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Feng shui may have been around for thousands of years, but it still has adherents who believe it plays a big role when it comes to the health and harmony of your home.
That inexplicable feeling of comfort you get when you walk into your favourite room, or that sense of something not being quite right when in an unfamiliar environment, that's known as qi, or chi. This is best explained as unseen energy, which has an impact on how we feel.
Feng shui expert Elizabeth Wiggins says chi is of central importance in feng shui, which she explains as being the relationship between a building and the people living in it. "Feng shui is like a birth chart of a house, and you can tell what people may experience in that home depending on their susceptibility. From there it's a matter of neutralising the negative aspects and enhancing the positive ones," she explains.
To do an accurate reading of a house, Wiggins needs to know the age of the house, dates and details of any major renovations, the exact compass reading (which way the house faces) and the floor plan. This even makes it possible for her to consult remotely. "Two homes can have identical floor plans and compass directions, but if they're built in different years they will have two different charts, and what works for one won't for another," explains Wiggins.
While it's a common misconception that feng shui is a form of fortune-telling or a spiritual practice, Wiggins says it's simply a matter of mathematics and is practised as a form of traditional Chinese medicine. "I'm actually quite cynical about most things, so for me to be doing this says something for its power," she says.
Wiggins advises some of Australia's richest families on the feng shui of their houses. "Often I may have done a consultation for them a few years ago and they may be building a new home or moving into a new one and won't do so until I say it's OK," she says.
People typically seek a consultation for three reasons: health, wealth and relationships. A personal consultation is recommended if looking for specific advice, but Wiggins says there are a number of things that can be done to improve the health of a home without seeking the help of a professional.
FORTUITOUS DESIGN TOOLS
Colour can make significant impact if used in the wrong way. "The colour red can be disastrous for some people," says Wiggins. "If you use it and things are OK, then leave it, but if things don't go well and bad opportunities come your way instead of good, then remove the red. It's the only colour that's strong enough to affect the energy in a building," she advises.
Water - in particular running water in the form of a feature or fish tank - has a very strong connection to wealth in either a positive or negative way. "If things aren't going well for you from a wealth perspective, move the water feature or get rid of it," says Wiggins. "There's no set place on where it needs to go, it comes down to where your home's prosperity energy is," she explains.
When it comes to the rooms of a house, the bedroom is one of the most important in feng shui, and the placement of the bed is crucial. Wiggins says there are a couple of important points to remember: "The bedhead should be against a solid wall. This will provide you with a sense of support and security when sleeping. You also shouldn't have your bed on the opposite side of an external electricity box - this can have a big effect on the immune system."
Wiggins also recommends mirrors be avoided directly opposite a bed, as it is said negative aspects within a relationship can be reflected back in.
Regardless of the area of the home, Wiggins says the best thing for promoting good chi is to remove the clutter. "If a room is cluttered, the chi is stuck and can't move through, which can cause good opportunities to pass you by."
- Sydney Morning Herald
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