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Acupuncture Today – July, 2008, Vol. 09, Issue 07

The Face: A Portrait of Qi

By Mary Elizabeth Wakefield, LAc, Dipl. Ac., MS, MM, Susan Russell, PhD, LAc, Dipl. Ac. and MichelAngelo , MFA, CTM

"There is at work within all biological systems a path of interchangeability to standardize unique vibratory levels. Our galactic body of creation controls its renewing functions through meridian axiatonal lines which are the equivalent of acupuncture lines that can connect with resonating star systems."1

Like many medical paradigms with origins prior to the Western scientific revolution of the 18th century, acupuncture views the human body as comprising a microcosm.

Acupuncture contains structures that find their parallels in the heavens. Similarly, quantum physics suggests the body might be regarded as a more contained space-time field existing within the confines of a larger energetic continuum. This consensus between Eastern esoteric and Western scientific philosophies postulates an astral architecture we might liken to a cosmological Russian "nesting" doll, encompassing bodies within bodies and fields within fields. This lends support for the further assertion of J.J. Hurtiak that "Acupuncture is one of the first empirical demonstrations of biological scaling within the universe."2

In the same way the human body presents a mirror of celestial harmony, the face is a somatic microsystem that provides the Oriental medicine practitioner with a means to gauge the changing dynamics of individual health. From an anatomical perspective, this most personal aspect of identity serves as a direct interface between the human organism and its environment. We can regard a person's face as presenting an authentic "portrait" of their qi, manifesting a corollary to the timeless axiom "as above, so below." We could also express this: "as within, so without."

The Abode of the Senses

The face encompasses the neural receptors that engender four of the five senses - vision, hearing, smell and taste - that instantaneously transmit random stimuli around us to the cerebral cortex. It's here, and in other relevant regions of the brain, that they are translated into information necessary for our continued well-being and, at times, ultimate survival. These vital organs of perception must have direct contact with the external milieu in order to perform their necessary functions. The face, lacking any kind of armor or other protective integument, might be regarded as one of the most vulnerable parts of the body. For example, it experiences a perpetual onslaught of changing climatic conditions and other deleterious environmental factors such as: cold, damp, wind, sunlight, dust, pollution and toxins. According to the precepts of Oriental medicine, the skin is the 3rd lung.

A Life Map

The face is one of the most potent and eloquent expressions of ancestral memory, encoded with particular idiosyncrasies that are multi-generational in their provenance. The facial features encapsulate patterns - physical, mental and emotional - relating to immunity, longevity, resilience and personal hardship.

Your face greets the world. It can radiate shen or be shen-deficient. According to a number of contemporary sources, the face has evolved to express, with a remarkable degree of subtlety, the emotional undercurrents of ordinary discourse. It has been estimated that 90 percent of human communication depends upon our individual ability to discern those fleeting micro-expressions that lay bare the true nature of our innermost thoughts.

The face can reflect emotional tension resulting from our interactions with others. Unexpressed words become suppressed or somatized within the organ systems of the body, and remain thus, emotionally toxic "software" working to undermine the natural homeostatic balance of our inner functioning.

Feed your Face

A significant aspect of the qi-portrait revealed by one's face relates to the importance of proper nourishment. Nurturing your qi with positive eating habits allows the face to glow with good health. One's qi might be disturbed by the consumption of food under less than optimal circumstances. Certain energetic patterns that characterize individual eating habits, such as bolting one's food, eating on the run, unconscious eating (i.e., while doing other things) or consuming food that is of little or no nutritive value or flavor, contribute "chaotic" qi to the organ systems. Negative emotional states, such as anger, rage, fear, depression or despair can further undermine the physical well-being.

Re-harmonizing and Protecting "The Body Electric"

Qi is electrical in nature; it pulses in active and interactive currents. The Western biochemical model echoes this notion of ebb and flow in its recognition of the electrochemical signature of a living cell, characterized by the exchange of potassium and sodium ions across the cellular membrane. This protoplasmic boundary likewise delineates two zones of differing electrical charge, one positive (beyond the cellular membrane), and the other negative (within the membrane). The balance between these electrical and chemical gradients and the regulation of the passage of these ions back and forth is what distinguishes a living cell from an inert bag of ions.

Living, as we do, in the Age of the Information Superhighway, many of us are accustomed to spending inordinately large amounts of time gazing raptly at, or plugged into, any number of wonderful technological marvels.

Very few of us take proper precautions against the surfeit of electromagnetic energy (and radiation) generated by these devices; moreover, the vast majority of these digital/electronic communication "facilitators" impact us directly (and detrimentally) through the tissues of the face. We can counteract the negative effect of these disharmonious electromagnetic vibrations by regulating, stimulating and harmonizing vital life force qi movement in the meridians that flow through the face and head.

The Importance of Facial Acupuncture

Acupuncture enhances electromagnetic energy, improves neural signaling, moderates neuro-immunomodulatory responses, and ameliorates neurochemical-hormonal influences within the body and brain. Facial acupuncture is a powerful treatment modality that addresses the face as the point of entry into the hidden recesses of our being. The brain is located immediately behind the face and every one of the meridians traverses the facial terrain, communicating directly with the body.

Whatever the reason for a treatment of this nature, a constitutional approach has the potential to actuate the most profound level of healing. The body, emotions and psyche are not separate, and we have observed time and again that facial acupuncture can propel the patient onto a path of greater consciousness, enhance their overall vitality and foster increased longevity.


  1. Hurtiak JJ. The Book of Knowledge: The Keys of Enoch. Los Gatos, Calif.: The Academy for Future Science, 1977, p. 523.
  2. Ibid., p. 57.

Click here for previous articles by Mary Elizabeth Wakefield, LAc, Dipl. Ac., MS, MM.

Dr. Susan Russell is director of Turning Point Healing Center, LLC, a multi-modality educational healing center located in Marietta, GA. She may be contacted at .

MichelAngelo practices energy astrology, a blending of Oriental medicine, bodywork and astrology, with special emphasis on healing with sound. He may be contacted at .

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