Monday, July 29, 2013

Your Face Is the Thumbprint to Your Health

I get the best topics from my students, not only because they challenge me to no end but because they are thirsty to know. I was given permission to share a little of one of my lovely ladies' projects over Chinese Face Mapping. It's the art of diagnosing internal problems by taking into consideration the location of blemishes, lines, spots , and wrinkles in particular zones of the face. This practice is a part of a wider spectrum of alternative medicines & therapies called Traditional Chinese Medicine, also known as TCM. Facial Reading has been traced back to the 6th century and is based on the belief that our face is a thumbprint of our internal health.  It's very similar to Reflexology where the organs can be accessed through areas of the foot.  While we as skin therapists can't diagnose someone, this can give us the ability to educate our clients and help them take preventative measures.

So how is it done? Well the belief is that all of the organs are interdependent on one another and of course skin being the largest one. So each are grouped into certain categories that represent a circle of influence. The five categories are represented by five elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood.
The organs are represented in the graph. And you'll also notice that the green arrows corresponding to the other elements symbolize a connection. An example would be that the liver affects the heart (indicated by the green arrow) and if there is something wrong with the heart it can be reflected by the nose (shown by the smaller colored arrows).  Again, all the organs have connections. When one is challenged, it's affects others, and is represented through others also.

I want to give a specific shoutout to my very brilliant student, Amy Ford for the following information! I got permission to use it and since it's right on the money, I thought I'd share what each markings in each zone of the face could mean.

The forehead is linked with the fire element.
The upper part of the forehead is associated with the bladder, the middle with stomach digestion, and the lower with the small intestine. Sensitivity on the middle of the forehead, for example, could relate to poor diet and sluggish digestion, which may be a result of eating too late at night. If there is irritated, red skin on the top of the forehead, it could relate to poor urination or a bladder infection. Spots and lines on the forehead point to congestion from too much oily food or dairy. After a heavy meal that is stressful on your digestion (meat, dairy, bread, pasta, grains, and poor food combining or overeating) or a stressful day, lines on the forehead can appear more pronounced

Your nose corresponds to the earth element, indicating a connection to the stomach, spleen and pancreas network. Symptoms of internal discord typically show up as a pimple on the tip or side of your nose. 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.
Redness, puffiness and breakouts around the nostrils and lower cheek indicate too many dairy products, which produce mucus and congestion in the lungs. You may be on the verge of a bronchial infection if this area suddenly becomes red and dry.

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. 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. You may notice that the breakouts occur on opposite sides of the chin each month in unison with the particular ovary that happens to be ovulating. 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.

The middle of the chin, however, relates to the elimination process of the bowel. If you have a breakout or irritation there, this would suggest a current imbalance, whereas those people with a permanent dimple may have a hereditary weakness in this area. If the chin is red and swollen, it may mean that there is a structural weakness in the organs, candida or stuck energy in the abdomen. 

In Chinese philosophy, the under-eye area relates to the kidney/liver area, which is the half moon-shaped area under the eye. Dark circles may indicate your elimination is weak. The darkness can reflect excess toxins and the need for a system cleanse, or simply that the body would benefit from more water to aid its functions. If the area is puffy and blue, you are working too hard, depleting your adrenals, eating too much rich food and causing an imbalance in the fluid balance of the body. However, if the area is dark brown and has a congested look, your liver is showing signs of "liver energy stagnation". This could mean that your liver is stressed, possibly through pent-up frustration or anger, or rich food and alcohol. If this indication is combined with one-sided headaches, jaw tension and two vertical lines between the eyebrows, you could find that fat and hormone metabolism is affected. If the two vertical lines from the end of the eyebrows are combined with two smaller hook-shaped lines, this means that the gall bladder is also showing stress.

Look at your ears, and if they are redder than the skin on your face, you are overworking your adrenal glands. 

The cheek zone relates to the lungs. If you notice changes on the hollowing of your cheeks, it could be a sign that you're not breathing properly. The cheeks can be red and irritated and may feel spongy to the touch if you tend to have sinus congestion, asthma, or live in a polluted area. Any of these symptoms may also mean there could be increased sensitivity to certain active skincare products, so patch testing and the minimalist approach are advisable.

If there are broken capillaries, this could be from stress of the lungs associated with smoking. Dehydration over the cheeks may be the result of a recent cold or reaction to cold, sinus and flu medication. If you have persistent breakouts across your lower cheeks, it may be because this area relates to the gums and back teeth. The breakouts in this area that can’t be explained otherwise may be caused by dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, gingivitis or perhaps irritated wisdom teeth. A trip to the dentist could be the solution.

People who are prone to respiratory allergies or asthma have a tendency to have a reddish, scaly eczema, a slight rash or slight bluish-green hue along the right cheek. This indicates too much heat or inflammation in the respiratory system, or a lack of oxygen from bronchial constriction.

The mouth shows the energy of the stomach and intestines, and the lower part of the face relates to the lower abdomen.

The lips correspond to your intestines; swollen or red lips indicate inflammation and congestion in the digestive system, usually from overeating or poor food choices. 

Cracked, peeling and dry lips mean your system is dehydrated. You will notice dry lips also accompany constipation. This can be caused by eating a lot of dry food, such as bread, chips, crackers or salty foods. Dry lips also indicate that you are very low in healthy probiotics in your gut and that the ratio of good and bad bacteria in your system is out of balance. Cracking lips are also a sign of gastric stress, so this should be considered if you’ve been worried about something recently.

The top of your upper lip reveals how your stomach is functioning, and the bottom of the upper lip shows the condition of your small intestine. If the lower lip protrudes, this shows a sluggish colon. A yellow color around the mouth and lack of tone in the mouth indicate that the digestive energy is weak and a change of diet and enzymes are needed. On the other hand, a green color indicates that the liver is the prime cause of the problem.

This "treatment" is not as popular in Western medicine and so it's harder to find a specialist who performs treatments like Face Mapping. So with so few in practice, the legitimacy of the treatments haven't been scientifically proven. However, their is one specific study that correlates with Face Mapping in particular. Several prestigious Western medical journals, including American Journal of Cardiology, have reported a high correlation between a diagonal earlobe crease and coronary artery disease in people under age 70. So what's to say that if one study is correct that there isn't any connection with the rest!

So how else are estheticians using this information?
 Skincare professionals have utilized this practice and has even specified it to help clients understand the reason for their breakouts. This can also help your skin care professional customize your treatment and you with choosing the products you use! I've included a picture and graph for you to do your own reading. So if breakouts keep reoccurring in specific places, check it out. Again, this isn't a for sure diagnosis but could help point out what might be happening with your body.

Want to know more? Read on here.