As featured in Fashion Journal. Photography by Amelia J. Dowd at Sync Production & Management. Words by Frankie Scheriani.
‘Your face is the window to your health, apparently.
Here I was thinking, well, a face is just a face. You know, the one with a mouth, a nose and a cute set of sparkling eyes. But what if I told you that your face is more than just a pretty face.
Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Abbie Cloherty, who explained to me that your face is a map of your internal body that provides an insight into your personality and a picture of your physical and mental wellbeing. Yikes.
Often driving to work with a clay mask painted on her face, Dr. Abbie is a Chinese medicine doctor who is “pretty fucking fanatic” about what she does. Specialising solely in cosmetics, Dr. Abbie is the queen of naturally uplifting your face. Basically, she is the soy milk of Botox, the natural alternative, if you will.
Starting out as a naturopath, while working at a clinic, she saw that Chinese medical practitioners were getting results quicker with less client participation.
“Naturopaths prescribe all these expensive health supplements and vitamins and it takes time and client compliance to see results,” she tells me.
She decided that you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your vanity for your moral beliefs, so she jumped ship and switched to Chinese medicine where she completed internships around the globe and found her niche in cosmetic acupuncture.
At her practice, Zhong Centre, Dr. Abbie is gifted at making client’s skin – in the words of Rihanna – shine bright like a diamond. “People are all beautiful underneath, it’s just the matter of shining it back up,” she says.
But aside from buffing diamonds out of the rough, she also practices in reading faces. I imagine it’s like reading a book, but subtract the words and add blemishes and wrinkles.
What is face reading exactly?
“Face reading is part of our diagnostic technique. It’s essential in forming the overall picture of somebody’s health. We look at your face and see where your lines are and what the colouration of your skin is like. We ask about the different facial muscles you use. Do you grimace, do you smile?” she explains.
However, to get a comprehensive picture of someone’s health, Dr. Abbie tells me it’s essential to also take the client’s Chinese medicine pulse.
“A Chinese medicine pulse allows us to read the correlation and relationships between 12 different systems and organs. For example, we read how your large intestine correlates with your cardiovascular and how your liver corresponds with your mental health.”
Dr. Abbie tells me that inspecting a client’s tongue is also used in gauging the full picture of their overall health. A tongue? What is this wizardry? Surely that slimy muscle inside our mouths can’t tell us what’s going on inside our bodies.
“We look at your tongue, which shows us your internal health such as digestion and deficiencies like magnesium and calcium deficiencies. By inspecting your tongue, we can see what is playing out internally.”
As we continued to chat, Dr. Abbie was honestly glowing through the phone. I don’t even know if you can glow through a phone, but her excitement for sharing her passion was radiating through the line. Endearingly, she describes health as being like a beautiful, flourishing garden.
“We treat your health like it’s a garden rather than like it’s a weed. Instead of eradicating the weed, the weed being pain in your body, we nurture your body as though it’s a garden which cannot grow any weeds.
“We can get a comprehensive look at your garden by reading your face. A face reading in conjunction with your tongue and your pulse shows us doctors much more than you’re telling us. We get to look at a picture of how you came to be where you are,” she says.
While face reading is very diagnostic orientated, meaning everyone’s results are unique, Dr. Abbie enlightens me that the first steps include looking at where the clients most exaggerated or prominent lines are on the face.
“Is your chin more prominent than your nose? Is your forehead in a larger space of your face in relation to your chin and lower lips? If your forehead is your most prominent feature you’re most likely a philosopher in nature or an over thinker. If your nasal area is the largest segment on your face, you’re likely very driven and like to think that you’re in charge.”
Coloration of the skin is then examined as well as redness and irritations. “Darkness under the eye for example, in Western medicine, can be linked to adrenal fatigue or anemia. In Chinese medicine, it can be linked to exhaustion or thin skin.
“If your cheeks are prone to redness or rosacea this may link to excessive levels of histamines in your diet which means too much consumption of sugar or gluten. Or if there are blemishes around the temples or hairline this can be linked to stress hormones.”
According to Dr. Abbie, face reading can also give a picture into someone’s mental wellbeing, particularly through the eyes. In Chinese medicine, the soul is seen to be split into five aspects – personality, instinct, protect, drive and vitality. The personality aspect is call shen and this refers to how people connect and interact with others. An individual’s shen is perceived through eye contact.
“People who don’t give eye contact very well, we can perceive that their shen is guarded. When people are depressed you can see a veil over their eyes.”
Can face reading provide insight into personality?
I was interested to see if Dr. Abbie could get an insight into her client’s personality just by reading their face, and her answer did not disappoint. One of the schools of diagnostic Chinese medicine is called Five Elements, a philosophy that is used to describe interactions and relationships between things, and where people’s face shapes are categorised as either wood, fire, earth, water or metal.
People that are fire possess a quite triangular face shape. Fire can be perceived as full of enthusiasm, ideas and energy but there is no follow through because like fire, it burns out. They may be the life of the party and they can stay that way if its healthy, but otherwise they can overextend themselves and resent other people for draining them.
A more circular face shape and is fluid-like and looks soft to touch. People with water-shaped faces are very empathetic, and at times are over sensitive. They may also be the determined, kind and are adaptable to change.
Long in shape and people with this face shape are generally persistent and driven. When they’re in balance, wood is strong and resilient like bamboo. But if they’re out of balance they’re more like MDF wood and can’t cope with change.
Hexagonal in shape and they are prone to colouration in the skin. Metal personality traits are brave and can consider themselves perfectionists.
A bit square in facial shape. They are nurturing and loyal when in balance, however, when their health is imbalanced they are likely to worry about unnecessary things and become intrusive.
Basically, to put everything into context, Dr. Abbie can read minds. And while it would be a great party trick to be able to read into a friend’s personality through a glimpse of their face, let’s leave that one for Dr. Abbie and other trained professionals.
So, for the rest of us non-mind readers, let’s focus on looking at our imperfections and health issues as being part of a beautiful garden that needs nurturing, instead of a patch of unsightly weeds.’
Thank you for your beautiful words Frankie! x