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Essential Feng Shui and Evidence-based Design

Essential Feng Shui and Evidence-based Design

By Cheryl Janis, Essential Feng Shui® Practitioner

Science confirms what Feng Shui has known for thousands of years…

Twelve years ago when I began my profession as a self-employed Essential Feng Shui® Practitioner (after graduating from the Western School of Feng Shui) I had no idea there was any Western science that proved a built environment could contribute to healing. I simply kept experiencing powerful space and life transformations among clients who hired me to Feng Shui their homes (and later with holistic and integrative boutique healthcare practices) to be more nurturing, warm and cozy, and aesthetically pleasing.

Even when I painted the exteriors of the homes I owned, I was acutely aware of the neighbors who would suddenly take notice and start cleaning their own yards, beautifying their gardens and tidying up the pathways to their front doors. In time, this elevated the energy of the neighborhoods, drawing more people to them and eventually raising the homes’ monetary value.

And even after working with hundreds of holistic and integrative medicine healthcare practitioners who continuously reported patients and clients feeling more relaxed and enamored with the experience of their sessions (after the Feng Shui design of their spaces), I still didn’t know exactly how to scientifically prove that space contributed to healing.

That is, until I did some research on the subject and found something truly remarkable…


Evidence-Based Design

There’s a little known up-and-coming field in the healthcare design industry called Evidence-Based Design and it’s making some big tidal wave changes in the neuroscience, healthcare design and architecture circles.

Hospitals and other integrative medicine facilities are adopting people and place centered well-being design practices that are remarkably similar and, in many cases, almost identical to Essential Feng Shui® practices.

Yeah, really.

Based on empirical evidence gathered over the years by some really smart environmental psychologists, medical doctors and researchers, these established Feng Shui design concepts are now being recommended and implemented in new healthcare environments:

  • The integration of nature in built indoor spaces (Five Elements Theory), through things like artwork and plants to accelerate healing and reduce pain
  • Outdoor gardens in hospital settings (with a similar look and feel to Feng Shui landscaping principles)
  • Sound management through design elements like water features and music for cardiovascular health
  • Color and lighting design (Yin and Yang concepts) to reduce stress and improve mood
  • Aromatherapy to reduce anxiety and increase well-being
  • Walking labyrinths placed in military medical facilities to treat PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

These elements have been shown to have a profound psychological, physiological and sociological healing effect on human beings.

Like we didn’t already know that right?

My favorite book right now on the subject is by Dr. Esther Sternberg called, “Healing Spaces, The Science of Place and Well-Being.”

In it Dr. Sternberg shares how the brain responds to different design elements in a space… and the Feng Shui of Disneyland (although she doesn’t quite use those words).

She also shares this in her TedEx talk on the subject of healing spaces:

“The major standard setting and licensing bodies in the design professions are now setting human health and well being standards for all their buildings. The future now talked about in medicine is person and place centered well-being. We want to know the place around us keeps us well, and helps us heal, as well as helping the planet.”

Watch her here:

I’m thrilled the rest of the world is starting to catch up to what Feng Shui has known for thousands of years—by working with the energy of built environments, we can greatly contribute to the well-being of its occupants and make life-changing contributions to the world of healing. For more information on Evidence Based Design visit The Center for Health Design here:

cheryl janisAbout the author: Cheryl Janis is a Holistic Interior Designer and a Feng Shui Consultant for boutique healthcare practitioners who want to amplify the healing experience of their space.

Cheryl uses an integrative approach to design—drawing on evidence-based design, style and design psychology, and the principles of Essential Feng Shui®.

Read more about Cheryl and her work here:

Yes, this is an image of one of Cheryl’s clients! A very happy veterinarian and their office in Portland, OR.


One Comment

  1. Thank you, Cheryl, for sharing the news about “mainstream” validation of ancient feng shui. It’s so encouraging for us practitioners who are passionate about the healing potential of the art and science of “Wind-Water”!