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Interview with Living Now Magazine — Australia – a flash from the past!

What your face reveals

Interview with Patrician McCarthy, founder of The Mien Shiang Institute

Mien Shiang is a nearly three-thousand-year-old Taoist practice of an art and a science that literally means face (mien) reading (shiang). If you know Mien Shiang (pronounced myen shung), you can determine anyone’s character, personality, health, wealth potential, social standing, and longevity simply by looking at his or her face.

I stumbled upon Mien Shiang quite by accident. When I learned there was an ancient practice that could tell you nearly everything you wanted to know about a person by looking at his or her face, I was amused and intrigued. If anyone would have suggested that I would one day establish the Mien Shiang Institute and then create and teach the first-ever certificate program in the study of Medical Diagnostic Mien Shiang at a renowned university of Traditional Chinese Medicine; and teach seminars to thousands who would become interested in Mien Shiang; I would probably have laughed myself silly.

Since Mien Shiang was first used as a diagnostic tool of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and since TCM is derived from the Taoist philosophy that claims no separation of mind, body, and spirit, it is impossible to separate those three integral aspects of yourself when you read your own, or another’s, face.

In other words, you will not study your facial features and markings to determine only your personality traits, or only your emotional and spiritual wellbeing, or only your physical health. There is no separation. If you are in an emotional crisis, it will most likely show on your face. And where and how those signs appear on your face will alert you to specific corresponding physical and spiritual conditions that can become vulnerable as a result of that emotional imbalance. When one aspect of your being is out of balance, all will be imbalanced.

We recognize one another most often by our faces. True, most of us have distinguishing body shapes, or a distinct gait and posture. But how many times have you rushed up to greet a close friend, and when she turned to face you, you realized you had mistaken her for someone else? In a quick flash, you realized this the moment you saw her face. Of all the billions of people on this grand planet (nearly 7 billion, in fact) we each have our own distinctive look. Even identical twins are not truly identical. I’m amazed and fascinated by this.

Think of it: We all have a nose, and it’s always in the middle of our face. We all have a mouth, and it’s always right below our nose. We all have two eyes, two eyebrows, and two ears, and they are all in the same order and position as those of every other human being in the world. Yet we all look different, because we all are different. We are each unique and irreplaceable, and our faces reflect that every time someone looks at us.

It’ s probably now becoming apparent to you that your own face reflects both your inherited and your acquired traits. Some of those traits are gifts, some of them are challenges.

If you have inherited your father’s ears—large, smooth, well-developed ears and lobes—then you have also inherited his strong risk-taking ability and his gift of longevity

Suppose your brother inherited your mother’s ears: small and narrow, with short, flat lobes. He has inherited her challenges regarding risk-taking and longevity.

Does that mean that you will live an exciting and long life, while your dear brother will be timid and die early? Of course not. It means that it is your basic nature to take risks. You don’t need to scrutinize each of the pros and cons of a challenge, you just go for it. The thrill of the risk is exciting to you. You won’t always be a winner, but you will be in the arena more than most others, better able to deal with the defeats as well as the successes. Your gift of longevity means you have been granted a little boost toward making it through the hard times of adversity, illness, and trauma. You will be able to get away with less sleep, more stress, and a richer diet than your brother.

It’s not a free ticket, though. Your brother’s basic nature is to be more cautious and to consider the consequences before taking a risk. His risks might actually result in more successes since they are well thought out, but he probably won’t take as many risks as you. His challenge is to take the leap, and to trust his instincts and skills. Since he doesn’t have the inherited gift of longevity, he will have to work a bit more than you do at being healthy. A good diet, an exercise program, and balanced emotions will all help him achieve a long, healthy life.

As essential as it is to nurture and protect your gifts, it’s equally important to use them. It might seem the easiest thing in the world to make the most of such gifts as confidence, determination, will, power, leadership, and passion. Unfortunately, many people never allow themselves to use these great gifts because their insecurities, childhood restrictions, traumas, or fears are stronger than their gifts.

Children are frequently not permitted to be their true selves. Their family, community, or culture might have strict rules as to how one should behave. This severely hampers the child’s natural being and evolution. A youngster who has nice thick eyebrows is going to have the natural gifts and challenges associated with temper. But if that child is never allowed to express anger, he will never learn the appropriate uses of this essential and healthy emotion. Not using your gifts may have deep emotional, spiritual, and physical repercussions. This is a good opportunity for you to identify your innate strengths. Doing so will help you to make the most of your precious gifts and to appreciate the lessons to be learned from your challenges.

The wrinkles and markings on your face also have a story to tell. Acquired facial markings tend to appear on the corresponding age-related areas of the face. These markings record the chronological evolution of our life experiences. The following 100 Age Area charts show how the age areas proceed chronologically, starting on the ears for ages one through fourteen, then beginning at the top of the forehead at age fifteen and moving across and all the way down the face to the chin to age seventy-five. Ages seventy-six through one hundred continue under the jawline, making a full circle around the head, just behind the hairline, ending with age one hundred under the tip of the chin.

Take a long look in your mirror and find one or two markings, such as a bump, line, mole, protrusion, indentation, or unusual coloration. Then refer to the charts and see if those markings correspond to an age in your life when you experienced disharmony or a significant change in your everyday life.

Mien Shiang can give you the insights and knowledge to make your life richer, happier, and more profound in every way. I wish you much love, happiness, and adventure as you continue life’s journey.


Patrician McCarthy is the first Mien Shiang expert to translate this ancient science for a mainstream audience. This extract is from her new book The Face Reader, available now from all good bookshops.


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