Reading faces in order to determine illness has a long history in Chinese medicine. Unfortunately, my school devoted only one three-hour lecture to the subject that I found inadequate to put the information to any good use. Fortunately, though, I recently finished a book by Lillian Bridges entitled “Face Reading in Chinese Medicine” that has sufficiently filled in the gaps. The information she offers in her book about analyzing faces is something that we may know innately, but she has broken it down by the various face components and has used the information that she has compiled over the past twenty something years to teach businessmen in areas of hiring and marketing, lawyers in facial characteristics to look for in picking juries, singles in choosing a mate, and physicians, nurses and oriental medicine practitioners on how to diagnose illness.
Face reading was a predominant means of diagnosis for illness in oriental medicine thousands of years ago when it was considered inappropriate for oriental doctors to palpate and examine female patients. Female patients would point to female nude statues to indicate where they were feeling discomfort and the doctor would assimilate this information with the facial diagnosis as well as tongue and pulse diagnosis. The Chinese still use face reading today but more as a fortune-telling tool. They believe that the face tells what has happened to the individual as well as where they will probably end up if they stay on the same path.
Face reading is not only the domain of the Chinese. Both Aristotle and Plato wrote about faces. Their writings introduced face reading to Europe. It was not a novel idea to our country either. Abraham Lincoln chose his cabinet members based on their faces and an out-of-print Maytag Sales Manual from the early 1900s taught how to read faces to sell appliances.
The Chinese believe that the face records traumatic events that occur during life. They have a saying that from birth to the age of 25 you have the face that your mother gave you; from 25 to 50 you have the face that you create and from 50 on you have the face that you deserve. Remember when your mother would tell you not to make that face because it would freeze that way? Well, she was right. Your make an expression over and over again, it will mark your face. If you don’t like a particular wrinkle that you have, put a piece of tape over the wrinkle and every time that you feel the tape pull, stop and ask yourself what emotion you are feeling at that moment. See if you can find insight into why you are feeling that particular emotion and ask yourself if it is something you need to feel or if it is an emotion you can release.