Jennifer Labbienti

Five Elements – Face Reading

We’re face readers by nature.

Perhaps we’re trying to determine whether someone is speaking the truth or hiding behind a lie, or we’re searching our partner’s face for the emotions that haven’t been expressed with words. We read faces all the time – and search for meaning in what we see.

Inevitably, in my Five Elements Face Reading classes, there’s a student who signed up because he thought I would be teaching him how to read micro-expressions, just like Cal Lightman in the TV show Lie to Me. And, while there is a combination of elements that would make someone great at reading micro-expressions – that is not what Five Elements Face Reading is about.

Face Reading, based in the Five Elements principles of Chinese medicine is a system of understanding the patterns in our facial features that correspond to aspects of our inner natures.

Face Reading began as a method of gathering information to inform physical diagnoses in Chinese medicine – doctors observed changes in aspects of their patients’ faces that indicated certain imbalances in their bodies. In addition to the clues about physical ailments, doctors realized that there were patterns in facial features that gave them valuable insight into their patients’ behaviors. Because Chinese medicine is a holistic medicine, a patient is considered a whole system that includes her body, mind, and spirit. In fact, understanding systems in-balance and out-of-balance is what the Five Elements of Chinese medicine is all about.

But, you don’t need to be a doctor to understand how to read faces using the Five Elements system.

You would be amazed by how much our faces reveal about who we are. Everything from how we communicate to how much energy we have before we need to recharge. Our faces reveal whether we prefer to work independently or in a group, whether we value material things or treasure experiences. They also reveal when in our lives we have experienced profound pain, when we have learned important lessons, and when we may have a significant break from our past.

The joy of my work is helping people come back into alignment with who they were born to be. The information is there, if you know how to find it. But, because most of us have spent a large part of our lives being told how we should be – sometimes by well-intentioned people who love us, often by messages in the media or by institutions & organizations that focus on, reward, or promote certain behaviors – most of us have also spent a large part of our lives feeling that certain aspects of ourselves are not okay.

The Five Elements system can help us understand why we are the way we are (and why our partner, friend, neighbor, boss, co-worker is the way he is), and can free us to be the best versions of ourselves (which, in turn, frees us to allow others be who they are).

So, how does the Five Elements system do all of this?

With simplicity & depth.

The Five Elements system is at once easy to grasp and yet has enough nuance that one could spend her entire life studying it and still gain new insight.

What are the Five Elements?

Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal.

These words are shorthand for a wide range of characteristics. What I love about this system is it is based in nature. We only need to look out the window to understand how Wood element behaves and how it is different from Water. We each have all five elements in our natures, as each of us is a complete system; we just have each element in different amounts. Another benefit of this system is that it is not limiting – it is expansive and inclusive, allowing each of us to be our own unique combination of characteristics & behaviors. One may be both an introvert & an extrovert depending upon the situation and his own unique combination of elements. Understanding what our dominant elements are and where our personal systems may be out-of-balance can be life changing.

If I said to you that someone had the energy of spring time, what would you know about that person? What if they had the nature of winter?

Elements Correlate with Seasons

One of the easiest ways to access the Five Elements is to understand their correlation to the seasons. We may not love winter, but we can understand that it is a natural part of a system in balance. So too are the various aspects of our inner natures.

Wood element is associated with the energy of spring time. What happens in spring? Rebirth & growth. Busting through the stagnation and striving toward the light. If a person has a lot of Wood element, she will naturally need to be doing, striving, growing, and evolving. If she is prevented from doing so, she will become out-of-balance.

Fire is associated with the peak of summer. Think of how that feels. The sun is shining, the butterflies flit about, the hummingbirds whir in their constant search for nectar. When someone has a magnitude of Fire in his nature, he will be naturally vibrant, full of joy, and flitting about in search of the nectar of life.

Earth is associated with the harvest of late summer. There is a sense of plenty as the community comes together to do the work that needs to be done. When a person has an abundance of Earth element in her nature, she will need abundance in her life – wanting all of the comforts of home while being surrounded by her family & friends.

Metal is associated with autumn. It is the time of year when everything becomes precious, from the light to the leaves on the tree. It is also a time of letting go. When a person has a wealth of Metal element, he naturally holds on tightly, wanting to squeeze every last nutrient out of his experiences. He is also proficient at letting go.

Water is associated with winter. There is a depth to people who have a lot of Water element. They will naturally have a lot going on underneath the surface that may not be apparent above ground. They are comfortable with the darkness and need time to just be.

Identifying Facial Features

So, how does this correspond to our facial features? How can we understand what elements are dominant in the people we see every day? This is where the patterns in facial features come in.

While, there are myriad nuances to Five Elements Face Reading, we can speak to a broader indication of the dominant elements in our faces.

Wood element is associated with prominent eyebrows, strong jaw, and an overall square or rectangular shape to the face.

47120187_lFire is associated with pointed features, dimples (cheeks or chin), freckles, naturally wide open eyes, and eyes that seem to be lit up from the inside – with that special sparkle.17306268_l

Earth is associated with a natural roundness and plumpness to the features. Full lips, plump cheeks, round inner canthus.7735632_l

Metal is associated with symmetry and space between features. High eyebrows, prominent nose and upper cheeks are indications of Metal element, in addition to flawless skin.20557526_l

Water is associated with having a prominent chin, rounded upper forehead, and large ears. It can also be found in those with naturally dark circles or puffiness under the eyes.42109811_l

Face reading can help us understand each person’s inner nature. It can help us understand the whys of life. Why does she behave that way under stress? Why doesn’t he need to have a plan? Why can’t she assert herself like her sister does? Why does he need so much time alone? Why is she so open about the way she’s feeling? Why does he get frustrated when he has to wait?

I have worked in education for over 20 years. One thing any educator knows for sure is that each student is different and has his own particular strengths & challenges. Learning the Five Elements system has had a profound effect on the way I see the world and has had an enormous impact on how I see myself and all of the people in my life. It is amazing what it can free in us to simply be seen for who we really are.

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid. – Anonymous

The Five Elements system frees you to be the genius you are.

jennifer labbienti bio picJennifer Labbienti, BA is a professional face reader based in Seattle, WA, with over 20 years’ experience in teaching & education.

Jennifer’s pattern recognition skills were honed through years of helping students improve their test scores as a teacher & trainer for The Princeton Review.

Her natural aptitude for understanding the patterns of the Five Elements (as applied through face reading, birth date reading, & cycles of time), allows her to compassionately guide her clients to improved self-understanding, enabling them to let go of limiting patterns of self-judgment & live fuller lives.

Highly intuitive & empathetic, she has an uncanny ability to read the subtle, energetic dynamics of her clients & the teams with which she works. She has a particular soft-spot for people who identify as “highly sensitive” & a gift for energy clearing that allows her to help her clients release stress from their lives & move forward in strength.

She can often be found teaching courses through Bastyr University’s Continuing Education program.

Her passion is helping people find peace, balance, & success in their lives.

Jennifer works with individuals, couples, families, professional organizations & corporations.

Find her at and

You can also see her teaching an upcoming class June 4th and 5th at Bastyr University:

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