Quitting his job to backpack around the world in 2004, he met a man in South Africa who called himself a face reader — and correctly named Standop’s every ailment just from looking at his face.
As he recalls in his new book, “Read the Face: Face Reading for Success in Your Career, Relationships, and Health” (St. Martin’s Essentials), out Tuesday, this began a yearslong journey that led Standop to become a master face reader himself.
Based on European and Asian belief systems, Standop claims the shape and complexion of a human visage can reveal everything — from a person’s true nature to the state of their health.
“You’re born with certain attributes which will show up in your [facial] features,” Standop writes. “The eyes and mouth especially, but also the nose, ears, eyebrows and hair, develop in a unique configuration that defines our personality.”
Now working full-time as the head of the global Face Reading Academy, Standop says he’s helped more than 15,000 people on four continents with his techniques.
Face reading has been “dismissed in the West as a pseudoscience for most of the 20th century,” he writes, and some scientists studying it still reject it as “physiognomy, the practice of judging character from faces.” But he notes that face reading is now being studied at “prominent universities such as the University of California at Berkeley, New York University, Stanford and Princeton, to name a few.”
Standop writes he once advised a man in a tough negotiation with an opposing lawyer to find a mirror and literally mimic the facial features of his adversary. Doing this, Standop writes, gave the man an “aha! moment,” as he realized the lawyer wanted one more concession. The man offered “an easy one,” and the deal was done.
Here are other ways that Standop — who tells his clients to see a doctor to confirm his health-related suspicions — uses face reading to improve people’s lives.
When a woman came to Standop’s office to make an appointment, he congratulated her on her pregnancy, but the woman was not yet showing.
“How did you know?” the woman asked. “From your forehead,” Standop replied.
“One side of her forehead had splotches of brownish pigmentation called melasma,” he writes. “Also known as chloasma or the ‘mask of pregnancy,’ it may be caused by other hormone disruptors, such as birth-control pills, thyroid disease and even stress, but pregnancy is the most common explanation. It’s harmless and when caused by pregnancy tends to fade on its own.”
Standop’s early training in face reading came at a price — his expressive green eyes, which turned out to be the result of a medical issue.
“For years, women I dated had told me that I had beautiful green eyes,” he writes. “I was rather proud of them, considering them my most unusual and possibly best feature.”
He was taken aback when, in a German face-reading class, the teacher mentioned to the class that he had “really strong green eyes.” When Standop thanked him, the man added, “It’s not a compliment. It’s a sign that there’s too much acid in your body.”
“The master explained that true green eyes are rare and, interestingly, found less often in men than in women,” Standop writes. “Being born with them is not a sign of ill health, but he could tell that my eyes were naturally blue. In my case, body chemistry was the issue.”
Standop says he changed his diet, avoiding coffee, alcohol, sugar and fried foods, among other things, and the natural blue of his eyes returned.
Now, whenever his eyes begin to appear more greenish, he sees that as a sign to rebalance his life and makes sure to monitor his diet and reduce his stress.
BETWEEN THE EYES
A British woman in her 50s, who had tried and failed at all kinds of diets, came to Standop for help in losing weight.
“Puffy pouches at her jawline and beneath her lower lip, as well as skin slackness” told him the woman had trouble metabolizing carbohydrates when consumed with fats, and he advised her to exercise caution around the combo.
Then he looked between her eyes and could tell right away she was a lover of red wine.
“Heavy drinkers of red wine often have pronounced vertical lines between the eyes, like thinker lines but with pigmented spots between them,” Standop writes.
Those signs appeared alongside “droopy upper eyelids, lots of fine lines and enlarged pores between the eyes, a reddish cast to the cheeks and dry wrinkled skin around the cheekbones and very deep lines running from the nose to the mouth.”
Combining all this with a redness in her cheeks and leg cramps, he says he correctly deduced that the woman was deficient in magnesium, a common condition in people who drink too much alcohol.
A famous English soccer player (unnamed in the book) couldn’t give a postgame TV interview without one of his eyelids starting to blink. Doctors thought it was a nervous tic, but no one knew how to stop it.
Watching videos of his interviews, Standop grew perplexed when he noticed that the twitch only appeared when the player was interviewed after games. In other studio interviews, he was fine.
Realizing that the player’s cheeks were also red in the game-day interviews even after he had showered and cooled down led Standop to realize the player had a magnesium deficiency.
“The player threw himself into the game with intense force and concentration, so by the final whistle he had completely exhausted his magnesium stores,” Standop writes.
Standop suggested to the player’s manager that they test this theory by either having the team doctor give him a magnesium supplement after games or having the player eat magnesium-rich foods such as “pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, peanuts or even a green smoothie made with spinach and kale.”
This solved the problem. Today, Standop writes, the player has since retired and now earns his living as a television sportscaster.
A Dutch woman in her 30s suffered from horrible back pain, and doctors had no answers for her. Standop saw “lines across the bridge of her nose,” which is a traditional face reading marker for back pain. (“The higher the lines, the farther up the back the problem lies,” he writes.)
But he also noticed “a horizontal line between her nose and upper lip,” and “jowls, too droopy for someone her age, indicating trouble with the connective tissues of her face.” All this, combined with a “pale, ashy tinge” to her skin, led Standop to conclude the woman was deficient enough in calcium that he worried she may have osteoporosis.
He advised her to get a bone-density test. When she did, it confirmed his suspicions, and the woman embarked on a course of treatment.
While Standop was giving readings at a German health fair, he writes, a hostile man barged over to his table, “trailed by his embarrassed wife.” The couple, it turns out, had been arguing about the legitimacy of face reading.
“I don’t believe in this crap,” the man said, “If you’re so great, let’s see if you can spot the one problem I have.”
Focusing on the man’s face, Standop said he saw that his chin was “red and threaded with visible vessels. There was also a deep horizontal wrinkle at the break between the chin itself and the lower lip. It too was deep red, a sign of inflammation in the part of the face that, Standop writes, is related to the colon.
“Huge bleeding hemorrhoids,” Standop finally replied.
“See!” the man’s wife said. “I told you he was real!”
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