The eyes never lie and the face tells all. It is true that the eyes are the window to the soul and according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the face is the map which decodes its silent language. We’ve all experienced this in some way or another – non-verbal exchanges to others passing by, tired eyes exhibiting a sleepless night, and the basic idea of body language. We all know that the face is, in some way or another, a mirror to the outer world which showcases our inner realm.
Though this sounds all very esoteric and mystical, the basic underlying truth is that our exterior body is connected to our internal body.
This isn’t news to the ancient people of China. Traditional Chinese Medicine has sought to answer two basic questions; what is a human being and what is the Natural world? In this 5,000 plus year pursuit, it has discovered that they are one in the same. In other words, the human body is a biological being that is akin to Mother Earth – a microcosm if you will.
In this observation and discovery, we have since come to understand many things. One of those is that like our Planet, our body is also very interconnected. It is basic knowledge that the quality of our water affects the soil, which affects the food and eventually all living beings. Nature operates on this basic law of Cause and Effect.
Everything is Connected
What TCM understands that Western Medicine fails to is that our bodies work in the same way. What affects one organ affects the other, what affects one system ultimately affects the whole of the body. In Chinese Medicine, there are many philosophies which break this idea down. They include the basic law of Yin and Yang, the Five Elements, the Organ Systems and the Meridian Channels.
However, once again the unifying principle of these philosophies is that everything in the body is interconnected.
This is demonstrated everywhere in Nature, and also in the body. According to the traditional healing wisdom in China, as well as in many other cultures, the body is connected through energetic channels known as meridians in which energy flows to and from organ systems in the body.
According to TCM the human body, and all of the natural world is comprised of a bio-electrical and vibrational energy current. In other words, the physical body exists due to an energetic life force that animates the body, ensuring movement, breathe, brain activity, emotions and more.
What’s more is that all of this ancient wisdom is now scientifically backed. In science, this Qi energy is known as the piezoelectric current. It can be felt and experienced simply by flexing your muscles very intensely, then relaxing them. You will feel the energy circulating through your body. It is more than simple blood circulation; it is vital electrical energy that surges throughout the body. In fact, it is the same energy that is responsible for emotions and brain function.
Additional scientific discoveries have also proven the existence of the Meridians, which carry this Qi energy. According to research done at Seoul National University, the meridians do exist. The scientists there refer to them as the “primo-vascular system.” It has important roles in the cardiovascular system, and distinctly manages our entire calibrating (balancing) system, including our endocrine functions and metabolic system. 1
Though these phenomena extend into the concepts of Yin and Yang (balance or homeostasis), the functioning of meridian channels, and the entire metabolic system, the take home message is that we can no longer ignore the interconnected nature of our bodies.
Chinese Face Mapping
This data serves to bring us to the concept of Chinese Face Mapping, a basic concept which utilizes the interconnected circumstances of the body’s organs to properly balance our state of health.
In simpler terms, Face Mapping runs on the construct and understanding that everything on the outside is a direct reflection of what is going on inside. If we consider the connectedness of our organs via meridian channels, and the fact that our bodies have a self-regulating system, it makes sense that what affects one organ affects another.
Also, considering that our Skin is our largest organ, which make up the canvas of our external body, it only makes sense that if something is wrong with it something might also be wrong with the internal organs too. Disorders of the Skin like pimples, rashes, or change of skin color/tone can signify an internal issue that needs to be addressed in order to heal the skin and achieve optimal health.
More specifically, the face is one of the many microcosms in the body which guides us to the internal workings of the body. In acupuncture, a practitioner uses meridian lines and points to stimulate Qi flow. Similarly, in face mapping, each part of the face has a distinct “Qi point” or relationship to the internal organs.
Healing with Face Mapping
With all of this being said, let us take a look at how we can utilize this profound wisdom in everyday life to bring about balance and healing while improving physical beauty. Below are the specific areas of the face and their corresponding internal organ systems. We also cover what negatively affects these areas, what each condition represents, and how to balance them.
• Forehead – Small Intestine/Nervous System: The intestines are majorly influenced by our nervous system, in fact, our CNS determines digestive function. Deep horizontal lines across the forehead can indicate an overactive nervous system and poor intestinal health. It may specifically indicate leaky gut, SIBO, or a bacterial imbalance. Stress, work, and physical activity are Yang, which is the sympathetic nervous system. Therefore, you want to ensure you balance these with Yin activities like mediation, rest, relaxation, play and sleep. Other causes of problems here include poor food choices, particularly foods that feed pathogens like refined sugar and carbs but also any form of stress, alcohol consumption, and lack of time spent in Nature. Nourish this area by eating prebiotic and probiotic foods like raw cacao, colorful veggies, and sauerkraut. Also by chewing more thoroughly, eating only when relaxed, taking probiotics and digestive enzymes with meals, taking bone broth, collagen and glutamine to heal the small intestine and practicing yoga or Qi Gong to activate the parasympathetic Yin state.
