Feng shui

March 22, 2017


Feng shui

Natural Standard Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.

Related Terms

  • Ba gua, black hah feng shui, Book of Burial, chi, chien, controlling cycle, creative cycle, dui, dul, feng shui, feng-shui, fengshui (foong shway, fung shway), feng shui ba gua, fūsui (Japanese), geomancy, gi (chi), hsun, jen, li, luopan, kan, ken, kun, kun gua, phong-th?y (Vietnamese), pung-su (Korean), reducing cycle, san he, san yuan, Zhai Bu divination, Zhang Shu.


  • Feng shui means "wind and water," and is an ancient Chinese practice that aims to maximize the beneficial movement of qi (the life force present in all things) through a space. Traditional (classical) feng shui is a Chinese science that addresses the design and layout of cities, villages, dwellings, buildings, home decorations and furniture in order to harness beneficial qi from one's surroundings. Feng shui addresses the yang aspect (living things) but can also be applied to the yin aspect - as seen in the careful construction of graves and tombs. Rules for yang dwellings differ from those applied to yin houses (houses of the dead).

  • During the Zhou Dynasty (from 11th Century B.C. to 256 B.C.), the fortune of a dwelling was determined by Zhai Bu divination. For example, to determine the favor of a gravesite, Zhai Bu was used to see if there was an underground spring below the burial site. If there was such an area it was not a suitable site for burial. This practice became the beginning form of feng shui.

  • During the Warring States period (475-221 B.C.), the study of the I Ching (a Chinese book of ancient origin consisting of 64 interrelated hexagrams along with commentaries attributed to Confucius) became very popular. Chinese cosmology and philosophy like Confucianism, Daoism, the theories of yin and yang, the five elements (wood, earth, water, fire and metal), and the ba gua (a map of the energetic influences of a space) began to take shape. By the time of the Han dynasty (206-220 A.D.) practitioners maintained written records of feng shui consultations. The study of feng shui at that time was initially linked with the study of I Ching. The popularity of the I Ching and feng shui reached their peak during the Han Dynasty.

  • The word "feng shui" first appeared during the Jin Dynasty. Guo Pu, who lived from 276-324 A.D., wrote in his book Zhang Shu, also known as or the Book of Burial, "the dead should take advantage of the sheng qi, the wind will disperse the qi and the water will contain it." The ancients said that one should try to gather the qi so that it will not disperse. The aim is to keep it flowing but contained. Hence it is called "feng shui."

  • Traditional feng shui schools can be separated into two groups: san he (three harmonies) and san yuan (three cycles: the creative cycle, the reducing cycle and the controlling cycle). The former group emphasizes the effect of surrounding landforms while the latter gives more weight to the factor of time.

  • The goal of feng shui is to create an attractive, safe and nurturing space in which an individual can live and work more comfortably and productively. Today, feng shui is practiced as a complementary therapy and used in health care setting design and hospital constructions.


  • Feng shui uses shapes, colors, textures, sound, light, symbolic imagery and the arrangement of furniture to adjust the energy of a home. Just as acupuncture works by correcting the flow of chi through the human body, feng shui works by directing the flow of qi through the home. This is why feng shui is sometimes called "acupuncture for the home." Positive influences are encouraged and enhanced, while negative factors are corrected and minimized.

  • Every space has a ba gua. There is a ba gua for a plot of land, a ba gua for a house or apartment, and a ba gua for each room within home. The ba gua can even be applied to smaller areas, like a desk, bed, or stove. In feng shui, the ba gua is a map of the energetic influences of a space. Some people use the ba gua according to the compass directions. The ba gua divides any space into nine areas. Each area corresponds to a different aspect of an individual's life. It is proposed that the energy in each space, either positive or negative, may affect the related aspect of an individual's life.

  • To apply the ba gua to home, align the bottom edge with the wall of the front door. Even if one usually enters the home through the garage, a back or a side door, always align the ba gua to the front door. Then, stretch (or shrink) the ba gua to cover entire space. To apply the ba gua to an individual room, the same ideas apply: align the ba gua with the doorway wall, and adjust the size to fit the space. As one stands in the doorway facing into the space, kun gua (relationships) is always to the far right. If there is more than one way to enter a space, orient the ba gua to the most prominent entryway. If the entries are equal, choose the one that is more frequently used.


  • Feng shui, often called the art of placement, is also called "the art of flow." Feng shui practitioners believe that qi wants to flow. When qi is blocked or weak, an individual may feel tired, depressed or unable to focus. In contrast, feng shui practitioners describe the overabundance of qi as similar to a hurricane or flood. An individual may feel out of control, overly emotional, or anxious much of the time. Business, cash flow, and relationships may also feel unstable.

  • Traditional feng shui uses a specialized compass called a luopan, and a comprehensive array of calculations involving mathematical iterations. It has foundation texts, core theories and methods based on archeological discoveries and the work of archeoastronomers.

  • Currently, there are no available high quality trials describing the efficacy of feng shui as a complementary practice. However, feng shui has been extensively written about in ancient texts and practiced for centuries.

Author Information

  • This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).


Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  1. American Feng Shui Institute. 5 June 2006. www.amfengshui.com

  2. Blum JD. Feng shui and the restructuring of the hospital corporation: a call for change in the face of the medical error epidemic. Health Matrix Clevel 2004; 14(1):5-34. View Abstract

  3. Clark CC. Feng shui--a complementary therapy. Nurs Spectr (Wash D C) 1998;8(7):16-17. View Abstract

  4. Feng Shui Institute of America. 5 June 2006. www.windwater.com

  5. Frimel TJ. Florence Nightingale, Martha Rogers and the art of feng shui. Beginnings 2001;21(1):10. View Abstract

  6. Jeffreys P. Feng ahui for the health sector: harmonious buildings, healthier people. Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery 2000;6(2):61-65. View Abstract

  7. Livingston C. Balancing chi and integrating feng shui. Midwifery Today Int Midwife 2003;(66):16. View Abstract

  8. Rossbach S. Feng shui explores relationship between design and health--ancient Chinese art of placement. Calif Hosp 1991;5(2):29-31. View Abstract

  9. Rossbach S, Lin TY. Feng shui for healthcare design. J Health Care Inter Des 1991; 3:17-25. View Abstract

Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.


March 22, 2017