A glowing, fresh complexion makes a person appear healthy, we make that connection without techniques such as face mapping. A clear, even tone appears vibrant, and full of life. Just think of a young child, or a yoga instructor perhaps. When I imagine great skin this is what comes to mind. Ruddy cheeks, a smile and sparkling clear eyes, all on a body that is ready for action.
This association is natural, but for some reason we don’t tend to use it the other way around….when associating skin imperfections on the face to internal imbalances.
If a healthy, bright skin reflects a body in great working order, strong organs, immune system, circulation, digestion and more – then isn’t it natural that we look for ways to treat the internal problems which are manifesting on our face?
The body works with a number of interconnected systems, including the lymphatic, neurological, digestive, respiratory and more. They are all impacted by one another, so treating the body as a whole, and recognising symptoms in one place, as being linked to issues with another is the main idea behind ‘face mapping’.
Face mapping considers that pimples, rashes, discolouration, changes in pigmentation, uneven texture, broken capillaries and deep lines all signify something that is happening internally. The location of the external manifestation on the face correlates with an internal imbalance.
The Face Mapping theory stems from two ancient practices, Ayurvedic and Chinese Traditional Medicines. They bring slightly different angles to face mapping. We will take a look at each in turn, before going through the face maps in detail.
“Face mapping goes back thousands of years. A lot of it comes simply from clinical experience. Nowadays, you have all types of blood tests and scans, but back then, doctors would have to give a diagnosis by looking, touching, and asking questions.”
Talking about the yellowing of the eyes due to jaundice: “That was true 2000 years ago, and it’s still true today” ~ Dr. Dan Hsu, specialist in Eastern medicine.
Chinese medicine believes that meridian channels of energy run across our bodies and faces. The face is thought to have 8 major meridian pathways, which are directly connected to various internal organs and energy centres.
Massage techniques can be used at various specific points on the face to re-balance energy flow, and support the healing of the connected internal organs. It is very similar to what we might recognise in reflexology, where the feet are massaged in a certain points that are thought to correspond with the organs.
Trigger point massage, acupressure or meridian point massage as well as lymphatic drainage massages can all be used to stimulate the glands, revitalise the face and support the internal healing process.
If pain is felt when pressure is applied to a point on the face, Chinese medicine traditionally states that this is an indicator of a block in the flow of Qi along the meridian pathway. External skin problems, such as pimples are considered an indication that the organs require some form of detoxification to support their return to health. The face will be mapped in detail below.
A great complexion is therefore considered to show a healthy flow of ‘Qi’, both Yin and Yang, throughout the entire body, as well as a well-functioning system of internal organs.
Ayurveda to characterises individuals based on their energetic type, or dosha. There are 3 doshas, which are represented by different elements. A person is typically a combination of these, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Ayurvedic face mapping associates each section the face with a different dosha.
Each area is associated with a different flow of energy and emotion, and skin imperfection in a certain area are therefore thought to be connected to an imbalance that could be healed through various means, explained in the detailed face map below.
Some mapping practices claim that the face can even be ‘read’ to:
show you why you tend to think, feel and behave in certain ways. It discloses what patterns of emotion you’ll struggle with, your personal strengths and challenges, the people you’ll be attracted to, the work you’ll enjoy. But most of all it shows you a way to finally fall in love with who you are, and to extend that compassion to everyone else in your life as well ~ Jean Haner, The Wisdom of The Face
Although Jean admits that it is not a simple task:
There is no ‘cookie cutter’ approach to face reading. You cannot look at one aspect of someone’s face and declare you know all about them. The features of the face must be considered like parts of a complex tapestry that weave together to make up the unique personality that you are.
Face mapping is unsurprisingly used in many salons, who offer tailor made solutions for an individual based on the conditions appearing on the skin. As Dermalogica founder and skin professional, Jane Wurwand explains below:
Many consumers buy products for very impulsive reasons. Like the fragrance, or the funky name, or the whimsical packaging, or they buy it because their best friend likes it. This is fine if you’re buying a lipstick or a pair of shoes, but skin care must be tailored to you personally in order to be effective.
Skin care is of course an important part of maintaining a healthy glow, but this seems to be ignoring the main point of skin mapping. Treating the visible symptoms on the face is a small part of the bigger issue, that of healing the internal issue which is the root cause of the symptom.
