Our firm has been deeply involved in the health care field, helping to create hospitals, healing centers, and medical spas. Our efforts are based on a keen desire to transform the quality of health care and its delivery toward a more holistic model that is conscious of the role played by the environment in the healing process. This concern extends well beyond the curative space and into the home and office, which we see as extensions of the human body, and therefore capable of promoting health as well as disease.

The creation of a healing facility requires an approach that is both technological and spiritual. Through the use of holistic techniques which combine traditional feng shui, rituals of healing, and green building techniques, we have sought to contribute to the creation of spaces that are vibrant, vital, and fully capable of promoting health and recuperation. In addition, we have also tried to educate health care personnel in the performance of necessary clearing processes and maintenance rituals.

Our work in this field includes collaborations with Beth Israel Hospital (NY), Continuum Health Partners (NY), Bellevue Hospital (NY), Sutter Health Partners (CA), University of Minnesota Medical School (MN), St. Mary’s Duluth Medical Center (MN), Denver Cardiology Associates (CO) as well as research organizations such as the Samueli Institute and the Carrus Institute.

In all of these cases we provided feng shui and geomancy input that helped architects, designers, and health care professionals to develop a greater understanding of the role of nature, the land, and the energetic environment on the healing process. We have also lectured extensively, promoting not only the vision of holistic healing, but also advocating for a paradigm shift towards greater prevention and sustainability.


HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Our state of health is the external manifestation of internal forces which, like the phenomena of Nature, are constantly shifting and moving from one state to the other. In traditional societies health is not conceived as an independent aspect of our reality but is seen instead as the summation of all our emotions, aspirations, achievements, and dreams. Health is therefore not seen as a static barometer of wellness or disease. Instead, it is seen as the current manifestation, within the flux of time, of the sum total of our history, genetic inheritance, genealogy, personal potential, and environment. Wellness is therefore understood as a state of balance in which all of these elements relate to each other harmoniously. Disease, on the other hand, is the absence of such balance. Medical practice in traditional societies is therefore concerned with determining the relative potential and quality of each of these elementary components, and with working towards balance.


OUR HEALTH AND THE COSMOS

Traditional thought postulates three levels of potential which arise from the three fundamental levels of reality: Heaven, Earth, and Mankind. Each of these areas of potential will affect health in different ways. Heaven, for example, determines the potential that we receive from the Cosmos (i.e. the sky, sun, moon, stars, and planets) by virtue of the forces which were acting upon our mother during the gestation process and which culminated upon the moment of our birth. Since these forces are acting in time, their influences will also vary with time. Therefore, in addition to recognizing the original potential received at birth, it is important also to understand how age, seasonal changes and other time factors will affect that potential.

The drawing of a horoscope is therefore the first step in determining the relative potential our health is receiving from the Heaven realm. The influences that were received at birth are deemed to be immutable and the imbalances that may result from these influences can therefore be predictable. Using the 9 Star Ki method (a Japanese system based on earlier Chinese horoscope systems), for example, it is possible to classify an individual according to the 5-Element system in which change is conceived in terms of 5 so-called elements (Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal).

A person born on June 15, 1950, for example, would be classified as 5 Earth / 7 Metal. Following the principles of Chinese medicine (which also are based on the 5-Element theory), it is possible to conclude that this person will find his or her greatest challenges in the stomach, spleen, lymphatic system, and pancreas (because these are the organs associated with the Earth element) and in the lungs, large intestine, skin, mucous membranes, and other soft tissues (which correspond to the Metal element). Diseases such as digestive disorders, immune disorders, blood sugar imbalances, hemorrhoids, skin problems, asthma, and allergies would all be likely to occur if measures are not taken to maintain balance within the person’s organism. In addition, because the 5 Elements also rule psychological and spiritual processes, this person would also be susceptible to depression, and delusions (Earth) as well as sadness and grief (Metal).

Because the influences of Heaven are always changing in time, it is also possible to determine how these pre-dispositions may be exacerbated or augmented at any given point in time. In the case of our example, this person would most likely experience flare-ups in the Fall, as this is the time period associated with the Metal element. In addition, by casting a horoscope of the building occupied by the client (known as the Flying Star horoscope), for example, it is possible to determine when certain unlucky influences known as shar will become present in this space. Shar can be classified by their effect upon physical health as well as by their effect on our overall vitality. In certain cases, specific shar will impact specific organs or organ systems. In addition, the Flying Star method can pin-point not only the timing of this unlucky arrival, but also the sector within the structure that will be most affected. This allows the feng shui consultant to adjust the space in order to avoid the shar. If the negative influences were to be focused on one bedroom, for example, it might be possible to move the patient to another room. In cases when the entire structure is under the influence of the shar, cures can be placed in the appropriate sectors to counteract the negative influence.

