Face Reading in Chinese Medicine

By Deirdre Courtney (M.A.)
Head of Acupuncture Department CNM

Do you know how much our faces reveal about us? One of the oldest manuscripts about Chinese Medicine ever found had on its first page “the facial map”. The second page was a map of the facial meridians. This original map had 150 age positions on it, meaning that a person could potentially live to be 150 years old!

The face is said to be the blueprint of who we are and who we are becoming, all our facial features and lines tell our story, what we have been through and when. It also tells us about our personalities, our strengths and our weaknesses.

When we express ourselves, lines develop on our faces.  When we laugh the wrinkles at the side of the eyes crinkle, when we are sad or disappointed then the corners of the mouth drop. These lines merely indicate the emotion we are experiencing but when these lines are there all the time they indicate that a particular emotion may be habitual, hence laughter lines or frown lines may become more permanent. Amazingly, sometimes when we change habitual emotional responses or release long-held emotions, lines can just disappear or just leave a faint resonance!

We can divide the face into 3 areas: top, middle and bottom. The top area is related to mental activity, the middle to practicality, and the lower to our emotional and instinctual worlds.

The shape and markings on the forehead are said to be our “inheritance”, the talents, abilities, interests and desires that are innate to us. The middle area relates to our “fertility and creativity”, and the lower area reveals the “overuse of our bodies”.

If you run a line down the middle of the face you will see that each side of the face is slightly different. The right side is how you want to be perceived in the world and the left side is the private you, who you really are.

The KIDNEY:
Too much hard work, juggling too many commitments, worry, lack of sleep and too much coffee all show in the kidney/liver area. This is the half moon-shape under the eye. If the area is puffy and blue, you are working too hard and depleting the adrenals. Similarly, if the inner corner of the eye has a sunken dark blue tinge to it, then it is time to take stock and look at how to live in a less adrenal way. If your ears are redder than the skin on your face it is also a sign to seek balance.

The LIVER:
If you look under the eyes and there is a dark brown or congested colour then this points to the liver being out of balance. The liver can become stressed and out of balance for several reasons, these include too much bottled up emotion, unexpressed frustration or anger, too many fatty foods (especially foods such as dairy, pork, fried foods) and alcohol. If the liver is very congested (fatty infiltration of the liver) there may be a deep vertical line between the eyebrows. If this is present, the body’s fat metabolism and hormone system may not be working optimally. When there is little fat and alcohol in the diet and when we have a healthy and open expression of emotion then there is very little brown discoloration in the face (no liver spots) and we have fewer lines.

The HEART:
This is seen in our eyes. We call this the Shen (spirit). It is the life force that shines from our eyes which shows that we are truly alive. When our shen is good, the eyes are moist and glisten. If, when you look in the mirror, the eyes that look back at you are dull rather than glistening then somewhere you have become disconnected from your heart and need to rediscover what really brings joy into your life.

The STOMACH and INTESTINES:
The health of our digestive organs is seen in the lower part of the face, around the mouth and chin. If there are eruptions or spots or if the skin is blotchy around the chin, this may indicate poor intestinal health such as an overgrowth of Candida or too much sugar, yeast or dairy in the diet. If the lower lip is swollen or protruding, the large intestine might be sluggish. If the top lip is cracked or red, there is too much heat in the body. This may indicate too much alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods or excess acidity. If there is yellowish discoloration in this area, then the digestive fires might be weak and a better diet with some digestive enzymes may be needed. If there are deep transverse lines running along the middle of the forehead, this also indicates a need to boost our absorption of nutrients. These lines indicate spleen imbalance, one of the major causes of spleen imbalance is a tendency to worry. For a smooth forehead we need to let go of worry.

Sometimes we meet someone elderly and marvel at how youthful their face appears and what a sparkle they have in their eyes. Invariably, with further discussion, we will find that that person has lived a life where they have come to know what foods and environments suit them the best and keep them in balance, a life where they have known what emotions they need to express to stay in balance and a life where they have followed their heart’s message and hence preserved the shen!

If you are interested in training in Complementary medicine, CNM are running open evenings throughout September and October in Dublin, Cork and Galway.

CNM in association with Deirdre Courtney is hosting a seminar on Sept. 21st @7.00 (Griffith College) on Chinese Medicine, Facial Diagnostics and Nutrition.

NEW: CNM is now running new short courses in Dublin, Galway and Cork on’ Nutrition for everyday living’ and ‘Herbs for everyday living’.

To find out more information on any of the above or to book a place, see www.naturopathy.ie call 01-2353094 or email dublininfo@naturopathy-ireland.com

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