Chinese Palm Reading

The Chinese believe that the extremities of the human body reflect the character and destiny of every person and that it also registers the energy essence of one’s mind, body and spirit. Thus the outer appearance of hands, feet and head – the five extremities – give indications to the personality and character of the person and also reveals what life has in store, the timing of good times and bad times and the way we react to our experiences. Lines and indentations on our hands therefore reveal very much indeed. As do those of the feet. And massaging the hands or the feet can often give relief to a multitude of body aches and pains.

Your hands communicate with your mind, body and spirit all the time so that its appearance, its shape, the lines as well as the signs and tell tale markings on the palm offer remarkably accurate clues to your life’s fortunes and misfortunes. Over time, ancient Chinese soothsayers developed guidelines for analyzing the lines of the palm and the appearance of the hands to assess their impact on one’s character as well as revealing indications of life destiny.

There are fundamental signs on the hands which are said to be so “obvious” in indicating good or bad fortune and character; these “rules” have been passed on from grandmother to mother to daughter, so that many of us who are of Chinese origin, (even those living outside China) are aware of them.

For example, we know that a thick and firm palm that looks fleshy is always an indication of a good life, one filled with plenty of food and creature comforts, while a hand that is bony and limp and when the palm looks scrawny is an indication of a life where one will be perpetually short of both money and good health.

Palms with clear lines are also said to be preferred to palms where lines are feathery, broken or light. This is because when your lines have clarity and definition, it suggests someone whose thinking is clear and also indicates someone decisive and who has good judgement. When there are too many lines on the palm, they indicate a confused mind, lacking direction and purpose. Such people simply worry too much! They rarely become successful in life.

Gaps between fingers when held closely are a sign of inability to save and to amass wealth. This usually is the case when fingers are knobbly. Fortune cannot be very good. You will notice, if you consciously look, that rich people usually have fingers that fit snugly next to each other so that no “holes” show through. These people can save money and are also clever with the way they manage their money.

As with face reading, feng shui and other astrological practices, the principles that underlie hand analysis are related to the categorization of hands according to the five elements.


Hence everyone’s hand is described according to the five elements – wood, fire, water, metal and earth – and depending on what the element of the hand is, it reveals plenty of information that can be checked against the Paht Chee chart based on their year of birth. It is easy to check PAHT CHEE chart as well as your year element – both heavenly stem and earthly branch, if you go to and download your chart from the Four Pillars calculator.

If the element of your hand – and this is determined by its shape and colour – belongs to an element that is favourable for you based on your Paht Chee chart, then your hands will bring you good fortune.

Two principal guidelines will help guide you as to whether the element of your hand is favourable for you;

i) First, a hand element which repeats any of your year element is good

ii) Secondly, a hand element which “produces your year element” is even better and this would mean a Water-element hand would be great for a Wood year person; a Wood-element hand would be great for a Fire element year person; a Fire-element hand would be excellent for an Earth year person; an Earth-element hand is great for a Metal element year person and finally, a Metal-element hand is good for a Water year person. These conclusions are based on the circular reproductive cycle of the 5 elements. In the same way of course, you should also watch out for hands whose element clashes (i.e. destroys) the year element. Earth destroys water, which destroys Fire, which destroys Metal, which destroys Wood, which destroys Earth…

Square palms with matching fingers belong to Metal element. Slender palms with long elegant fingers belong to the Wood element. Round fleshy palms with round fingers belong to the Water element. Elongated palms with pointed fingers belong to the Fire element and thick heavy palms with similar fingers belong to the Earth element.


The three principal lines on anyone’s palm – the heart, head and life lines are regarded as heaven, man and earth lines. This is shown in the diagram illustrated here.

When these main lines are deep, clear and have no interruptions, it is a sure sign of a good smooth life. All secondary lines branching off these main lines are good when they run upwards and bad when they face downwards.

In addition, there are three lines which appear to move vertically up the palm, and these are referred to as the Jade Pillar, which governs career luck and fortunes at work.

The first vertical line is referred to as the fate line. If this line is long and ends with an auspicious marking such as a star or a trident, the indication is that the person will have fabulous success.

The second vertical line is referred to as the Six Elegance, and this line brings six fabulous successes which include wealth, good name; family happiness; high rank; good descendants and high spiritual attainments. This line is referred to as the Sun line and not everyone has this on their palms. Those who do, and when the line is long and uninterrupted by circles or islands, and ends in a star, a square or a trident, will enjoy all six types of good fortune.

Finally, the third vertical line is the Health line. Its appearance on the palm indicates ill health. It is better if there is no such line on the palm.



The appearance of lines and markings can also be studied according to the Later Heaven Arrangement of the eight trigrams on the Pa Kua, also known as the Yang Pa Kua. To help in the reading, the Pa Kua can be superimposed onto the palm of the hand.

