How can Feng Shui nourish your soul?
Feng shui is an ancient Chinese art and science of improving health and fortune through the thoughtful design of people's surroundings. Most people associate it with the design of buildings and the arrangement interior spaces, but feng shui also extends to outdoor environments, such as the layout of gardens.
The premise of feng shui is that harmonious spaces promote the healthy flow of qi, or life energy, and a balance of yin and yang, or feminine and masculine forces. Utilising the five elements of fire, water, wood, metal and earth recognised in Chinese tradition, and the way they interact with one another, is also an important consideration.
Each space should have the elements within balanced in the right proportions to support the way in which the area is used. A home office, for example, might have an emphasis on metal, as this element is associated with focus and success in business. The elements can be literally represented, for example by lighting candles to include fire in a space, or metaphorically, by hanging a mirror to symbolise water.
The words ‘feng shui’ themselves mean ‘wind’ and ‘water’ respectively. In feng shui practice, wind is believed to dissipate or scatter qi, while water is said to allow it to collect. Although there is some discussion about the origins of this practice, it is believed to be about 6,000 years old. In its earliest forms, feng shui is thought to have been used by ancient farming communities to choose optimal locations for their dwellings and crops.
By thoughtfully considering geography and how their villages were orientated, these communities could make the most of available sunlight and natural watercourses while also being shielded from harsh weather conditions. As a result, their inhabitants thrived, and the principles of environmental harmony were refined and applied to increasingly ambitious undertakings, including the design of entire cities.
Benefits of Feng Shui
Winston Churchill famously once observed that “We shape our buildings, and afterwards, our buildings shape us.” Generally, the intended benefits of feng shui for health stem from the creation of environments that feel good to spend time in, support vitality in living spaces and restfulness in bedrooms.
Many people apply the principles of feng shui for love or wealth, and some believe they have enjoyed significant success as a result. The classic benefits of feng shui are reported to include good fortune, health and prosperity, improvements in focus and concentration, and an increased ability to attract positive relationships.
Research suggests that traditional feng shui concepts may correspond closely with modern architectural principles of best practice. Another small-scale study endeavoured to correlate the feng shui of hotel foyers with the level of business success their managers reported. The findings suggested hotels with good feng shui may enjoy greater business success.
Feng shui has also been studied alongside environmental psychology as a way of creating holistic, sustainable living spaces which are intended to have measurable benefits for their occupants’ mental and physical health.
Feng shui may assist in relieving symptoms related to:
- Circulation and cardiovascular conditions
- Concentration, focus and problem solving
- Energy and vitality
- Headaches and migraines
- Insomnia and sleep disorders
- Love and Relationships
- Memory and cognitive function
- Pain relief
- Stress and tension
- Weight control and obesity
What to expect from practising Feng Shui
Before your session, a feng shui consultant will request information about your business and residence, such as the floor plan, birth dates of people living or working there, and when the building was constructed. You will also be asked about how you would like the space -- and your life -- to improve, as well as what is causing you difficulty.
Your feng shui practitioner will usually visit your home or business, evaluating the building and its surroundings, and talk to you about how feng shui works within your space. Depending on the school or discipline of feng shui they use, your consultant will often perform calculations related to the orientation of your home or business, as well as the balance of the five elements within the space. Normally, a bagua (energy map) of your home or business will be used to analyse how the various spaces correspond with different areas of your life, such as relationships, health and business.
Some consultants will physically help you move around some of the furniture in the space to show immediate effects and possibilities, assuming you are comfortable with them doing so. After the consultation, you will be provided with detailed recommendations about changes you can make, ranging from the arrangement of interior furnishings to colour selection and window treatments.
If you suffer from allergies or a condition such as asthma, it is advisable to seek a practitioner with qualifications in building biology. These consultants are trained to complement feng shui recommendations with advice about managing moisture intrusion, contaminants such as mould, and electromagnetic fields in the home.