The Flying Star horoscope is calculated by taking into account the age and orientation of the building or structure under investigation. Hence it is axiomatic in feng shui that certain orientations will be better than others for any given period of time. In addition, it is also possible for a given building to produce good health for its occupants during a certain period of time only to lose that potential if a shar appears in the following time period. In this context time is understood to be holographic, so that it may involve larger periods of 20, 60, or 180 years, as well as shorter periods of one year, one month, or even one day. Awareness of the potential for shar activity in new construction will therefore determine the optimal orientation as well as construction timing for new buildings.

In addition to 9 Star Ki and Flying Star, the system known as Ming Kwa is used to determine the optimal location within a given structure for healing and regeneration. This is based on the orientation of the structure in question. Other techniques are also used to determine the ideal orientation for health, healing, and recuperation for any given individual (as distinct from the building they may occupy). In this case, it is based on the date of birth of the individual under consideration.


OUR HEALTH AND THE EARTH

As its name indicates, the Earth Realm corresponds to the physical and environmental factors which are acting upon the individual and which may have an influence on their health and well-being. These influences cover a vast array of categories, from such obvious factors as pollution and toxicity, to much subtler influences such as the location of a bathroom within the overall floor plan of a home, or the presence of exposed beams in a bedroom. Because the practice of feng shui and geomancy has classified hundreds of pertinent factors which can have an impact on health, I have chosen to present these separately.

Please refer to “Guidelines for Health & Healing” and “Guidelines for Residential Construction” on the section on Articles.


FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE HEALTH

In general terms health is said to be influenced by these main factors:

1. Site Planning
The inherent quality of energy in the landscape is a primary determinant of health. In traditional feng shui practice, for example, the ideal location for habitation (known as a dragon’s nest) is the middle slope of a south-facing hill which is protected from the harsh winds of the north by a taller geological formation, and which is flanked by outlying ridges on east and west. In the distance to the south, a smaller ridge or hill is also desirable . Finally, a waterway in view of this site is also auspicious, especially if it happens to traverse the terrain from east to west. This arrangement, commonly known as the “armchair”, is an ideal which can be emulated in various ways. For example, in a city the taller northern formation could become a taller building, the river could become a street or pathway. By the same token, it is not advised to build on the lower slopes of this formation, or on flat alluvial plains, as these do not have the capacity to harness good energy and will impact negatively on health. In addition, classical feng shui has classified hundreds of site types according to their ability to promote health, wealth, and longevity.

Another important consideration in this regard is the quality of the energy traversing the earth in the direction of the site. Known as dragon veins, these energy channels can bring auspicious conditions as well, although in some cases it is not recommended to live directly above one of these energy lines. The quality of these channels can be diminished by human activity, and depending on the relative strength of such lines, their power can become dissipated by excessive development and improper building practices. In serious cases, these lines can be turned noxious. Other healthy underground channels known as white streams can also be turned injurious. Collectively referred to as dark streams, these sick meridians can have a marked impact upon health. The study of these compromised energies falls under the collective title of Geopathic Stress. A relatively new field of inquiry with many controversial claims, this field is nevertheless at the forefront in the growing investigation of how human activity can compromise and degrade the natural environment.

2. Environmental Quality
In more contemporary terms, the degradation of the environment by pollution and global warming also poses problems for health. These problems range from the obvious toxicity of our waters and air, to the impact the green house effect will have on coastal waters, irrigation, and the destruction of habitats. Traditional peoples view the Earth as one living organism, and many elders among these groups have expressed concern over the continued assault on the Earth’s fragile web. In shamanistic terms, the degradation of the environment is seen as a reflection of our own ill-health and of our disconnection from the Earth itself, caused by our removal from ancestral lands and from living directly on the land. In this context, for example, the pollution of our water supplies is seen by traditional peoples not only as a sign of disrespect to the Earth and her “blood”, but also as a reflection of our disconnection from our own emotions because the water element is traditionally associated with the moon, the feminine, and with feeling. Disconnection from the Earth will always impact our ability to feel, to communicate, and to intuit. In this sense our reliance on the technology which has created these environmental ills is also seen as a symptom of this malaise.

The energetic quality of the surrounding environment can also have an impact on health. Locating a home in the vicinity of a power plant, a bridge, a gas station, or a communications tower, for example, can be damaging. By the same token, neighboring buildings that are too large, too angular, or that cast excessive shadow or are built of reflective materials also can cause problems. Adjacent roads that direct traffic toward a bedroom window or toward a front door, or that carry excessive traffic at high speeds can also have a negative impact on health.

