The Chinese art of Feng Shui is based on ancient principles of energy flow. We can understand how acupuncture works by unblocking channels, or meridians, and creating a healthy flow of Qi (energy) and blood. Pressure work on acupuncture points and their channels has been proven effective by modern medical research. This same energy extends from our bodies and exists in our homes. Positioning of furniture, art, lights, and colors can affect the flow of our home’s energy.
Feng Shui works to create balance and results in a general sense of wellness and health in our homes.
The Five Elements
There are many schools, or philosophies, of Feng Shui. As a licensed acupuncturist, I was trained in a system of Feng Shui based on similar principles of the foundations of traditional Chinese medicine and the five elements of fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. The ancient philosophies date back to Daoism in China, from thousands of years ago. People then did not live separate from nature as we do now. They applied observations from the natural world to explain imbalances in their health and wellbeing. The concept of the five elements means that all things are interconnected and interdependent upon each other. Like when a fire burns wood, ash (earth) is created. Each of the five elements corresponds to aspects of our lives, from body parts to seasons, colors and scents. With Feng Shui, we can also attribute elements to each room in our home and apply elemental fixes to create harmony.
Optimizing Energy Flow
Thousands of years ago, proper energy flow was determined by safety in the home. You’ll find a lot of Feng Shui fixes are based on simple safety tips- like fixing a broken front door, assuring locks work, placing a mirror over a stove so as to not be startled when cooking, and not sleeping with a window behind your head (so no one sneaks in while you’re sleeping!) Once basic safety, both conscious and subconscious, is corrected, we can look to more specific ways to improve energy flow, or Feng Shui, in the home.
We often consider the senses in optimizing energy flow- how does the space smell, sound, see, feel, and even taste. Consider how the right lighting can induce a feeling of warmth and comfort. Corrections to rooms that feel “off” can often be made by considering how the room effects each of our senses. For example, try hanging a chime in the corner of room whose sound may not be optimal. Or try adding a cozy throw rug to the cold floor of a bedroom. Essential oil diffusers will change a room’s smell and energy. My favorite blend, and the one we use in my office, is lavender, bergamot, and lemongrass which helps to create a welcoming environment. A high-quality source for essential oils, local to Burlington, Vermont and owned and operated by a mom, is Lunaroma.
Room-By-Room Feng Shui Fixes
Each room in our home, corner of an apartment, or space in a yurt, serves a purpose. A well-organized home is one that the purpose of the space is well-defined. Ever been in a room that’s part guest room, part office, part storage bin? The energy of that space is confused and could benefit from Feng Shui fixes. If you live in a small space, it’s absolutely possible to have areas serve multiple functions, just be sure each of those functions is well defined.
Family movie night! The element earth is all about connection, family time, centering, and gathering. It is the equivalent of the family room in any home. Earth is represented by natural, “earthy” colors in the orange, brown, and yellow families. Shapes of earth are circular and round. Family photos should adorn an earth space. The area should be easily accessed, with multiple entrances, if possible.
The metal element is organized, clean, efficient, and intelligent. This would be ideal for the office in a home, or a place where work, organizing, and bill paying may happen. The color of metal, stainless steel, white, and grey are the representation of the metal element. Sharp lines and edges are the metal element. Most importantly, this is an area that is organized and clutter-free. To bring more organization to a space, first invest in organizing tools, shelves, and cubbies. Then consider metal fixes like a stainless steel garbage can or desk top organizers to bring more metal energy to a room.
Purifying, cleansing, renewing, introspection, and artistic development are represented by the water element. Ever had a brilliant idea while taking a shower? The bathroom is a perfect representation of the water element. Apply cures for the water element if you need more renewal and cleansing energy in your home by painting your bathroom blue, including a water feature like a small fountain, or setting a noise machine to the sound of waves.
Gather the troops before school and issue orders for who’s going where and when this afternoon. Leadership, authority, learning, and growth can all happen in our kitchen and this represents the wood element. Consider more house plants and paint any hue of green in the kitchen if you need more order and less chaos. Hang art of trees and forests to bring more wood energy into your home.
I bet you can guess where the fire happens- romance, connection, sleep, and passion are made for the bedroom. If the spark has dimmed or you’re looking to bring new fire into your life, consider fire remedies like colors of pinks and red, or candles or any other fire source, like a fireplace, to spark warmth and passion. Art depicting lava flow, bonfires, and candles can also produce fire energy.