Chinese Facial Diagnosis comes from a long lineage of ancient practitioners. The information on a person’s face expresses much more than simple facial features. Just as nature holds various elemental and natural forces, so do the face, body, and glow of a human being. Chinese Facial Diagnosis, or Chinese Physiognomy, is the study of unearthing the personality and life path of an individual through facial characteristics. Through many years of observation, facial features and markings became physical characteristics associated with the principles of nature and ancient Chinese medical theories.

“Thus, the inferior doctor knows one diagnostic approach, the mediocre two while the superior doctor can utilize all three. The superior can cure nine out of ten illnesses, the mediocre ones help eight out of ten while the inferior doctor only cures six out of ten.
The three approaches are radial pulse diagnosis, diagnosis of the color of the skin and channel examination.” – Classic of Difficulties (Nanjing), Chapter 13

The benefits of face reading are to witness the inner vitality and potential of an individual, as well as their spirit and physical health. This is one of the many diagnostic tools available to ancient East Asian medicine practitioners. Through the lineage of face readers of Lillian Bridges, my teacher and her student, CT Holman, describe the various aspects of each element that express on the human face, body, and spirit.

 

Organ Systems Energetics Physical Characteristics Personality Features
Heart/
Pericardium
element: fire
action: play
sense: to see
season: early summer
taste: spicy/bitter
shape: angular, asymmetrical
  • curly hair
  • dimples
  • freckles
  • slender
  • narrow hips
  • redness or flushed neck
  • facial complexion: spiritual vitality
  • more lines on the face = more emotionally expressive
  • eyes: cat-shaped- curious, volatile personality, entertaining/fun
  • nose tip: red- heat in the heart, inflammation; dusky veins- arteriosclerosis; yellow/green tip- phlegm-dampness in the heart; vertical line- a “human angel”; horizontal line- heartbreak
  • performing
  • acting
  • playing
  • charismatic
  • charming
  • attractive
  • mischievous

 

in the workplace:

  • marketing
  • selling
  • communications
Spleen/
Stomach
element: earth
action: nurture
sense:
to taste
season:
late summer
taste: sweet
shape:
square
  • rounded
  • fleshy
  • plumpness
  • mouth: big- sensual; wide- nurturing; stiff upper lip- holding back; high arches- romantic; straight across- non-romantic
  • bridge of the nose: state of the digestive system; blue in babies- food intolerance
  • “warehouses” – extra flesh on the face: chin- tend to have a hard time regulating weight; nose- tend to be collectors; cheeks- tend to store extra energy; above the eyes- can weather emotional storms
  • nurturing
  • grounding
  • stabilizing
  • connecting
  • energetic
  • empathetic
  • comforting
  • caring
  • welcoming

 

in the workplace:

  • office manager
  • team player
  • customer service
  • H.R.
Lungs/
Large Intestine
element: metal
action: aspire
sense: to smell
season: fall
taste: pungent
shape: symmetrical
  • aquiline features
  • fair-skinned
  • small-boned
  • lower lip: swelling indicates stagnation in the Large Intestine (not able to let go)
  • whole nose: red- inflammation in the lungs; dusky- blood stagnation in the lungs; pale- cold or blood deficiency; yellow- toxins in the lungs
  • shape of nose: spine
  • aspiring
  • visionary
  • propriety
  • communicative
  • inspirational
  • sensitive
  • hopeful
  • encouraging

 

in the workplace:

  • finance
  • administration
  • executive
Kidneys/
Bladder
element: water
action: be
sense: to hear
season: winter
taste: salty
shape: wavy, curved lines
  • shadowed eyes
  • big bones
  • wide hips

 

  • chin: will power, determination, stand rooted
  • philtrum: fertility, reproductive area, creativity
  • ears: fundamental constitution
  • deep
  • creative
  • mystical
  • mysterious
  • secretive
  • enigmatic
  • magical

 

in the workplace:

  • solitary
  • contemplative
  • enjoy research, psychology, philosophy
Liver/
Gallbladder
element: wood
action: do
sense: to touch
season: spring
taste: sour
shape: rectangular/linear
  • tall/sinewy or short/energetic
  • eyebrows: thinning-represents Liver burnout (leading to neurological disorders), soft exercise like yoga; unibrow- need a lot of exercise to outlet energy; outer end- represents Gallbladder + Thyroid
  • brow bones: strong- strong will; stubborn to others’ opinions
  • temples: hollow- depression, especially if dark tone
  • jaw/jawline: strong- humanitarian, expansive, firm, attaining goals ethically
  • “seat of stamp”: emotional aspect of the Liver – the Third Eye – ability to see big picture; multiple lines- cloudy Third Eye
  • determined
  • intense
  • focused
  • opinionated

 

in the workplace:

  • leader
  • manager
  • hard worker

Heaven Nunez is a student at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine and has had training in Chinese Facial Diagnosis.