Facial Physiognomy

With facial physiognomy, we are looking at the shape of the face, lines, texture, coloration and other aspects in specific areas of the face. While many will assume that face reading started in ancient Greece as the term physiognomy comes from the Greek words physis and gnomon, it has also been used for centuries by Ayurvedic and Acupuncture practitioners as well as herbalists, naturopaths and other natural health professionals around the globe. Physis means the nature while gnomon means to judge or interpreter. With Facial Physiognomy, we are judging characteristics or interpreting those characteristics on the face specifically and these are used to help give us clues of the overall state of the being based on correlations that have been seen over thousands of years.

While Facial Physiognomy does not provide a medical diagnosis (we never provide allopathic diagnoses in natural medicine), it does give us subtle hints to various things going on within the mind and body. While yes, we use similar terms to the western medical system, it is because we are talking about the same systems, though we do look at them completely differently. This is also, in SchaOn’s belief, very ingrained in human nature and where many people’s first impressions of someone comes from. Does their face look vibrant and healthy, or is it dull and dark? Our faces tell us so much of what is going on with a person, and subconsciously we analyze this and make judgments, “Is this individual worth getting to know? Are they going to be around for many years? Are they a bitter or angry person?” The art of facial physiognomy takes it a step further helping to connect the dots, or lines, of what we literally have written on our face to what is going on internally based on a holistic understanding of the being. We see a reflection of the entire human body within the face, similar to what is found in foot reflexology or auricular analysis.

Below is a short list of some of the things we look at. This is by no-means an all encompassing list. Like all natural medicine analysis tools, it is pretty much an art form that is cultivated over years of practice and study as you are not looking at just one level of information, but many different layers and systems which in turn helps to tell the story of why and how the person got to where they are now, and more importantly, what steps can be taken to create balance and harmony.


Coloration of the Skin

The coloration or hue of the skin is a very general, mostly overall analysis of what is going on for the entire system. For example, redness in the cheeks can hint to some type of excess heat issues, inflammation or infectious process going on in the area of the lungs. We see a really good example of this during the colder months when being outside, a persons cheeks get red after being in the cold. This lets us know that the system has been moving extra heat to the lungs. Over extended periods of time, this depletes the energy in that area making it more susceptible to other things. Obviously, with the coloration or hue of the face, it is on a scale within the individuals race.

  • White: Insufficiency in the related segments
  • Yellow: Need to look at the Liver and Bacterial Pathology
  • Orange: Need to look at the Liver, Viral Pathology
  • Light Brown: 1st degree of degenerative processes
  • Brown: 2nd degree of degenerative processes
  • Grey: 3rd degree of degenerative processes
  • Red: Inflammation, infections, excess heat
    • Red or Violet in the Chin: Viral Toxicosis
  • Green: Chemical Poisoning
  • Blue: Autonomic Dysfunctions


Elemental Zones of the Face

If you’re noticing a lot of signs in a specific quadrant of the face, you want to think about one of the elements being off for the individual. This can be very helpful when looking at someone based on the Ayurveda Doshas.

  • Upper Right Quadrant: Air Element issues
  • Upper Left Quadrant: Fire Element issues
  • Lower Left Quadrant: Water Element issues
  • Lower Right Quadrant: Earth Element issues
  • Center ‘Quadrant’: Ether Element issues
  • Upper 1/3rd: Vata issues
  • Middle 1/3rd: Pitta issues
  • Lower 1/3rd: Kapha issues


Lines of the Face

Lines on the face also help to give us clues into the state of the person over a longer period of time. These lines or wrinkles talk about continued stresses as the wrinkle or line forms over time.

  • Lines on the Forehead: often called “thinker wrinkles”. These people think a lot, which often causes stress and tension in the spine and intestines.
  • Lines between the eye brows: often called “fighter wrinkles”. These people often have had to fight their way through life and this also causes pressure on the cervical spine (neck) as these people have a harder time being flexible in their thoughts and seeing above the horizon.
  • Lines above upper lip: This is the area of the stomach. The stomach is very sensitive when it comes to pH balance, and people with these lines often have “pursed” lips and tend to be bitter and sharp.
  • Lines or cracks on the lips: The upper lip talks about the small intestines, and the lower is the large intestines. Proper hydration is important, as well as overall digestive health.
  • Lines under the eyes: These lines often talk about a long standing weakness of the energy of the kidneys (adrenals) and bladder.


Additional Resources