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Both traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and feng shui come from ancient Chinese roots. They are both believed to have been influenced and developed by Taoism. Despite attempts to eradicate practices during the times of strict Communism, there do remain believers in and practitioners of each, as well as those who regularly seek the services and benefits of each.
The aims of both the TCM practitioner and the feng shui adviser are the same; to increase energy, promote restorative healing and balance a person’s energies. Harmony is sought in the body, the mind and the home. Primarily TCM balances yin and yang in the body, and feng shui seeks to balance yin and yang externally.
In times gone by, a Chinese doctor was to incorporate eight branches of medicine into their practice. These branches were:
- Exercise (to restore and maintain harmony within the physical body)
- Meditation (to restore and maintain balance within the mind, as well as encouraging one to further their self-understanding and knowledge)
- Diet (including herbal treatments and supplements, to look after the body and mind)
- Massage (to stimulate, calm and tone to body to help remove blockages)
- Feng shui (to position everything in one’s surroundings to encourage balance and beneficial energy flows)
- Astrology (to see the bigger picture of life and gain understanding of individual skills, attributes and characteristics)
- Acupuncture (to stimulate the flow of energy along the body’s core channels)
- Moxibustion (to keep organs warm and functioning well through the application of heat to the body)
The principles for all are interconnected and universal. They are based on the nature of yin and yang, the elements, namely earth, wood, fire, water and metal, and improving the quality and flow of Qi. Qi is a moveable and changeable force, which can be positive or negative. Essentially, it is considered to be a life force. Yin and yang express polarity and opposites. The elements relate to different forces that affect life.
Feng shui literally translates as wind and water, and is both a science and an art. It is the only one of the eight branches of Chinese medicine that relates to surroundings, rather than to the body. It is an ancient form of geomancy; a practice related to the earth that is spiritual, metaphysical or pseudoscientific. Feng shui combines both the laws of heaven, and astronomy, and the earth to create more positivity for a person. In simple terms, it gives people a model for how to arrange their environment to encourage peace, happiness, prosperity, health and success. It looks at how the natural environment, man-made structures and immediate surroundings have a bearing on a person’s overall well being. One should be at one with their environment, and working with it rather than against it. It works to allow unimpeded energy flows and prevent blockages, which could cause disharmony and unbalance.
There were different traditional schools of feng shui. Modern practices tend to draw from all schools, and blend ideas together. Directionally, some practitioners will work according to the eight cardinal directions, whereas others will put the primary focus on the entrance and how things are positioned in relation to it.
Whilst some people like to consult experts, there are several basic principles of feng shui that anyone can easily implement in their home. A bit of careful planning and reordering can help energy flow better for everyone in their personal spaces. Principles can also be applied to work spaces for even greater benefits. A simple step is to hang a mirror in the doorway to deflect negative and potentially harmful energies away from the home. Clocks, crystals and colours can easily be used to bring greater harmony to a room, home or office.
TCM today is a combination of anatomical knowledge, philosophical ideas and knowledge obtained through observations and meditation. Practices such as acupuncture, diet control, massage, meditation, herbal remedies and qi alignment continue to be used today as they have been used for thousands of years. Each process is designed to free the flow of qi energy, by releasing blockages in the mind and body. All illnesses and diseases are thought to occur when qi energy is impeded in some way.
Both TCM, including the various elements as well as all together, and feng shui can be used independently to help improve people’s lives. Taken together, however, they create a holistic and full approach to caring for the self. Additionally, they were traditionally intended to be used together for maximum effects. They can therefore be used well together in combination today to help create good health benefits and a greater overall feeling of balance, harmony and well being.