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Feng shui

Related Terms

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Background

  • 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."
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Technique

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Theory/Evidence

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Author Information

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References

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.

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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.