Feng Shui has long been recognized in China as an adjunct to healing disciplines, especially acupuncture. First, this paper will define Ch'i energy as used in Feng Shui practice relative to Ch'i energy as known in acupuncture. (Note: in mainland China, this term is usually rendered as Qi now.) Several typical Feng Shui techniques and case histories will be discussed as they relate to mental and physical health problems. Feng Shui techniques will be classified into three categories: ritualistic, mental, and direct Ch'i affecting. Finally, a coherent rationale for the possible effectiveness of Feng Shui as an adjunct to other healing therapies will be given, along with specific lines of experimentation to extend our knowledge of this discipline.
Ch'i energy is the main power in the Universe, according to ancient Chinese textbooks. When this energy is out of balance in the human body, illness results. When it is out of balance in buildings, a wide variety of calamities, difficulties, and health problems can result.
Specific definitions of Ch'i are sometimes difficult to understand as translated from Chinese documents. A translation saying, "That which cannot be defined is the essence of Ch'i" is not much help to modern researchers. That said, we can define Ch'i as a fundamental energy of the Universe, which creates electromagnetic and other energy patterns, and propagates much like sound. For a more comprehensive discussion of this, please refer to a previous paper by this author, entitled "Scalar Theory as Seen from the Chinese Perspective" in the 1991 IANS Proceedings.
Essentially, according to ancient documents and modern practice, Ch'i energy is regarded as the same thing in both acupuncture and Feng Shui. It can truly be said that "Feng Shui is to buildings what acupuncture is to human bodies." By manipulating the subtle energy patterns found in buildings, it is possible to create healthier environments for people, and thus improve health. This is why Feng Shui is of concern to therapists.
RITUALISTIC FENG SHUI
Ritualistic techniques are those for which no working mechanism can be determined, such as purification rituals. Parts of traditional Feng Shui as practiced in China rely heavily on secret rituals. Some of this information has been made available through Master Lin Yun's Black Hat school in Berkeley, California. In some ways, these rituals are reminiscent of European ceremonial magic. Usually, the rituals need to be done only once, or for a specified period of time according to a schedule. It is possible that unknown mechanisms are at work. However, the secrecy surrounding the rituals makes a scientific evaluation impossible, until such time as a master is willing to allow everything to be revealed to the general public.
One way in which rituals could be valuable is in the purification of places. Several doctrines throughout the world say that certain events, especially violent deaths, can leave behind upsetting vibrations. The nature of Ch'i energy could easily explain these persistent vibrations. It is entirely possible that, through long experience, effective purification rituals have been developed which could change the Ch'i vibrations permanently through some mechanism embedded in the ritual. It has been noted that music, played live in a ceremonial context, sometimes appears to have a lasting effect.
Mental Feng Shui techniques are those which can be explained easily through an understanding of how the mind works. A good example is placement of mirrors near an entrance. This tends to raise self-esteem, since almost everyone gets a positive charge out of seeing themselves in a mirror.
In rural Kansas, a client was experiencing severe mental stress combined with a deteriorating marriage. During a survey of her house, several positive design elements were found. However, two decorations were definitely creating stress. One was a hayhook, suspended from the high point of the living room ceiling. Two sharp points were aimed down into the room. This kind of decorative motif will always cause stress.
Using a farm implement for decoration seemed like a nice whimsical touch at the time, but its effects were even noticed by a ten-year old visitor to the house, who asked if they were afraid of the thing coming down on them. Truly, the points were constantly coming down on the occupants, causing a sense of uncertainty, even though a stout rope held the offending appliance securely in place.
The other problem was the placement of a gun rack next to the bedroom door. In rural Kansas, gun racks inside a house are normal, as predators sometimes need to be promptly dispatched. However, the barrels of the two guns were pointing straight across the threshold of the bedroom. This constantly transmitted a subliminal message, saying "marriage is dangerous" over and over. So the relationship deteriorated. As soon as these two items were moved, the clients reported a marked improvement both in stress levels and in the marriage.
Entrances to buildings are another example of a mental Feng Shui factor. If an entrance is blocked, the occupants tend to fall into thought patterns which block the flow of money or other good things into the house. Case histories involving improvements after clearing up entrances are too numerous to mention here. Remember that, in mental terms, the front door has a great deal of meaning, even if another entrance is normally used. This is the face presented to the world. Family breakups or schizophrenia have often been reported where more than one front door is present, making the proper entrance unclear. These things will tend to happen to every occupant of a house, until the situation is fixed.
Building shapes are another aspect of Feng Shui relating to the mind. People tend to seek balance in life, and a building with an unbalanced shape can indeed cause a corresponding unbalance in an area of consciousness. Each directional corner of a building has a subliminal association. These have been classified based on mathematical principles underlying the I Ching. Appropriate diagrams are available in almost every Feng Shui manual.
