Does feng shui work?


Fact Box

  • Britannica defines feng shui as “an ancient Chinese practice of orienting significant sites, buildings, and the spaces and objects within them in harmony with the flow of qi (also spelled ch’i). Qi (“breath” or “dragon’s breath”) is the vital life force, comparable to prana in Indian culture.”
  • President Richard Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 is credited with introducing feng shui to the West, with feng shui master Thomas Lin Yun Rinpoche’s Black Hat Sect Tantric Buddhist (BTB) style of feng shui launching in Berkeley, CA, in the 1980s.
  • A 2015 Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate survey found that 86% of Chinese Americans say “feng shui will play a role in a future home buying decision.”
  • In the 1990s, before his presidency, then real-estate developer Donald Trump consulted with feng shui master Pun-Yin to help design Trump International Hotel and Tower and “make the necessary changes to its design, in a calculated move to tap into the burgeoning market of international investors in US real estate from China and Hong Kong. For such respected clients, a building lacking in feng shui could be a dealbreaker.”

Elisa (No)

While there is nothing wrong with using feng shui as a framework for style and design, many believe it to be scientifically 'beneficial.' However, that is simply not the case.

Firstly, feng shui often addresses building layouts and structures, aspects which many cannot easily change within their homes or offices. In other words, according to feng shui, rooms may already be 'doomed' to be inauspicious for architectural reasons. If someone has a wall impeding the flow and harmony of a space, for example, there is often little that can be done about it without expensive or unrealistic changes. For this reason, even if feng shui 'works,' it is impractical. 

Adding to feng shui's impracticality are two components integral to design: function and comfort. No matter how 'auspicious' design elements may be, no benefits will be reaped if they make no sense in a particular climate or situation. Therefore, feng shui is not universally applicable. 

Further, when you really dive into the rules of feng shui and how some apply them, they are simply strange or unreasonable. Did you know many feng shui experts say your front door must be red or you can't have plants in your bedroom? A person's individual needs and wants must triumph over any design scheme, feng shui included. 

Finally, many claim that feng shui is a science; however, at best, it is a 'traditional art' based on a 'complicated system of theories' formed from ancient Taoist principles. At times impractical, not universally applicable, and not forgiving of individual preferences, feng shui should not be regarded as a foolproof system to achieve peace and harmony, but rather a fun and quirky addition to other design concepts.  

Dougie (Yes)

Feng shui is among several Chinese practices rooted in ancient beliefs that have persisted for thousands of years. It adheres to principles guiding traditional Chinese and Korean medicine, both of which are taught in hundreds of universities.

Feng shui is a historically impactful cosmological worldview tied to magnetism and astronomy. It's an art of arrangement believed to promote prosperity and harmony. Central to the practice is what the Chinese culture acknowledges as chi, an ever-present, dynamic, energetic life force in all things, material and abstract. Chi includes complementing forces of yin and yang that, when balanced, create positive flow.

Chi is acknowledged by Chinese law and is viewed as a universal truth. It's regarded as scientifically credible by numerous respected scholars, and renowned modern scientists agree that a subtle electromagnetic charge exists in everything, carrying information that influences molecular structure. The energy is there; feng shui attempts to harness it in a beneficial way. 

Further, feng shui is widely accepted in Chinese, Korean, and increasingly in Western cultures. And countless individuals worldwide believe good luck, health, and relationships can be cultivated with its principles.

Adding to feng shui’s credibility is the fact that it shares key foundational concepts with acupuncture, while the practice is also supported by the rationale behind popular, proven health-promoting exercises like tai chi and qigong.

Feng shui helps people achieve their goals and supports good health with natural light, plants, and less clutter. Studies show one's environment strongly affects performance and well-being, with disarray, overcrowding, and disorder tied to adverse health outcomes

Even if choosing not to believe that feng shui works, at the very least, its basic principles align with modern research, while millions have benefited from the practice's positive results for thousands of years.

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