3. Architecture
Architecture has a significant impact on the health of our communities. This depends not only on the obvious impact of building materials and practices on our health, but also on the actual layout of the space. Whereas it is now common knowledge that a building can become “sick” if the materials used in construction contain toxic elements, the manner in which a building is constructed can also have an impact. Using materials that require transport over long distances, for example, will impact the overall pollution load of the region because it will require the burning of more fuel. The use of old-growth lumber also can impact health because it will cause a reduction of habitat for species we rely on for overall ecological health. Hence ecological accounting promises to be an important factor in the evaluation of building costs in the near future.

In addition to the siting of a structure (as seen above), the actual layout of a space will also impact prospects for health and well-being. Placing a bathroom next to a kitchen, for example, is one obvious situation which can be harmful to our health. On a more subtle level, however, there are many other factors which will also have an impact. The size, orientation and proportions of a house entry, for example, can all be associated with overall health prospects for the users of the space, as can the position of a bedroom in relation to corridors, bathrooms, garages, and the entry itself. As these architectural and design considerations include a vast array of possibilities, I have chosen to present them separately.

4. Energy Flow
In addition to the siting and layout of a structure, it is also important to consider the flow of energy (chi) within space. Because we are energetic beings, we are nourished by the quality of energy in the spaces we inhabit. When this flow is adequate and the energy itself is good, our health benefits. On the other hand, if the flow of energy were to be interrupted or constricted, or if the quality of that energy were to be compromised, disease can result. We have seen above how earth energy can become noxious to human life when it turns into Geopathic Stress. Vital chi force also can be rendered stagnant or destructive within the envelope of the building. A large pointed structure aimed at a bedroom, for example, can generate destructive forces for the occupants of that room. A room without windows or below grade can generate stagnant chi. In both cases disease can result. Constricted corridors, small door openings, too many windows, all can have similar effects. It is very important to consider this when contemplating architectural and interior design.

5. History
The history of a space can also have an impact on the health of its occupants. If previous users, for example, have had a history of disease, depression, or if there has been a death in the space, these could also compromise prospects for health for future users. Locating a structure on ancient burial grounds, landfill, or on exhausted agricultural land can also be detrimental to the vitality of its users. Converting old industrial buildings or neighborhoods into residential communities can also create problems. This is also true for partial components of buildings such as old foundations, recycled doors and windows, and antique furniture. Coping with this type of problem can be difficult and resistant to treatment. Often it is impossible to remedy these situations, but at least in the case of new construction precautionary measures can be taken. In addition, there are many building rituals and ceremonies that can be performed to minimize the impact of these factors. Ground Breaking Rituals and Earth Healing Ceremonies are useful in new construction.

At a different level, creating communities that are not directly connected to the land only exacerbates our society’s disconnection from the Earth and sets up the stage for additional problems. The land has a history of its own, and it is important to respect that and to honor the spirit of the land itself as well as that of its original occupants. Clearly we are speaking of larger historical processes here, yet these too can have an impact on our lives. Often rituals are important in creating the healing effect necessary to occupy land that may have been neglected or hurt.

6. The Flow of Time
We have seen in the section on Health and the Heaven Realm (above) that the intangible forces of the Cosmos are constantly acting on a site and that they are also constantly changing. These changes can also have an impact on the potential for well-being and disease in a structure. The arrival of a shar at the front door, for example, can have a devastating effect on the health and well-being of its occupants. The combined presence of the shars of ill-health and misfortune at a key location such as a bedroom or the staircase can be so detrimental that accidents or even death can result. It is therefore pragmatic to run a check on the building’s horoscope in order to ascertain what prospects are in stock for a given period of time.

OUR HEALTH AND MANKIND

Although feng shui, geomancy, and shamanism are disciplines concerned primarily with the manifest world and its interactions with the intangible forces of the Cosmos, the obvious beneficiary of their interactions is Mankind. Traditional societies have therefore elaborated certain protocols which we as humans are advised to follow in order to derive the optimal benefit from Heaven and Earth. These include:

1. Behavior
Our behavior is the first and most important level of interaction with the forces of Heaven and Earth. If we neglect our duties and responsibilities to these forces, for example, the flow of well-being, prosperity, and health can automatically diminish. Reverence to the Earth and the Ancestors, filial piety, reciprocal payment for gifts received from the Cosmos and from others, and adherence to the social norms are all ways to maximize our possibilities for success and well-being. It is often said that a great potential (as revealed in horoscopes, for example) can be destroyed by improper behavior. On the other hand, through the exercise of personal will in the discharge of these duties and obligation, a lesser potential can be enhanced. Discipline, conservation, and hard work are therefore highly prized because these are necessary in the pursuit of excellence at this level.

