Face Reading in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Face Diagnosis or Mien Shung is looking at the face as a method of diagnosis in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In this method a practitioner can quickly observe the color, shape, and features that may indicate an imbalance or trait.
Various markings have a predisposition to an illness. They can indicate strengths and weaknesses of body, mind, and spirit.

5 elements

This diagnosis stems for the 5 element theory.


Let’s have a look at the 5 elements in this diagnosis process:

In oriental medicine, there are no “bad” elements. Everything is a gift and challenge.

Wood personality for instance: Anger is the challenge, but this kind of person actually has a lot of passion. Wood types are very focused, athletic, direct, competitive. suppressing their anger, also suppresses their passion. They are often enforcers of the truth.

Face: Wood types have a long rectangular face, long body like a tree, think of like a basketball player, strong jaw, threatening eyes. Determined.


Fire personality: Typically they say “Joy” is the challenge in TCM for this type of person, but what they really mean is excess joy, excess pleasure, to a point of even mania. The gift is the ability to disperse or dissipate. These are the type of people who love fun.

Face: oval shape, sparkly eyes, have slender body, points at eyebrows, nose, lips.


Earth personality: their challenge is one of worry. They have strong empathy for others. They are the ones who “feel”. You would want to ask them how they “feel” about something. They are very in touch with their feelings, and the feelings of others.

Face: square, they have short legs, thighs, and butt.


Metal personality: Their challenge is often grief, while the they carry the gift of sympathy. Metal types are practical, logical, mathematical, and often will use “I think” when asked about a opinion about something.

Face: Round, angular, high cheek bones, long slender nose, delicate, pale skin.


Water personality: are ruled by fear and often look around suspiciously. They typically have the ‘what if’ going on in their minds, but they have a gift of wisdom. These types are very sensual, dreamy, flowing, imaginative/creative people.

Face: cheeky, dreamy eyes, sensual body.

About Administrator

Coach Matt Stampe is a Database Administrator and I.T. professional. In the world of Bodywork, he has been a Massage Therapist, and is currently a student at Virginia University of Oriental Medicine (VUOM.edu). He has taught hundreds of people Authentic Tai Chi Kung fu for over 25 years at places including: Kung fu schools, Parks and Recreation centers, Chinese schools, Martial arts clubs, MMA/Boxing gyms, and Acupuncture Universities. He has positively impacted peoples lives whether for health, sport, strength, and spirit. As a true combat athlete and fighter, he teaches realistic methods so people can be confident to defend themselves. (without all the woo-woo mystical BS.)
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