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Channel 4's Secret Millionaire
Earlier this year, Dawn went underground as Channel 4's Secret Millionaire
How to make a ‘ Healthy’ Home with Feng Shui.
By Dawn Gibbins MBE of the Feng Shui Society
Feng Shui is all about the interaction between ourself and our environment. And the most important environment of all has got to be our home - after all, our home is really an external reflection of what we are. So, for a health you, start with a healthy home!
It has long been recognised that our environment is constantly influenced by invisible energy forces that affect our physical and psychological health. Feng Shui enables us to balance and enhance these energies to create a more positive and healthy environment.
Probably the best way to begin to understand the practicalities of how Feng Shui can help us is to think of how we perceive our home environment. Perception is all about the five senses.
Harnessing the sense of seeing
We need to do much more than to look. We need to learn to see. And the ideal place to begin is outside. Location, location, location.
Ask yourself "Do I have inspiring views? When I drive home, do I feel elevated the nearer I get home? It doesn't take a psychologist to tell us that a feel-good factor is an important ingredient to physical wellbeing.
In Feng Shui, we often think of inanimate things like the home as though they were living beings. Try to imagine your home settled comfortably in an armchair with good back support and then ask - does its physical location match the image? Is there something like woodland, a hill slope or even a building supporting and protecting the back of the house?
Ask yourself how welcoming your home looks as people draw near. Whether trained in Feng Shui or not, most people instinctively recognise the importance of the front door. Apparently when, in the 70s, the Government began selling off council houses the first thing that the overwhelming majority of owners did was to replace their front door. And we all feel so much more comfortable approaching a house with a clearly delineated entrance, pathway or drive.
Then, once inside assess how bright and welcoming your hallway is. Eliminate any aggressive features. First impressions count and our aim should be for people to want to stay.
Check around the home for good, natural daylight - remember, lack of access to natural light has been singled out as the biggest cause of 'sick building syndrome' in offices. The same is true of the home. The colour 'temperature' of tungsten light bulbs is too red and florescent tubes too blue, so use full spectrum bulbs (often called daylight bulbs) for all artificial lighting.
Look with new eyes to see if clutter is taking over your life. Clutter is debilitating, frustrating (never able to find things?) and wholly un-conducive to wellbeing. If you see any sign of disorder, rush out and invest in a wonderful book ‘ Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui ‘ by Karen Kingston, or log on to www.fengshuisociety.org.uk for tips on de-cluttering the home.
What else can you see? Can you see life? Are there plants around your home? In much the same way that the rainforests are the planet's lungs, so plants are your home's lungs - absorbing toxins and returning oxygen to the air.
Finally, look to see if your home appears barren or whether it rejoices with images and artwork. And is that artwork conducive to harmony and wellbeing?
Anyone who suffers tinnitus knows how debilitating noise can be, with some sound frequencies particularly insidious. Listen for sound pollution in the home - buzzing fridges, noisy boilers, loud clocks ticking, creaking radiators and so on.
Estate agents tell us that the 'smell' of a home is one of the biggest single influencers on potential buyers. Some even suggest baking bread just before an inspection visit.
How does your home smell? Fresh and healthy? I strongly recommend the use of environmentally friendly, non toxic products in the home; natural materials, organic paints, suitable cleaning solutions. Do visit www.soorganic.com, a, excellent on-line organic superstore. And when tradesmen work in your home, ensure that they don't pollute the air with toxins and solvents, such as carpet adhesives and so on.
A good cleaning regime is a great help. Cut flowers and bring them into your home to add beautiful fragrances (lilies, hyacinths), but don't allow them to die in their vases. Watch out for rotting food, which can create rancid smells and release spores into the air.
Finally, ensure good, moving ventilation and you will be guaranteed a 'breath of fresh air'.
We are very tactile creatures, so spend time getting the feel of your home. Every object, every surface in your home emits different types of energy. So, match the energy with the environment. For example, relaxing, soft fabrics work so well in the lounge and the bedroom. Smooth, durable surfaces that are easy to clean for the kitchen and bathroom. Feng Shui is really common sense.
A healthy home has a well organised and nutritional kitchen where the taste buds and diet of all the family can be satisfied.
All the above affect every room in your home, so now let us take a look at extra little feng shui tips for a healthy, Bedroom, Sitting Room , Kitchen and Bathroom
Room by room
In your bedroom, use colours that are calming and conducive to sleep - soft pastel shades. Avoid large mirrors and reflective surfaces. They emit high energy that disrupts sleep patterns.
Do not have televisions or position your computer in your bedroom – they are too intrusive. Sorry!
Whilst you are sleeping your body is rejuvenating so do not subject it to unhealthy emissions. Electrical Appliances and cables emit unhealthy electro magnetic fields (EMF), so beware of sleeping next to devices such as a radio alarm, and avoid placing your bed head adjacent to a wall containing electric cables.
Keep your bedroom as dust-free as possible. And keep it free from clutter.
Your living room is your space for relaxation, rest and socialising. Make it welcoming, comfortable and a visual feast for yourself and your visitors. Choose a spacious room, with the best views to lift and replenish your energy.
And for a supportive, auspicious and balanced living room environment, select
Art is the medicine of the soul and can raise the spirits, so ensure that it is good medicine. It should emit positive messages. I choose pictures of beautiful landscapes with mountains, cascading water or sunrise. All positive messages.
Design of furniture is important. For good Feng Shui, choose rounded shapes with smooth edges to stimulate a feeling of harmony and balance. Sharp edges or corners create negative energy (in Feng Shui – we use a very visual description. We call them 'poison arrows') .
Position chairs with their backs to solid walls where possible, giving a better sense of security.
Keep it warm, comfortable and well lit, using adjustable lighting. Dimmer switches are a perfect way of creating adaptable mood lighting for romance, serious reading or lively entertaining.
Put a lot of thought into the design of your kitchen, making it easy to prevent clutter and easy to ventilate. An ideal layout is to employ a triangle, linking fridge, cooker and sink
Lighting is a high priority all around the home, but especially so in the kitchen. That's one of the reasons the colour white works so well, reflecting natural light, enhancing purity and creating spaciousness. Yellow is another good choice; a nurturing, relaxing and warm colour.
Natural materials help you relax - wicker baskets, cotton materials and plants will balance your kitchen environment, offsetting those shiny metallic objects and surfaces.
The kitchen is particularly vulnerable to noise pollution, so chuck out those extractor fans and open the window!
Finally, ensure everything works in your kitchen from light bulbs to food mixers. Broken gadgets sap your energy levels.
In our Feng Shui world, water is closely related to wealth and emotions. Any leaks or dripping taps imply loss of wealth and emotional strength. They should be fixed immediately.
Shelves, windowsills, the floor and even the bathtub rim act as clutter magnets. Clear them for a calmer, more peaceful environment that is also easier to keep spotless.
Like the kitchen, bathrooms can be a harsh environment, so invest in a living plant.
All too obvious?
A few years ago I was talking to the broadcaster, Peter Wheeler. He had just completed filming a government financed piece intended for GPs - telling them how to wash their hands. At the time I couldn't believe that anyone should be investing taxpayers' money in promoting such an obvious message. Fast forward a few years and MRSA and C-difficile have proved that even the most obvious messages can go unheeded.
So, don't be too hasty in dismissing Feng Shui's obvious concepts. Just take stock, check out your own home - and do something.