Ancient Chinese medicine dates back over 3000 years. Originally the ancient medicine man worked for The Emperor and cared for the Empress and the Emperor’s concubines. But the medicine man was not allowed to touch the Emperor’s women. So originally face reading became a valuable diagnostic tool and in some practices is still used in this way.
The Emperor’s women had a statue, and when they saw the medicine man they would point to where they felt unwell on the statue and the medicine man would then look – but NOT touch – and see what the patterns of her face could tell him about diseases she would be more likely to experience.
So for many, many years the medicine men had studied patterns. They studied patterns of nature, the seasons, the life cycle; they also studied patterns of disease. They studied patterns of everything.
They noticed that people with certain diseases had certain types of faces. For example, people with particular diseases had a particular shape to their face and a key look to their features.
They looked at size, shape and position of features on each person’s face.
Not only did certain faces show patterns with certain diseases, but those same faces also displayed certain behavioural patterns and emotional patterns. There were gifts and challenges that went with each face type.
The ancient Chinese named these types according to The Five Elements because it was a universal language that could be understood equally by the rich and the poor people. It was the language of nature and metaphors that could offer layers of richness and meaning.
So there was The Water person (Kidney & Bladder), The Wood person (Liver & Gall Bladder), The Fire person (Heart & Small Intestine), The Earth person (Stomach & Spleen) & finally the Metal person (Lung & Skin).
These personality types also linked to the following emotional triggers; Water links to fear, Wood links to anger, Fire links to rejection, Earth links to worry and Metal links to grief.
Chinese face reading, as well as being a diagnostic tool, also became a personality profiling tool; a psychological branch of Chinese medicine if you like. Just as today we use profiles such as Myer Briggs or DISC profiling, we can also look at someone’s face to understand what behavioural and emotional patterns may be in their life. It is not fortune telling nor is it a form of psychic reading but rather the eastern wisdom of studying patterns. It comes from a place of compassion, recognising each individual’s perfect design. Every quality is perfect when it is in balance, but too much or too little of any quality can allow that quality to show it’s shadow.
Everyone’s design is perfect for them and when any quality displays its shadow it is about reducing the temporary ‘excess’ or ‘depletion’ of that quality to bring it back into the range that serves them.
The Chinese say that our elements are in balance when we come into this world and they are in balance when we leave this world, but the rest of the time we are all seeking to ride that wave and maintain our balance. So at any one time there may be an element speaking to us to seek some extra care. It may speak to us through physical conditions or it may speak to us through things that happen in our life, or patterns that we may get tripped up by.
There are many layers to The Five Elements and whilst the study of The Five Elements can be a lifelong journey, much insight can also be gained by just dipping your toe into this beautiful eastern philosophy.