Chinese Medicine: what your face says about your health

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Your face says a lot about your health, says Jacqueline Rietveld, an expert in Chinese Medicine. Striking features can reveal that elements such as wood and metal require extra attention. “Thin and stiff lips could be an indication of poor Earth energy.”

Decreased functioning of the eyes is an indication of a disturbed wood element. Such as cataracts, nearsightedness or farsightedness, too much or too little tear fluid and glaucoma.

The Five Elements

Face reading is a way to learn about the constitution of the five elements in you. Chinese Medicine knows the elements wood, fire, earth, metal and water. They determine, among other things, the functioning of our organs and tissues. For example, the liver and gallbladder are covered by wood and the lungs and large intestine by metal. The different parts of your face reflect which elements in you need extra attention to feel vital.

What do you see in the mirror?

What catches the eye when you look at your face? Or someone else’s? The shape, color or movements? Distinctive features on the face can be an indication that an element needs attention. Such an aspect invites to investigate how the organs belonging to that element function. And whether the basic emotion associated with the element is sufficiently balanced. The Chinese element theory is a holistic view: physical functioning and mental-emotional aspects are related. Below you can read which parts of the face form the entrances to the five elements.

Element wood: eyes

The liver and gallbladder open in the eyes, and thus the wood element. Regular doctors also look at the shine and color of the whites of the eyes to rule out any liver disease. But from a Chinese point of view, the size, position and functioning of the eyes are also indicators of the condition of the wood energy. Large, clear eyes, for example, testify to a lot of wood energy. That could be a strength in someone’s genetic predisposition, but it could also indicate an overactive wood element.

That is why one must always look at the overall picture: does this facial feature match the natural state of this person? If not, the strength of wood may be tempered a bit. For example, when it leads to a lot of anger (the basic emotion of wood) or tense muscles, which are controlled by the liver energy. Reduced functioning of the eyes is also an indication of a disturbed wood element. Such as cataracts, nearsightedness or farsightedness, too much or too little tear fluid and glaucoma.

Even though there is nothing medically wrong with the liver, the energy of the organ may be reduced or even exhausted. This affects not only the condition of the eyes, but also things like digestion, menstruation, physical and mental flexibility and the ability to make decisions.

Element metal: nose

Your nose says something about your metal element. The size and shape of the nose are an indication of an innate strong or sensitive metal element. Just go by your intuition: a round nose probably evokes different associations in you than a pointy nose. Is someone’s nose noticeably big? Then the metal element naturally demands attention.

Metal energy controls the lungs, colon, and ability to process grief. Small children who regularly catch a cold are also often predisposed to bronchitis and/or intestinal problems. And it is no coincidence that one of the symptoms of the Covid-19 virus is the loss of smell: nose and lungs are connected.


Element Earth: Lips

Dry lips, thick or thin lips and the way lips move: these are all indicators of the Chinese element of earth. Humidity and bulges are indications of abundant earth energy in a person. Earth energy is important for the stomach, spleen, pancreas and the capacity for compassion and care for others. But when the earth element predominates, it can lead to things like diabetes, obesity, worrying and sacrificing yourself for others. Thin and stiff lips can, in turn, be an indication of deficient earth energy.

Element fire: tongue

Have your heart on your sleeve. This saying does not exist for nothing. When reading the face, ask someone to stick out their tongue. The reaction to this immediately says something about the fire elementFire deals with matters of the heart, both physically and emotionally (love, joy). Do you stick your tongue out completely without hesitation? Then you are probably a candid person. Your heart is easily open to external stimuli. That in itself is a positive characteristic, but here too the right balance is necessary.

Being and staying healthy is related to being able to guard your own boundaries within that frankness, without becoming rigid in it. This also applies on a physical level: do you limit stress and unhealthy food?

People who are not so quick to show the back of their tongue, are often instinctively careful with their fire energy. Stimulating the fire element can then help to get more heart energy and experience more joy in life.

Element water: oren

Striking ears are reason to investigate the condition of the water element. Water is the element under which the kidneys and bladder fall, as well as the basic emotion of fear. Ears can stand out because of their size or shape, but also because they do not function optimally. Someone with noticeably small ears may naturally have less flowing water than someone with large ears.

Hearing problems, balance disorders, ear infections or tinnitus are examples of ear complaints that can indicate an imbalance in the water element. Water energy provides inner peace and the physical ability to survive and reproduce.

Read face as a turn signal

Of course, everything you notice when reading the face doesn’t mean there are problems with a particular element. You can also simply have large ears or a pointed nose without this being a sign of imbalance. Good thing, too. When reading the face, it is important to look at what you think suits a person’s overall physique and which facial features deviate from it. It is a nice indicator to investigate possible underlying causes of physical or psychological complaints. And to find a holistic remedy if necessary.


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