Optimal Flow. The Feng Shui Compass

The compass, lo pan

We may no longer find it hard to pronounce, but its still easy to underestimate the power and complexity of feng shi.

By Adrea Renskoff

The Feng Shui Compass

Feng shui has made its way into everyday speech. We sometimes hear it used casually as a verb, e. g., “We really need feng shui our kitchen.” Or as an adjective, as in “This relaxation room has a feng shui vibe.” Such vague remarks end to reduce this ancient Chinese art/science to the shuffling of a few stick of furniture – and to it’s great disservice. Applied properly, the philosophy and practices of feng shui can nurture health, happiness and success.

Feng shui consultants draw on wisdom handed down for generations. An environment is oriented using two tools: the compass and the bagua.

The compass, or lo pan (“lo” meaning “everything” and “pan” meaning “bowl”) uses direction, such as which way a building faces, to empower energy patterns. This idea can be used figuratively as well: “We may also look at someone’s ming gua, a personal direction base on their birthday,” says Wendell.

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Spa Wellness: Feng Shui Spaces


Work Flow: Feng Shui Spaces. Day Spa Magazine

Promote a balanced environment by implementing some feng shui design strategies.

SPA WELLNESS: The ancient Chinese design tool of feng shui lends itself to healing spaces, and no one understands this better than Judith Wendell, feng shui expert and founder of Sacred Currents, a design consultancy based in New York City that’s dedicated to “creating vital and thriving environments.”

“The time-honored system of feng shui has been used for thousands of years to help us live in harmony with nature, and to increase the fortunes of businesses and the health and harmony of individuals and corporations,” says Wendell. “At the very least, I see feng shui as an ‘insurance plan’: you may not need it but you wouldn’t want to be without it.”

Feng (“wind”) shui (“water”) is applied to environments to facilitate the harmonious flow of energy or chi, thereby promoting health, happiness and prosperity. Assuming that creatures and things exist together as part of a natural order, feng shui maximizes that relationship via the strategic placement of objects and spaces. Experts in feng shui use a bagua, or chart of symbols representing principles of reality, to analyze a space and make recommendations that will maximize flow and allow for an optimal outcome.

The good news is, even if your spa was designed without a single feng shui principle in mind, there are changes you can make to increase its “feng shui quotient.” “The best part is that feng shui can be incorporated into any level of style, taste, budget or environment,” Wendell says. “For instance, one principle to follow is that a spa should give the arriving client reason to pause and take a breath—the space should feel like a break from the outside. This is accomplished by having an open and uncluttered environment. I call this a balance of yin and yang—yin, meaning the place feels restful, and yang, meaning it is alive and healthy.”

As a feng shui consultant, Wendell works with businesses at every stage of development, “from sourcing a site and initial architectural plans to tweaking an up-and-running spa that needs a boost,” she says. Among her projects was the spa at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in New York City, where she worked to “energetically and visually connect our retail areas to the spa, which helped greatly to increase sales,” shares former Mandarin spa director Denise Vitiello.

Feng shui isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. “A highly effective adjustment in one spa may have little or even a negative effect in another,” explains Wendell. “How this translates into a particular spa and its style is the creative challenge of the feng shui consultant. Done professionally, feng shui adjustments should be seamless and not draw any particular attention to themselves.”

To locate your own feng shui expert, Wendell suggests visiting fengshuidirectory.com. Make sure your potential consultant is experienced in working with spas, and always ask for references.

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Feng Shui Way. Day Spa Magazine March 2011

Day Spa Magazine March 2011FENG SHUI WAY

Feng shui, an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics that uses principles of geography and astronomy to facilitate the optimal flow of chi – or life-giving energy – inside a space, has become an essential design tool for many day spa business owners.  The system revolves around the five element theory, in which representation of water, wood, fire, earth and metal are maintained in synergistic balance to stimulate the healthiest and more prosperous flow of energy, according to Judith Wendell, feng shui consultant and owner of Sacred Currents, an interior design firm based in new York City.  She uses many aspects to utilize the feng shui way.

For instance,design features associated with fire – say, the color red, pointy shapes and southern-facing views – are though to harness reputation and regard.  “If you have too many of these elements, your spa may be prone to receiving complaints,” Wendell says.  And if you don’t have enough, you could struggle to stand out among competition.”

Feng shui also examines the ratio of yin to yang, or passive to active energy, within a space.  “Some of the most prevalent sources of imbalance I find in day spas are retail and reception areas that tend to be too passive,while treatment rooms are more active than is ideal,” Wendell says.  “By removing running water, for instance, a space instantly becomes more passive.”


View PDF file of Feng Shui Way in Day Spa Magazine March 2001 »