before signing important deals and Human Resources are making use of face reading to assess prospective employees. As an acupuncturist I find face reading an invaluable part of my practitioner's toolkit to make an assessment of health and a way of helping patients to recognise their patterns so they are able to make more conscious life choices. The face has zones which relate to the internal organs - a congested liver, deficient thryroid, poor digestion, stress on the adrenal glands are all visible on the face if you know what to look for.

In the language of face reading, the face shapes show the basic constitution and attributes. The Five Elements of Chinese Medicine are manifested in face structure. Our faces are mixtures of the elements wood, fire, earth, metal and water. The elements have nourishing and destroying cycles so some mixtures can be auspicious and others more difficult. This is similar to squares and trines for the astrologically minded. For example, a face which is predominantly a mixture of wood and metal indicates a tendency "not to see the wood for the trees" (metal cuts down wood). On the positive side, this configuration also gives a steely determination.

Each feature has meaning: the eyebrows show the amount of drive and our mental and creative energies, the nose relates to the career and financial capacity, the mouth to emotional control, the eyes to our life force and spirit, the cheekbones to our power and will and the forehead to our intellectual capacities. For instance, if a person's nose has many bumps and is not straight down the face, it means changes in direction in the mid-40's and obstacles in the career path.

Harmony between Yin and Yang is important in face reading. Balance of the left (Yin) and right (Yang) sides of the face shows that the inner person and the "persona", the side of the personality shown to the outside world are working together. Imbalance between Yin and Yang can be caused by childhood problems or by improper lifestyle. Being able to see where this comes from helps me quickly to get to grips with the causes of people's problems.

The 'Life Points' of the face represent each year of life. Difficulties at, say, age 46 can be mitigated if you can see problems ahead. These points can also be used to gauge whether it is wise to invest money at a given time, have children, or travel. Cosmetic surgery can alter the energy of certain life points, for good or bad. Nose jobs can expose the nostrils which is the life point for the years 49 and 50. Exposed nostrils in Chinese face reading lore means loss of energy, or possibly money, around this time.

The Chinese say that the eyes rule the face. We say that they are the windows of the soul. Through the eyes we can see the life force and energy of the spirit. The Chinese call this spark "glitter". It shows the person has a powerful life force and vitality. Strong glitter also gives the face good colour and a spirited look. Dull eyes mean a feeble energy and low spirits and usually negates the value of good features and attracts poor fortune and disappointment.

Our face is definitely our fortune! Behind the lines of the face, the skilled eye of the face reader can determine the up and downs of life and how a person can make the best use of their skills and potentials. Face Reading is an art and a science which deals with universal laws which makes it as relevant and useful today as it was during the times of Confucius.

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