Feng what?

Definitely not feng shooey. Pronounce it like this…fung-shway. From the ancient Chinese system of geomancy whereby universal laws of heaven and earth can be harnessed to attract positive chi (energy) into your life, feng shui literally translates as wind and water. Chi, by the way, is also known as qi or ki.

Traditionally, feng shui was widely used to locate and orient buildings so that they would be auspicious to the people who lived in them or, in the case of tombs, so that the generations to follow would inherit good luck and abundance. This was determined by various formulas using the elements, the landscape, the stars and a compass known as the Lo Pan. On a trip to Hong Kong a few years ago, I found it fascinating to see the principles in action as banks and large businesses vied to out-feng each other.


Flow of chi

One way to describe feng shui is the flow of chi in the environment. You know that feeling when you enter a building or a room, and you pick up on something? Sometimes it feels good but at other times you may feel uneasy. You might find it difficult to pin point exactly why you feel that way. It seems to be – just a feeling. Often what you’ve picked up is related to what has previously happened in the space and how the enegy flows there. Have you ever walked into a space where there’s been an argument? We have expressions like ‘you could cut the atmosphere with a knife’, ‘that place gave me the shivers’, ‘I couldn’t wait to get out of there’, or more positively ‘I felt completely at home’, ‘It’s so peaceful there’ and so on. This is our human chi interacting with the chi in our environment.


Stagnant chi

When the energy in a space feels stuck, it’s known as stagnant chi. I remember going to a gallery in London that specialises in the works of one artist. All the rooms were dark and musty. It seemed that the place hadn’t been properly cleaned for a long time even though I’m pretty sure the cleaners went in regularly as it was open to the public. To protect the artwork from sunlight, they never opened the shuttered windows. The air felt thick and heavy. There was no fresh chi flowing but years of accumulated stagnant chi. I felt I couldn’t breathe properly and noticed, interestingly, that there weren’t many visitors. I didn’t stay long and couldn’t wait to get back outside and take a few deep breaths. I even felt I needed a shower. The gallery has since had a complete renovation and what a different experience my return visit was…light, spacious, sparkly. After the visit, I even stayed for tea and cake in the café.



Feng shui and your therapy room

So what has this got to do with your therapy room? When practising massage we want our therapy rooms to feel good to the client and also to ourselves. Feng shui can enhance the atmosphere in your room by changing the flow of chi in such a way it can have a positive effect on your business. How? Through colour, furniture placement, enhancements, decluttering and cleanliness.

If you want advice that’s individual to you, its best to have a session with a qualified feng shui consultant (like me!) so the advice can be tailored to your space and requirements. Plug over. Having said that, 30% of feng shui is common sense. You know that saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’? If your business is working well, then there probably isn’t anything you need to adjust. But if your business isn’t working as you want it to, and you could do with more clients, here are 10 useful tips that will work for everyone and that you can put into action fairly quickly.



10 top feng shui tips

If you feel good in the room and about the room, chances are your clients will too. When we are working in a space day-in day-out, we often don’t see things as a client visiting you for the first time. Look at your therapy room in an objective way. A great time to do this is after you’ve been away from it for a few days. It’s as if you come back to it with fresh eyes. Notice how it looks. Notice how it feels. What do your clients see when they come into the room? Does it make a good impression or not? Does it enable them to feel calm and relaxed? Is it a space that promotes trust in you as a therapist? Can you hear any background noises? Does the air feel fresh? What does the room smell like? Ask a friend to come in and give their impressions too.

The doorway to your treatment room needs to look good decor-wise and must be in good working order. For example, no chips on the paintwork, no creaky hinges, no broken handles. Don’t store anything behind the door. Make sure you can fully open it. As you walk into the room, take care that nothing blocks the way (like the massage table). The door needs to open freely and easily without any obstructions. Have some free space to walk into. If possible align the door hinges on the side of the door that enables you to see the whole room when you enter. This is usually the case in newer buildings in the UK, but older period properties have the doors opening so you cannot see the whole room.

In an ideal world there’d be at least one window in the room that you can open. Keep the window sparkly clean both inside and out. If you haven’t got a window, keep the door open when you do your regular cleaning session, and in between clients. Fresh air and regular cleaning is the quickest way to get enegy circulating.

Clean your massage table and the rest of your room regularly. This is obviously standard practise and especially now in these corona times.

If possible, position your table so that neither the client’s feet or head are directly facing the door when they are lying down. If they can see the door when they are in supine that would be good.

Keep your room uncluttered. Every now and then, stand, sit, lie down (in prone, supine and side-lying) where your clients receive their treatments. A while ago, a friend went to see a shiatsu practitioner. She was asked to lie down and the therapist said she would be back in a few minutes. The therapy room also doubled as a living room. The sheet covering the mat was clean but old. Looking around the room while lying down, my friend noticed that there was a thick layer of dust underneath the TV stand. There were old newspapers and magazines piled haphazardly in the corner. There was a duvet, the ends of which was sticking out from behind a sofa. The ceiling had cobwebs in the corners. All in all a bit icky. So despite a good hands-on treatment, do you think she went back? Remember the placebo effect – if the client gets a good impression of the treatment room (and therefore, of you) and feels good there, then they’ll start feeling better even before the first effleurage. If you’d like some help with decluttering, get in touch with Doreen. Check out clutterclearinguk.com.

Look at the things you have in the room. Do you love them? Are they uplifting pictures of nature? Or is there an image of a fighter jet? Seriously, I’ve seen this in an office of a therapy clinic. Relaxing?? Choose things that invoke positive thoughts and feelings. You can use colour to promote relaxation. Something like soft shades of colours you’d find in nature like green or muted colours.

Soften sharp angles and corners in the room by using plants in front of them or soft material. Are they healthy plants? Without spiky leaves? You don’t want to attract spiky clients do you? If possible have curved edges on furniture. 

For in-person consultations, use chairs with a back and arms and position the chairs so that you can see the door, and ideally both you and the client have a wall behind you. This chair arrangement allows you both to feel more supported and gives you the therapeutic lead. 

If you have a mirror in the room, check what it’s reflecting. In restaurants that use feng shui, mirrors are often placed behind the cash register to enhance the flow of money into the business. It’s not a good idea, for example, if your mirror reflects your waste bin, but a money plant (Crassula ovate) would be good.


May the chi be with you. Let us know how you get on.

Dympna O’Brien "</p
For feng shui consultations email dympna@quantummetta.co.uk
Online consultations available

Dympna also teaches on a number of our courses including the Holistic Massage Diploma course.