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Reading Between the Lines: The Art of Facial Diagnosis

By: Sonya Patel DAOM, Dipl.OM(NCCAOM), FABORM

For thousands of years, the Chinese have diagnosed people by looking at their faces. Much can be revealed by facial observation such as illness, energy blockage (qi stagnation), energy deprivation (qi deficiency), fertility problems, emotional history and even diabetes. Traditional Chinese masters look at the skin color, wrinkles, area of wrinkles, and skin thickness to diagnosis.

A Face Map to the Body

Wrinkles on the face can tell you about your health and emotional well-being.

  • Horizontal Forehead wrinkles - Possibly a history of grief, or possibly some intestine problems, i.e. chronic constipation
  • Vertical wrinkle between the eyes - Easily irritated or annoyed
  • Horizontal line between the eyes - Pancreas line - If the line is:
    White: hypoglycemia
    Purple: hyperglycemia
    Green: insulin/diabetes
    Red: inflammation
  • Wrinkles curving down from the corner of the eye to the cheek - Sadness/possibly grief
  • Wrinkles curving upwards from the corner of the eye to the eyebrow - Happiness
  • Horizontal wrinkles above the lips- History of hysterectomy
  • Vertical wrinkles above the lips- History of smoking or drinking from straw frequently.

Colors of the Face

  • Red/Purple - Blood stagnation, pain in the body
  • Green - Live or Gallbladder problems; possibly other cancerous problems.
  • Yellow - Jaundice, Liver, Gallbladder illness
  • Brown- “Liver Spots”, less energy flowing in the liver and gallbladder channels. These people may suffer with something simple as sciatic pain to more complex, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Dark spots on the lower lips can indicate constipation and digestive tract problems.
  • Black- Kidney (possible failure or on dialysis). People will blackness under their eyes could have fertility problems or early menopause. Darkness under the eyes could also be a sign of B vitamin deficiency.
  • Pink- Normal
  • Bright red- Broken capillaries; indication that the heart is not circulating blood efficiently. Tip of the nose redness indicates high blood pressure.
  • Dark Purple- High blood pressure or rosacea.
  • Grey- Swollen, Hard liver (cirrhosis or the liver or scleroderma)
  • White- Over consumption of dairy
  • Pale- Asthma, allergies, lung weakness 

Cosmetic acupuncture and organic face products can help correct cosmetic and constitutional imbalances. Essential oils paired with the right carrier oil base can penetrate the skin and help systematically.

Bridges, L. (2013, February). Facial Diagnosis Lecture. Southwest Symposium, Austin, Texas.

Patel, S. and Graham, L. (2007, May). Cosmetic Acupuncture-Part I Lecture. TCM Specialists. Clearlake City, Texas.

Wakefield, E. (2006, May). Advanced Constitutional Facial Acupuncture Renewal Certification Lecture. Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, New York, New York.

About the Author:
Sonya Patel DAOM, Dipl.OM(NCCAOM), FABORM Sonya Patel, LAC, Dipl OM (NCCAOM), FABORM is certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine and brings over 17 years of experience to her practice Mirvana in Sugar Land, Texas. Sonya earned valedictory status in both undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Houston and the American College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine. She is one of the nation’s few to be able to practice in China, where she completed her residency. Sonya is one of Houston’s first to be credentialed in facial acupuncture renewal and fertility acupuncture. She brings a unique and unmatched expertise in facial rejuvenation by using painless techniques with a holistic approach. She is a fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine and works closely with area reproductive endocrinologists. Sonya  frequently speaks at local hospitals and conferences. Sonya is a researcher and proud to be published in medical journals with leading doctors from MD Anderson Cancer Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, Memorial Hermann, and Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Hospital in the acupuncture and nutrition fields. Sonya has been recognized by New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering to treat cancer patients for side effects without inhibiting their medical regimen. Sonya received her Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) from ACTCM in California. She is the co-author of TCM Clinical Handbook for Fertility and has written articles for newspapers and magazines. Sonya has been featured on radio shows and often treats celebrities, musicians, and athletes. 

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