In addition to providing confirmation of other “signs” on the hand, markings also offer clues to good and bad luck in different dimensions of one’s life. This is indicated by the governing trigram in the different parts of the hand.

Click to enlarge

Study the hand shown here. Look at the way the different parts of the palm are segmented.

In the center is the courtyard, or ming tang. When this part of the palm appears weak or shows a deathly blue or black colour, it is a sure sign of impending accident or even death.

The center of the palm should always look bright and healthy, and it should look like a prosperous valley surrounded by hills created by the mounts of the outside eight trigrams. If it is indented or shows a bony appearance, the life indicated is full of difficulties.

The trigrams Sun, Li and Kun are the happiness trigrams, and good markings in any of these trigrams indicate great good fortune. In the part of the palm where there is the Trigram Sun, stars, tridents and upward moving lines mean prosperity luck is sure to be strong.

Squares mean that your assets and wealth are protected.

Negative markings here indicate loss of wealth and incomes. Thus a cross or an island here indicates problems related to money.

In the place of the Trigram Li, good markings mean you will enjoy great fame and your name will be honoured and highly respected. Bad markings suggest the direct opposite.

In the place of the Trigram Kun, it means you will enjoy a good marriage and family life. Stars and tridents in this part of the hand mean you will marry into wealth. For women, having good marking here are especially good indications.


  1. When the courtyard or Ming Tang looks bright and healthy, it indicates a life of happy events. There is plenty of good descendants luck and a man will be blessed with a good wife. The courtyard should be deep but not bony.
  2. When all eight trigrams show well formed “mounts” i.e. when you can discern the appearance of raised flesh in these eight corners of the palm, it is a sure sign of high office and prosperity. You will have plenty of servants. The obvious presence of mountains on the palms is a sure indication of a good life – and the more raised the mounts are, the greater will be your prosperity and success luck.
  3. When the place of the trigram CHIEN has a pronounced mount, it means that you will head a family whose fortunes will be good for at least five generations. This reading is particularly good for men, since Chien refers to the father paternal. It also means that you will benefit enormously from powerful friends and have Nobleman luck and benefactors, whose patronage will make you rich and powerful.
  4. When the mount in the KAN trigram is pronounced, it indicates your family will be of great help to you; and you can enjoy tremendous good fortune in your work as it will always be well appreciated and recognized. Positive markings here such as the “fish” sign is especially auspicious and means that your life gets better and better as you grow older.
  5. The trigram KEN reveals your relationship with siblings and the quality of your earlier life. When the mount here is very pronounced, it suggests a very good start in life. Whether or not this early promise can be realized will depend on the other markings on the palm.



  1. The thumb indicates a person of great integrity and good character but you will tend to be unbending and stubborn. The thumb also tells about a person’s parents. An upright thumb is most auspicious and beneficial.
  2. The index finger governs power. When it is long and elegant, it indicates power and a long life. When it is short and fat, it suggests money but little influence. When it is damaged, it indicates a serious illness.
  3. The middle finger is the DRAGON. This finger should be the longest for there to be good fortune. When the finger is longer than other fingers and when it is longer than the length of the palm, the Dragon is said to energized and there is great good luck. When it is short and overshadowed by the palm (which signifies the White Tiger) then luck tends at best to be mediocre.
  4. The ring finger should always be the shortest of the three central fingers. Otherwise there is a tendency towards vanity and weakness. Friendships are short-lived and marriages are unhappy. In the old days, women with long ring fingers often found it difficult to find husbands, as families would reject such women as bringing bad luck to their husbands.
  5. The little finger indicates what happens in old age. A long little finger is a sign that old age is happy and abundant. Crooked little fingers indicate sadness in old age, as you will be either a widow or widower.
  6. Flat fingers indicate a life requiring hard work. You will need to work your whole life. This is not necessarily a bad indication at all, but it means that nothing will come to you easy. However, you can enjoy big success if you work hard.
  7. Round fingers show intelligence and a good strategic mind. Such people will always be given the benefit of the doubt and you have every chance to enjoy prosperity and renown throughout your life.
  8. Fingers with bony joints are a sign of obstacles. There is little success for such people. Women whose hands are bony will find it difficult to find a good husband or have a happy marriage.
  9. Stiff fingers with hard nails indicate courage. Such people will hold strong views and will not give in easily. Such people can succeed in politics.
  10. Soft finger nails can mean a short life span. Some say that it is also a sign of a soft life, which means there will be few drama moments – a life that is neither hard nor exciting.
  11. Fingers of the same length and height indicate little chance of success. This is a rare indication, as most people have fingers of varying length.