While Ayurvedic and Ancient Chinese maps are not identical, there is a huge correlation between their suggestions on correlations between an area of the face and an internal condition. We have therefore combined the maps into checklist one for ease of use.
The forehead is thought to be connected to the gall bladder and liver. Breakouts in this area are therefore connected to the digestive system, and may indicate that your liver is overloaded with toxins. This can be alleviated by ensuring that you get adequate rest, and incorporating liver supporting foods into your diet. Drinking water with lemon first thing in the morning, as well as adding dandelion tea and garlic to your diet are great suggestions.
Horizontal lines on the forehead are sometimes known as ‘worry lines’, because of our tendancy to furrow the brow under pressure. This could also be a sign of eating too much sugar or fat. Try to maintain a healthy balanced diet to help prevent breakouts here.
Chinese medicine often looks at the right and left sides individually. For that reason they consider a vertical line between the eyebrows on the right side as an indicator of a weak live, and on the left side a symptom of a weak spleen. This could be due to suppressed emotions, especially anger.
Pimples in this area is thought to be worsened by consuming alcohol and greasy foods.
The eyes are thought to manifest issues with the joints, intestinal problems as well as thyroid imbalance.
A ring of discolouration around the iris may indicate high levels of cholesterol.
Small lines seen radiating from the outer corners of the eyes, also known as crows feet are a natural part of ageing, but may also indicate a weak liver.
Deep bags or dark circles under the eyes are an indication of water-retention and kidneys under pressure. Dark circles may also be exacerbated by poor circulation.
It is possible to support the kidneys by increasing your intake of water, incorporating spices such as cinnamon into your diet, and chewing your food thoroughly!
A prominent temporal vein may be an external indicator of high blood pressure. Meditation can help to reduce emotions such as anger and anxiety which may contribute to a high blood pressure.
External problems on the cheeks, such as patchiness and discolouration may be an indicator of a slow metabolism. They are also said to be connected to the lungs. To support the internal causes of these symptoms, deep breathing exercises could be used.
Chinese medicine goes further to say that the left cheek may be treated by consuming more cooling foods, such as watermelon, while the right side could benefit from aerobic exercise.
A tender area at centre of cheek could be an indication of sinus congestion, but may also suggest digestive problems.
On a hygiene level, spots on the cheeks could also be connected to use of a cellphone, dirty pillowcases and touching the face with unclean fingers.
The nose is connected to the heart and blood. Congestion in this area could indicate the need for an increase in detoxifying foods. Reducing intake of alcohol, coffee and spicy foods may help, as could supplementing vitamin B in the diet.
A deep horizontal grove at top of nose is thought to show a susceptibility to allergies.
Deep vertical lines at the side of the mouth are thought to show an imbalance in the reproductive system.
The lower lip is said to show external signs of health in the intestines. Brown spots could indicate parasites in the colon, and a pale lower lip is a sign of anaemia. These issues can be helped by adding a probiotic to the diet, and increasing iron intake respectively.
The tongue is widely recognised as an indication of toxic build up in the body. The best time to check is in the morning. There are various symptoms, including a white coating and scalloped edges. Most of these can be alleviated by consuming a healthy balanced diet, with plenty of water.
Many women will have noticed a break out on the chin during menstruation, which denotes a clear correlation with the hormones. This can be helped by managing emotions, using meditation and yoga for example.
A deep groove on the chin is thought to be connected to feelings of grief, or frustration.
Breakouts on the neck can be connected to illness, or show that the body is fighting bacteria.
While face mapping looks at pimples, acne is often caused by complex issues. The following video talks about the use of face mapping in conjunction with other theories to treat acne.
While the ancient systems that face mapping are based around are complex, and the the face is broken down into all manner of zones and areas, the basic facts are the same across the board.
Hygiene, diet, exercise and an overall healthy lifestyle are required to create a fresh and glowing complexion. There is nothing new here. Meditation, rest, fruits, vegetables, water and plenty of physical activity will support the body, the internal organs and all of the connected systems. Your skin will act as a mirror to you inner health if you get this right.
What do you think? Are you an advocate of face mapping?
We would love to hear from you!
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