What do you see when you look in the mirror? According to Chinese medicine, your face is a window to your health. Your forehead, nose, chin, right cheek, left cheek: Each of these five face zones gives you clues to what is going on inside your body–if you know what to look for! Read on to decode what your face reveals about you.
How Traditional Chinese Medicine Reads the Body to Detect Disease
Most people don’t realize that their face provides information about what’s going on beneath the surface. Your body speaks a unique language to communicate the imbalances within it. Chinese medicine has mastered the art and science of reading the body’s language over its five thousand year practice. Each part of your face reflects a different element from the Chinese 5-Element network (fire, earth, water, metal, and wood), which in turn, corresponds to a particular organ grouping. Your reflection offers visual cues to what may be happening within your internal systems–such as your heart, stomach, hormones and even your mind and spirit.
In some situations visual cues will immediately alert you of an issue, and you can take measures immediately. But the real value of self-inspection is in detecting subtle imbalances and dealing with them preventively through diet, herbal supplementation, and lifestyle practices. By reading your body, you can take care of small problems before they become big health issues.
According to Chinese medicine, the forehead corresponds to the fire element. This is associated with the heart and small intestine organ network, as well as the mind and spirit.
Forehead: Fire Element – Heart/Small Intestine
When examining your forehead, look for redness or small blood vessels that appear as discoloration, which could indicate a heart problem. Skin discoloration could also be caused by a recent emotionally-charged experience, such as a breakup or loss. It is common for people whose emotions are regularly in turmoil to have a constant furrow between their eyebrows.
A heart attack can often be foretold by a subtle bluish-green hue on the forehead. If you have discoloration on your forehead accompanied by heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, and tingling or pain in your left arm, schedule an appointment with a cardiologist or visit an emergency room, if necessary.
Your nose corresponds to the earth element, indicating a connection to the stomach, spleen and pancreas network.
Nose: Earth Element – Spleen/Pancreas/Stomach
Symptoms of internal discord typically show up as a pimple on the tip or side of your nose. Think back to your meals from the previous day. Did you eat a lot of spicy, deep-fried, fatty, or rich foods? How about chocolate? If the answer is “yes,” your choice of cuisine could be the problem. As a result, you may suffer from indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea.
Broken capillaries or redness across the bridge of the nose could reveal alcohol abuse, or it may simply mean excessive worry and stress, which taxes your earth element network. I had a patient who would de-stress from her taxing executive job with alcohol and sweets, and her nose always gave these indiscretions away. I recommended she calm her nerves in healthier ways, like meditation and other stress-releasing techniques.
The chin area is related to the water element, which is internally associated to your kidney and bladder organ network, including the hormonal system and glands.
Chin: Water Element – Kidney/Bladder
Blemishes, discoloration and dark patches of skin around the chin and mouth could indicate problems within the kidneys or bladder. Recurrent acne breakouts around your chin may signify a hormonal imbalance. The problem is most often due to the body producing excess estrogen or testosterone and tends to be coupled with irregular menstruation in women and prostate symptoms in men.
Be sure to also look at your philtrum, the indentation just above your lips. This small area relates to the uterus and ovaries in women and the prostate and genitals in men. Horizontal lines, blemishes or discoloration across the philtrum may indicate infertility issues due to problems such as endometriosis or uterine fibroid cysts.
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