Chinese Face Reading In The UK: A Study Of Acupuncturists Using The System Taught By Maura Bright

By Nicholas Lutyens-Humfrey


Face reading for fortune telling, personality assessment and medical diagnosis has a long history in Chinese culture. In the U.K. today, although acupuncturists may use the face for diagnosis, detailed examination of the face is probably not a routine procedure for most. However, Chinese face reading/ diagnosis is practised and taught by Maura Bright in London. This dissertation poses the question: do the acupuncturists who have learned face reading from Maura Bright find it a useful adjunct to their clinical practice, and how do they use it with their patients? In analysing the data, the main question was extended into further themes, including the sorts of problems that are encountered in using face reading, whether some aspects of it more readily accepted than others, whether face reading fits in more readily with certain styles of acupuncture, and what implications there might be for the future of face reading.

The method of research is a questionnaire, which was sent to 33 acupuncturists to obtain a broad view their use of face reading, followed by interviews of five practitioners to get more detailed information about how they use face reading and their opinions on it.

The questionnaire results show a variety of levels of use of face reading, with practitioners taking parts of the face reading system to use in their practices, particularly those specifically related to diagnosis. The interview results compare attitudes towards face reading and ways of using it, both for diagnosis and in the practitioners’ therapeutic relationships. Some differences were noted between the use of face reading within Five Element and TCM acupuncture styles, with face reading fitting in particularly well with the former. It is suggested that if face reading is to be used more widely, it may be in conjunction with a style of acupuncture which goes beyond everyday health concerns to deal with issues of personal development.