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Face Reading, Diagnosis and the Five Elements

November 13th, 2021

Our faces reveal a lot about who we are. I found that learning about my face gave me insight into the “why’s” of myself.

Lillian Pearl Bridges

Over the last few years, I had the privilege of studying and mentoring with Lillian Pearl Bridges in Seattle, U.S., and Bath, England. Having taught all over the world for over 30 years, Lillian is a well-respected teacher in the field of Chinese Medicine. Her face reading and diagnosis skills were taught to her starting at the young age of 5 by her grandmother, the wisdom passed down from a long lineage of Master Chinese Practitioners. Her degree in psychology combined with this knowledge gave her the credentials of the world’s leading authority on face reading and diagnosis. Her true gifts, in my opinion, lay in making everyone she met feel important, loved, and special. Although her teachings were always profound, it was her way of treating people and how she made them feel in her presence that was truly transformative.

Her unexpected illness and passing this past September 2021 were indeed heartbreaking. Lillian taught that the antidote for grieving is gratitude. The immense gratitude I feel to Lillian for the spiritual richness she has brought to my life has been healing in itself. I am grateful she saw the writer in me and encouraged me to write my book, I am grateful for her sage advice in difficult times, I am grateful for the yearly Chinese New Year forecasts she wrote, I am grateful for her teachings, and her storytelling.

This quote from A Course in Miracles Made Easy, by Alan Cohen encapsulates how I feel Lillian lived her life: “As you find your wholeness and live from it, the world will be transformed by your model and you will leave a trail of healing in your wake.” How blessed I am to be a part of that trail.

What is Face Reading and Diagnosis?

Our faces reveal a lot about who we are. Lillian wrote that her grandmother’s favorite saying was, “From birth until the age of 25 you have the face that your mother gave you. From 25 to 50 you create your own face. And, from 50 on you have the face you deserve!” [efn_note] Lillian Bridges, Face Reading in Chinese Medicine, second edition, p. I. [/efn_note]

Our features can determine some of our personality traits. Big eyes? You are most likely quite expressive emotionally and absorb other people’s emotions. Small nose? You want to enjoy the work you do and need to feel that work is play.

The wrinkles on our faces tell a story about our life experience, for instance when we’ve had trauma or difficult times and whether we carry joy or grief. Lillian always compared wrinkles on our face to the rings on the tree trunk- the rings can tell us how old a tree is, what the weather was like during the tree’s life, and whether it endured fires or drought conditions. We can let go of some of our wrinkles when we let go of the emotions connected to them or stop giving away too much of ourselves through over nurturing or not setting boundaries.

The face can also reveal the health of the organs, as the different zones on the face connect to them. The health of the heart for example is shown on the nose. If someone has a swollen, purple nose this is a sign that there is a lack of tone in the heart muscle and there could be a possible heart attack in the future. Redness is a sign of inflammation in the body.

Face Reading Session- how it can benefit you?

I found that learning about my face gave me insight into the “why’s” of myself. There are some natural talents and abilities that I have and some that I don’t have. I know I can never and could never have been an athlete (thanks eyebrows!). If I had, my body would have probably broken down a long time ago! I have the ability to use words well and thus can be a writer. I have a lot of features related to the Metal Element which is the reason why I appreciate my alone time and enjoy beautiful, peaceful, open spaces.

Health problems can be assessed on your face and can give a better diagnostic and root understanding of these issues. Immune health, digestive function, fertility, and the Kidneys/adrenals are a few of the health indicators that are looked at.

Our strongest one or two elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water) can give us insight into understanding that we are who we are. We all have a little of each element in our nature, with one or more being the most dominant. For instance, someone who is “Earthy” will have a natural tendency to be generous and giving. A Fire person can easily be the life of the party. Someone who is “Woody” needs to be challenged and thrives on being busy. Below I list some of the traits and features of each element.



  • Creative, deep thinker types
  • Naturally spiritual; ponders the meaning of life
  • Forehead, chin, or ears are prominent features on the face
  • Wide hips, can have large bones
  • Can handle emotional traumas in life well- can pull up strength in an emergency
  • Easygoing
  • Can be hard workers
  • Love to lay down or lay in bed


  • Doers
  • Competitive
  • Require lots of movement and exercise
  • Big eyebrows, jaw or browbone
  • Enjoys discussions and arguments
  • Tall and muscular or short and stocky
  • Humanitarians
  • Anger is a motivating force


  • Love to be the center of attention, lively
  • Like to have lots of fun and play
  • Love to talk
  • Always looking for new and different
  • Charismatic
  • Expressive and changeable
  • Large eyes, dimples, curly hair (red haired people always have alot of natural fire), and narrow shoulders and hips
  • Great starters, but can be scattered and have a hard time finishing things


  • Love to be around friends and family
  • Caretakers
  • Generous and giving
  • Love to collect things and gets attached to people and things
  • Full lips, large mouth, have a soft plumpness, accumulate weight easily, big calves and feet
  • Value consistancy and sameness
  • Like to move and take things slowly
  • Enjoy a cozy home and the comforts of life


  • Gracious, refined and love value
  • Enjoy beautiful, open spaces and clean environments
  • Self maintaining, high maintenance- don’t want to be troublesome for anyone else
  • Physically and emotionally sensitive and delicate- cannot wear fake jewellery, has to eat good quality food
  • Longer, and larger noses, or thin and aquiline noses. Chiseled and refined features, small bones.
  • High standards and ideals for themselves
  • Well mannered, polite
  • Not suppossed to do manual labour and needs to take frequent breaks when working.