2. Nutrition & Public Health
Behavior also includes the care of the self and of the community. In this sense it is more obvious how proper nutrition, exercise, and grooming can have a positive impact on health. The same is true about sanitation, water management, and other aspects of public health. The intentional defilement of Nature through pollution, toxic wastes, deforestation, and war are all examples of public health issues which are behavioral in nature and that can have significant impact on our health and success.

3. Thought Patterns
Traditional societies are very clear on the matter of mental health, ascribing responsibility to our thinking processes for the overall condition of the reality we create and which in turn supports us. Hence, if our though patterns are avaricious and taxing to the natural flow of prosperity in Nature, then the result will be a gradual diminution of the available pool of prosperity for all. By the same token, thoughts that place one aspect of reality above another will eventually backfire because it will take greater and greater expenditures of energy to maintain such artificial constructs in place. In the long run such thought processes will lead directly to the decay of the society or individuals that harbor them and to the eventual replacement of such thought patterns by other more evolved forms of consciousness.

At the personal level thought has a great impact on our health. How we think colors our understanding of reality and, if combined with negative emotions, it can lead to diseases. If such patterns are shared by other members of the group, patterns of disease begin to appears that can become endemic or even epidemic. Shamanistic societies in particular have developed complex interpretations and co-relations between thought patterns, emotional states, spiritual knowledge, and their effect not only on the individual body, but also on the entire Web of Nature.

4. Education
Cultivation of the self includes that of the intellect. The more informed we are as to the effects of our behavior, the better able we are to prevent injurious situations. However, it is also apparent that intellectual development without emotional and spiritual development can lead to excessive reliance on the mind as the final arbiter of our conduct. That is why it is better to consider the consequences of our actions in terms of the communal good, not only in the short term, but also as it will affect the future generations. As always, our actions need to be guided as much by our cleverness as by our compassion.

5. Spiritual Practices
Spiritual practices include the cultivation of the individual at the personal level, as well as the development of compassion for the suffering of others at the collective level. Engaging in meditation practice, for example, does not only reduce our stress levels and boost our immune response, but it also develops equanimity and concern for the world around us. There is even some evidence, albeit controversial, that communal spiritual practices such as meditation can have an impact on the overall incidence of crime, disease, war, and economic growth. The future has much to teach us as in this respect as our societies continue becoming more closely related by trade, travel and the boom in information and communications. Deepening our spiritual practices will become more and more important as the levels of activity and stress continue to rise.

At another level, spiritual practice also helps us to reconnect to our roots, as it develops in us an appreciation for the Earth, Nature, and all creatures. As mentioned above, the disconnection from land and ancestors have much to do with the malaise experienced in the industrialized world. Deepening our spiritual practice can have a significant influence on our overall health levels.

6. Technology
I have chosen to address technology as a separate topic because I feel that it is becoming increasingly clear that many of the ills of our times, including many of the health issues that affect us, are related in one way or another to our excessive reliance on technology and the mechanistic world-view that has become attached to it. Whereas the scientific method sought to understand Nature from an impartial and detached perspective, we have slowly succumbed to science and technology as a substitute for more practical modes of behavior.

We have grown accustomed, for example, to rely on technology to remedy medical problems, forgetting that the best cure is prevention. As a consequence, medical costs have escalated enormously and personal habits such as nutrition, exercise, and spiritual practice have suffered. Rather than pay attention to the quality of our air, we have surrendered to the automobile as a necessity of survival, so that at the current rate of consumption, the level of emissions from combustion engines threatens the very survival of many species, perhaps including our own. Elders in traditional societies around the globe agree that this is the cause for the current climate change and have issued severe warnings about the future. By surrendering our future to the technological paradigm, we have also surrendered our freedom. We forget that our freedom is only possible within Nature. If we deny or damage it, we too will suffer.

Closer to home, technology poses additional health concerns. We have already mentioned sick building syndrome as one example of technology turning on its creators. Other examples include such seemingly innocent devises as cell phones, microwave cookers, and even the electrical wiring within our walls. There is growing evidence that overloading our environments with electromagnetic radiation from such devices can be injurious. In Europe homes are now being wired so that room switches will turn power off at the house’s main junction box. Wiring that would otherwise generate electromagnetic radiation near a bed or a crib will therefore not be electrified if is not in use. Movement sensors can also be installed so that office lights are only on when its user is actually present in the room. This significantly reduces pollution loads caused by power plants that burn fossil fuels.

For a full list of considerations, please refer to “Guidelines for Health and Healing” in the Resources section.