CH'I AFFECTING PRINCIPLES
Ch'i affecting techniques are designed to work directly on Ch'i energy, and are of the most interest to subtle energy researchers. Some of these techniques involve placing of crystals, which are suspected of having an effect on subtle energy patterns. Other techniques involve looking at water flow, to take full advantage of the associated Ch'i energy.
Much of Feng Shui is concerned with the proper speed of Ch'i flow. In a well-balanced environment, Ch'i can nurture all the space and the people in that space. It must move slowly enough to impart healthful energy to everyone there, and fast enough to go back out again into the world without stagnating.
In cases of fast-flowing Ch'i, known as "Sha Ch'i", it has been noted that mental and sometimes digestive disturbances are often associated with this phenomenon. The word Sha literally means "death". The most obvious example of fast Ch'i is when automobiles constantly point towards a house in a cul-de-sac, a T intersection, or on a curved street. During childhood, the author lived in a house across from a T intersection for nine years, and a large number of the family's problems were later discovered to be typical of this arrangement. Paranoia, irritability, chronic anger, and heart dysfunction have all been associated with this configuration. (Both of my parents died of heart attacks in that house.) Some interior design configurations, such as long hallways, can also create this. Fast Ch'i needs to be either diverted or broken up. Crystals, screens, plants, and ironwork can all be used as design elements to accomplish this, although in some cases there really is no good solution.
Stagnant Ch'i is associated with other kinds of problems, such as laziness, mental deterioration, respiratory dysfunction, and sometimes tumors. This can occur when a house is built in a former swamp. Bedrooms located too far from the rest of the house, where there is no chance for Ch'i to circulate properly, can also create stagnant conditions. Mirrors can be used to reflect Ch'i into stagnant areas. Sometimes, remodelling is called for, to integrate stranded rooms into the rest of a house, or place new windows to bring in Ch'i associated with light.
FENG SHUI AS AN ADJUNCT TO HEALING PRACTICES
Any time a patient visits a therapist for the first time, the therapist could order, as a standard procedure, a full Feng Shui evaluation of the patient's home.
Recommendations by the Feng Shui consultant would be shared with the therapist, and the recommendations, which often include remodelling or redecorating, could be more consistently implemented because of follow-up suggestions by the therapist. This is a compelling vision, which brings together healing practice and everyday life. Therapists are often frustrated because an unknown environmental factor is subverting treatment, and Feng Shui professionals are often frustrated because recommendations are not implemented. When therapists and Feng Shui consultants work together, both problems can be solved at once.
Feng Shui consultants ought to be preparing full written reports from each site visit. Integrating Feng Shui with any healing practice makes this a necessity. Relying on memory or notes taken by clients is not good enough when integrating the recommendations into a healing program. Since each patient is essentially a living experiment, there should be a focus on methods to take case histories and create journals which will build up the body of anecdotal evidence in this discipline.
POSSIBLE METHODS OF MEASURING CH'I ENERGY
When working with Ch'i modifying techniques, a method of measurement would be a great advance. Right now, no consistent and reliable method of measuring Ch'i is known. Many subjective techniques are available, including several forms of kinesiology, radionic stickplates, and dowsing. All these methods depend heavily on the sensitivity and personal expertise of the individual making the evaluation. Since individual sensitivity to all subtle energies can vary from one day to the next, or even faster, it is best to continue seeking some form of consistent analog or digital measurement method.
Since Ch'i is said to propagate just like sound, this is an important possibility in developing measurement methods. Jack Derby of Tucson, Arizona, who built the Violet Ray Crystal Resonator device, found that one model of Radio Shack acoustic meter showed high readings when placed near people hooked up to the device. Since the device definitely seems to be affecting Ch'i energy, based on reports from many subjects who have tried it, this is an important line of inquiry.
It may be possible to couple radionic stickplate circuits to digital readouts. A stickplate is a pad that an operator runs fingers across. When the fingers stick, instead of moving smoothly, that's considered a reading. The "B.E.S.T." laptop computer-based acoustic radionics system developed by Tim Miskiewicz, which uses a conventional stickplate as an antenna in the process of developing customized acoustic signals, is a step in that direction.
Coupling dowsing sensors to digital meters is another approach to try. After all, it doesn't matter what the numbers are measuring, as long as there is a consistent basis for comparison between sites and methods. We should be able to figure out the exact meaning of the numbers after sufficient data has been built up.
Feng Shui is only beginning to be understood in America and Europe. As understanding increases, we should be able to more consistently use its power to improve health and prosperity. Interfaces between health professionals and consultants need to be developed and strengthened. Traditional ritual information may not always be available, but many other aspects of this discipline are open to further study, correlation, and development. The most exciting area by far is the possibility of directly affecting subtle energies using Feng Shui techniques. As subtle energies are further classified over the next few years, we are likely to see tremendous advances in understanding old procedures and developing new ones.
Resources and references for this paper are available by request, as the list is too extensive to be included here.
This article is (c) 2002 by Michael Riversong. Permission will be granted to reproduce IF REQUESTED.