Face Reading (Mian Xiang) in Chinese Medicine is the Chinese facial diagnostics that provides specific information about the emotions and the organs. The face tells how someone feels, what someone has experienced in life, how the organs function and what a person’s abilities are.
Facial diagnosis shows deficiencies in the basic energy (also called Jing or Essence in Chinese Medicine), blockages in the flow of energy (Qi) and how someone’s appearance is (Shen).
Shortages of basic energy and blockages of the energy flow we can recognize by Jing and Qi markers. These are horizontal (Jing) or vertical (Qi) lines / wrinkles in the midline of the face.
Shen means the expression of all emotional, mental and spiritual energies together. In English the term Mind or Spirit is often used but these terms fall short of its true meaning. Shen is to read in someone’s eyes and the color of the skin. The state of Shen can be healthy with a gloss or sparkling in the eyes and a healthy skin colour or disturbed with mat, dark eyes and for example a greyish skin colour. Because facial diagnostics already shows very small signs of health, it is very important for preventive medicine.
Emotions are visible in the face because lines / wrinkles develop at a specific place. Each line corresponds to a particular emotion or organ disturbance. Furthermore, you can diagnostic organ disturbances because a certain place in the face has a different color, a withdrawal or just is swollen.
The face reading in China originated in the time that the doctors were not allowed to touch the female patients. This was not found appropriate (except the extremities, which were allowed) to touch. The patient showed on an ivory statue of a reclining woman’s the place of the complaints and the doctor read the face of the patient. This form of diagnosis in addition to the pulse and tongue diagnosis were used to make a total diagnosis and a treatment plan.
The first map that is integrated into a full manuscript of Chinese Medicine dates from 1601 (discovered by Dr. Paul Unshuld from Berlin) and the first instructions of facial diagnostics (color, Shen) can be found in the book Nei Jing – Basic Questions of Internal Medicine from the Yellow Emperor (Huang Ti), 2698-2599 BC.
I am fully educated in facial diagnosis by the Chinese-American professor Lillian Pearl Bridges from Seattle, USA who is the world’s leading expert in Face Reading and Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine and trained by her face reading grandmother Mary Chen Lowe since the age of five years. For my acupuncture treatment I do combine the face reading in addition to the wrist and tong diagnoses and also give face readings to help you find your path in life (Golden Path or Ming = destiny). A face reading can make very clear what you are supposed to do in your life and how to use your capacities in the best way!
Since 2009 I have intensively studied with Lillian. During conferences in San Diego, London and Aarhus. I have had private lessons with Lillian in Seattle and together with her I have reviewed patients in my practice. I also organized seminars for Lillian with the Golden Needle TCM College – of which I was one of the directors. Besides that I have made 230 photos for Lillian’s book Face Reading in Chinese Medicine – Second Edition published by Elsevier (2012). In 2013 I have finished her Master Face Reading Certification Program in Los Angeles and San Diego and followed the online Master Face Reading Mentorship Program in 2020.
Lillian passed away September 2021. The Chinese Medicine world has lost a very special speaker and writer. An In Memoriam for Lillian is published in the December issue of magazine Huang Ti of the Dutch Acupuncture Association (NVA), which I wrote at the request of the NVA board (click here for the In Memoriam Lillian – English Version).