• Forehead Corners – Kidney/Bladder: The corners of the forehead, by the temples, represent the Kidney and Bladder system. Grooves, lines, growths of progressive acne in this area indicates issues with the Kidney organ system. The kidneys are damaged by chronic fear and stress response (being overly reactive). Also, sugar, medications, chronic infections, inflammation and any excessive behavior weakens these glands. Take proactive steps to support the kidneys including decreasing stress, consuming healthy amounts of fluids (spring water, raw coconut water, herbal tea), get adequate rest, and utilize herbs like Lycium, parsley, Chanca Peidra and He Shou Wu.
• Between the Eyebrows – Liver: The liver rules detoxification, digestion and the emotions. If the body is overburdened with toxins, hard to digest processed foods and negative emotions, it shows up in this area. Also, each organ system has a corresponding emotion, for the liver it is anger. Perhaps this is why chronically angry and frustrated people are more likely to have a deep groove in their forehead between the eyes. Also, the liver is connected most strongly to the skin – vernally speaking, any skin issues indicate a liver imbalance so caring for your skin also helps the liver. Therefore, when decreasing your toxic intake, be sure to swap any toxic skincare products for organic, natural ones. To remedy this, care for your liver with foods and herbs like turmeric, leafy greens, bitters and healthy amounts of clean protein. Also, learn to relax, let go of chronic angry thoughts. Decrease your overall toxic load, meditate, take walks in nature, and do not take life too seriously.
• Eyebrows/Under Eye – Kidney/Adrenal: The kidney system is ruled by the water element; it manages all fluid within the body. It is also responsible for our stress response – when the body is dehydrated from poor habits or high stress, it adversely affects the kidneys and shows in the form of under-eye bags, dark circles, puffiness, or inflammatory issues around the eye brow ridge. Generally speaking, your eye brows should be darker than the hair on your head; if not, it could indicate a weak kidney system. To improve these issues, drink enough quality water – sip it throughout the day and do not chug water as it dilutes the kidneys. Also, stay away from sugar and excess caffeine, along with refined salt as these weaken the kidneys. Eat mineral rich foods, get good sleep and handle your emotional stress responses.
• Nose – Heart: Issues with the nose indicate problems with the heart. The left side of the nose corresponds to the left side of your heart, and vice versa. The whole area tells us a lot about the condition of the heart. Blackheads mean heart congestion, redness indicates blood sugar/blood pressure issues from excess alcohol, sugar and processed foods. Anger, grief, and stubbornness all damage the heart. You can help the heart by opening your heart emotionally, forgiving, and being willing to understand others. Also, improve cholesterol levels by lowering sugar and refined carb intake and eat healthier cholesterol. You can lower inflammation with omega-3 fatty acid foods like anchovy, sardines and cod liver oil. Great herbs for the heart include Reishi, Pearl and White Peony.
• Mouth/Chin – Colon/Stomach: Any issues with or around the mouth may indicate a problem with the colon and stomach. Ulcers in the mouth for example may indicate the same toxic heat in the stomach or stomach ulcers. The colon is obviously closely connected to the stomach as a major organ in the digestive system – it only makes sense that if things in the stomach are off, the colon will be affected. According to TCM, the most common issue that occurs in the stomach is one of dampness. Dampness is caused by prolonged periods of excess heat, interestingly enough caused by excess raw or cold foods. Because the stomach has to “heat” up our food to match our internal body temperature, when we eat strictly raw or cold foods, the stomach has to drive up HCL production to warm it up, eventually burning the stomach out, leading to dampness. Once an issue of dampness arises, there is often mucus in the colon, yeast and fungal infections and general poor digestive health. Eating too many raw foods or also too many sweet foods can cause problems in this area. If you have a dry mouth or lips, this might indicate a dryness issue in the body, which is the stage between excess heat and dampness. Before matters get worse, seek balance in your diet. Eat mostly warm, lightly cooked foods, which promote healthy HCL production and manage dryness and dampness. You can also remedy these issues with demulcent fiber like chia, marshmallow, slippery elm, and aloe vera.
• Cheeks – Stomach/Spleen: The Stomach and spleen work together to extract Qi from food, they rule digestion. The cheeks are close to the mouth, so much of what applies to the mouth can be applied here. The difference being that more often than not, issues of excess heat show up primarily on this area. When the cheeks are red, it is an indication that the stomach is experiencing inflammation. However, there are a few imbalances that can occur in this area. Most can be remedied by mastering the emotions and surprisingly by drinking enough fluid (only between meals 1-2 hours after eating and 15 minutes prior). The stomach system is the origin of fluids and requires an abundance of fluids, so do not underestimate the importance of good hydration!
In closing, the secret to true beauty comes from within: emotionally, mentally and physically. There is truly no beauty treatment that compares to good health, a good heart and a clear mind. If you desire real beauty, then ultimately, the goal is total wellness.