Similarly to foot reflexology, we can pay attention to, treat, and be informed by different areas on the face that pertain to different bodily organs and systems. While we are still mystified by the pressure point on the foot that has been touted to allegedly give an orgasm (still haven’t found it, can anyone tell us? … Asking for a friend) we are here to provide some clarity on the act of facial mapping.
Also like reflexology, facial mapping is rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This should come as no surprise, since we utilize pressure points and acupuncture in different areas of the body to correspond to other organs or systems—we do this similarly with facial mapping.
This is based on centuries of observation and the belief that our vital energy, known as qi, flows along pathways in the body to and from these organs or systems. Different areas of the face can show stress that is linked to specific organs. In fact, it is referred to as Mien Shiang, which literally translates as “facial reading.” So how do we read our own face?
It’s as easy as remembering a map. While the surface of the body is a lot more to consider, and we truly recommend studying Traditional Chinese Medicine modes of acupuncture and understanding our bodies’ energetic highways or meridians before trying to treat ourselves that way, the face is much more manageable to remember. Also, it will likely broadcast that something is wrong by way of pimples, dryness, or irritation. Let’s break it down.
The upper center of the forehead is linked to our small intestine. This is where we break down food from the stomach and absorb nutrients. When we aren’t breaking down our food properly, we suffer from uncomfortable or irregular bowel movements. We can also suffer from malnourishment or deficiencies, since we are not absorbing what we need from our food. If we break out here, or see some dryness or inflammation, or fine lines seem to deepen, we should take a better look at how and what we are eating.
Flanking the aforementioned center forehead, we have the sides of our forehead, which are tied to our bladder. When we are severely dehydrated, have an infection brewing, or perhaps a yeast overgrowth, we will experience irritation or some kind of upset in this area. We should take care by drinking plenty of water and adding electrolytes for boosted hydration absorption. Drinking pure cranberry juice or popping some cranberry concentrate pills could be helpful as well.
Above the Eyebrows and Above Upper Lip
While not necessarily close in proximity, both of these areas are linked to the heart. Redness, dryness, excess oil, and/or blockages like blackheads above the brows or rimming the upper lip indicate blockages within the heart. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is recognized that this can be emotional. However, it’s also vital to understand where our blood pressure and cholesterol levels land—this could be an indicator that it’s time for a checkup.
This area is affiliated with the gallbladder, a necessary organ to aid in digestion and detox. It stores bile produced by the liver. It’s nice and full until it’s time to eat, and then it juices itself like a fruit, sending bile into your digestive tract to help break down food, absorb nutrients, and get rid of unwanted compounds.
When we start breaking out along our temples in little red, inflamed bumps, or whiteheads, it could mean our gallbladder is compromised. This could result in further toxicity, weight gain due to our inability to break down fats, and malabsorption of nutrients that are fat-soluble. Symptoms could include nausea, diarrhea, pain, and loss of appetite. If these are occurring, see a doctor immediately.
This area is associated with the liver—our vital detox organ. Fine lines, redness, dryness, or breakouts could be a result of poor diet, overconsumption of alcohol, or even chronic negativity and stress.
Under the eyes is associated with our kidneys, so puffiness, tenderness, deep, dark circles, or irritation and dryness will give us a sign that we are fighting infection in this area. If we are retaining water or are dehydrated, or taking any medications that aren’t agreeing with us, we may experience kidney stress.
The apples of our cheeks are linked to the stomach. Red cheeks from inflammation, dryness, or rosacea might be linked to stomach inflammation, too much acid, and even not enough acid. Breakouts in this area could be linked to food allergies.
This area is affiliated with our pancreas, a vital organ in the digestive process. The pancreas produces a special enzyme juice that breaks down sugars, fats, and starches. It also produces vital hormones like insulin. This is an important area to keep an eye on if we have a prolonged poor diet or a family history of diabetes. Look for chronic dryness or cystic breakouts.
It’s not just “smoker’s mouth” that causes deep creases. The jowl area can sag from a breakdown of collagen due to smoking, sure, but this area is also associated with our lung health. Dullness, dryness, and cystic breakouts in this area can be a result of lung stress. If a persistent dry cough or shallow breath occurs, see a doctor.
Laugh Lines, aka Nasolabial Folds
These creases near the mouth that make us feel a bit like a ventriloquist doll are tied to our large intestine. Sudden deepening of these lines, irritation, eczema, and dryness or redness along this area might be telling us that our large intestine is not absorbing excess water or salts from our food that has already passed through the small intestine, meaning that we are not staying hydrated or detoxing properly.
Most of our hormonal period breakouts will show themselves on the chin or jaw area, because it’s so closely linked to our pelvic and reproductive organs. Stress or an off-balanced cycle will manifest in breakouts, small or cystic, in this area. Supporting ourselves with mediation, proper rest, nutrition, and adaptogenic herbs could help ease and regulate this area.
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