Our face has more than 40 muscles that control our facial expression. All of these facial muscles are closely linked to our emotional life and react unconsciously to emotions that occur in us.
We are all born with an intuitive ability to interpret the facial expressions of another person, but we mostly do it on an unconscious level. By learning what muscles correspond to different emotions, we can learn to consciously interpret a person's emotional expressions without saying any words. Through training, we can also learn to perceive these secondary changes in the face.
In the western world, this was proven through Charles Darwin's research in the late 1800s and then through Paul Ekman, a professor of psychology, who repeated much of Darwin's research in the 1960s and up to the present. Both of these researchers have been able to chart how closely linked our emotional life is with the movements of the facial muscles. The movement of the facial muscles takes place in a fraction of a second. Paul Ekman has since the 1960s charted the micro expressions in his face and has written about ten books on the subject.
In China, a mapping of the muscles of the face linked to emotions has been going on for several thousand years. They studied and mapped the facial expressions and the lines in the face that arise in the muscular movements. If we often find ourselves in a specific state of emotion for a long period of time, eventually a permanent line is formed in the skin due to tension in a specific facial muscle. Since the lines have been manifested in the skin, the facial interpreter can read how long the emotion has been manifesting. Feelings that we have, without doing something about or learning how to handle constructively hamper our ability to progress in our lives.
By knowing what feelings these lines are formed from, we can read our conscious and unconscious emotional and behavioral patterns. We are given through this awareness the ability to change our way of reacting, thinking and acting. When inhibitory emotions are released, the corresponding facial muscles stop repeating their spontaneous movements and the line in the skin will be dulled and sometimes almost disappear or completely disappear. Even the actual structure of the face can change over time when the emotional life changes. Long-term tension in the facial muscles leads to stronger muscles. The muscles attach to the bone structure of the face and sometimes bone tissue is also built as a result of increased muscle strain.
One can say that Chinese face reading is the psychology of Chinese medicine. Culturally they were not talking about emotions in Chinese medicine in ancient times, but they were well aware of how emotions affected the physical body. Instead, they spoke of spiritual states that influenced the physical body in various phases of life. Through this diagnostic tool, you could also treat both body and mind with the techniques that are part of Chinese medicine.
Today, there is a large amount of literature in Chinese medicine that treat our emotions. This development is largely due to the fact that Chinese medicine is also practiced throughout the western world, where the psychological approach is a natural and important part of the treatment.
Face reading also includes reading signs of physical health, which can be read in skin color and other markings in the different parts of the face. For the ancient physician, the art of reading faces, in addition to pulse and tongue diagnosis, was a very important diagnostic method in Chinese medicine. The doctor was traditionally a man and a man was not allowed to touch a female patient. At the clinic, the doctor instead had a statue that the female patient used to point out and explain where she was in trouble. Because the pointing at the statue showed only the area in which the problem was involved, the doctor had to use other diagnostic methods than palpation to determine which organs and which tissue involved in the problem. By studying the face's color changes, markings, swellings and insufficient areas, the doctor could assess the current physical state of health.
The knowledge of face reading is used in several areas and not just within medicine. It was used in business to value business capacity and it was used to see if two people were compatible for a future with each other to build a family. But this was no general knowledge that anyone could learn. It was taught orally within a family lineage from father to son and not generally shared.
Lillian Pearl Bridges, who lives in the United States, is today considered the world-leading expert in Chinese face reading. Lillian has originated from one of the few family lines that have proceeded the knowledge for generations. As a five year old, she began sitting beside her grandmother Mary Chen Lowe, who in turn had learned the art of face reading from her father. That a woman was allowed to learn face reading was very rare but her father made an exception and taught the art to all his children, both to Mary Chen Lowe and her brothers.
With her academic foundation as Professor of Oriental Medicine and degree in Psychology, Lillian has spent her last 30 years interpreting the ancient texts and documenting all the oral information that has been passed on within her family for many generations. In her research, she has brought together ancient oral tradition from China with modern western psychology and physiology. Through her book Face Reading In Chinese Medicine and through her lectures and workshops around the world, she allows the knowledge of face reading to live on to future generations.
Video with Lillian Pearl Bridges:
I have studied with Lillian Pearl Bridges since 2006 and in 2013 I deepened my knowledge of the subject by studying at the Master Face Reading Program at Lotus Institute, USA. I am now also an assistant teacher in her international education program.
The services I offer as a certified Master Face Reader are private consultations, lectures and education for therapists and workshops for organizations and staff groups.
Eva-Marie Janelo has been working on health and rehabilitation since 1994.