Read your body's signals
When it comes to assessing the state of your health, it may be that the answers are written all over your face.
According to Chinese medicine, your face provides a wealth of information about the health of your inner organs, while orthodox medicine also relies on facial signals to help diagnose certain conditions.
To start reading your body's signals, check out these seven signs to take note of.
Health signal 1: Forehead acne
According to Chinese medicine, the forehead is closely linked to the digestive system, while the area between the eyebrows is linked to the liver.
Over-indulgence of rich foods and alcohol may cause temporary acne in this area, while frequent breakouts could indicate poor nutritional habits.
To help get rid of these zits, try to maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated.
You may also wish to get tested for suspected food intolerances, which can affect both the liver and digestive system.
Health signal 2: Congested cheeks
While pimples on the cheeks may have simple causes such as cosmetics or unclean pillowcases, this area is also thought to be linked to the lungs.
Zits in this region can therefore be indicative of respiratory distress, with smokers, asthmatics and allergy sufferers being prone to breakouts or broken capillaries on the cheeks.
Health signal 3: Spots on the chin and jaw line
Zits on the chin and jaw line are generally thought to be due to hormonal fluctuations and may appear on women at particular stages of their menstrual cycle.
Persistent acne in this area, however, may be a symptom of a hormone imbalance or endocrine disorder such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, so it may be worthwhile getting your hormone levels checked if you are experiencing other symptoms such as missed periods or weight gain.
Health signal 4: Dark circles and under-eye bags
Dark circles and under-eye bags are mostly hereditary, however if you find they make a sudden appearance or get significantly worse, this may point to certain health problems.
The under-eye area is thought to be linked to the kidneys, so changes here may suggest dehydration or a build-up of toxins.
To counteract this, drink more water and cut down on alcohol, caffeine and salt. Alternatively, circles could be caused by anaemia, due to vitamin B12 or iron deficiencies.
Health signal 5: Unusual tongue
According to Chinese medicine your tongue is a map to your health, and orthodox medical professionals also use the tongue to identify various conditions.
Anaemia (caused by a lack of iron, folate or vitamin B12) is one such condition - with symptoms of the illness including a burning, sore or red tongue.
Alternatively, a blue discolouration of the tongue (cyanosis) could indicate a lack of oxygen in the blood stream, while white lesions on the tongue could be a sign of oral thrush.
Health signal 6: Excessive facial or body hair
For females suffering from excessive body or facial hair (hirsutism), this can be a frustrating and embarrassing problem.
However, it can also be a symptom of an underlying endocrine disorder, which may need to be checked out.
One of the most common female endocrine disorders is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - a condition which frequently results in excessive body hair as well as acne, weight gain and irregular periods.
Health signal 7: Moles
Ending on a high note, moles may often get bad press, however, providing you look after them properly (by applying sunscreen, staying out the sun and checking them regularly), moles may actually be a good sign for your health.
A research team from King's College London found that those with over 100 moles have tougher bones and are less likely to develop osteoporosis, while research has also suggested that those with moles are likely to have healthier eyes and heart.
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