Feng shui is an ancient Chinese art of arranging buildings, objects, and space in an environment to achieve harmony and balance. Feng shui means “the way of wind and water.” It has roots in early Taoism but is still popular today, having spread throughout China and even to Western cultures.

Feng shui stems from the Taoist belief in chi, or the life force that inhabits everything. Chi is made up of yin and yang elements. These are opposing but complementary forces that cannot be separated. Taoists believed that by balancing yin and yang elements, people can improve the flow of positive chi in their lives and keep the negative chi away. Feng shui is a method of balancing yin and yang, and improving the flow of chi by arranging furniture, decorations, buildings, and even whole cities in a beneficial way. The ancient Chinese people believed that arranging things to create positive chi would ensure good health, improve interpersonal relationships, and bring luck and prosperity.

Though little is known about the origins of feng shui, there is evidence that the Chinese have been designing their homes and towns using its principles for over four thousand years. Some early examples of feng shui can be found in the placement of ancient Chinese grave sites—areas where bringing positive chi was very important. In modern times, people all over the world use feng shui rules to decorate their homes. Many feng shui rules are about what items to place near or far away from doors and windows, because chi can enter and leave through those openings. The easiest way to change feng shui in a room is to add or move one of the five elements, which are water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. All materials can be classified as one of these five types. According to practitioners, mixing, combining, or subtracting these items can quickly improve the flow of positive chi.


Feng Shui

Feng Shui was originally practiced in China but is slowly being used with more frequency in western cultures as well. 


vital energy or life force that plays an important role in Eastern systems of medicine and exercise; also spelled qi.

feng shui

practice of creating harmony through strategic placement of items or locations.


Chinese philosophy and religion emphasizing noninterference with the course of natural events.


active, male half of yin and hang; represents heat, light, and dryness


passive, female half of yin and yang; represents cold, dark, and wetness

yin and yang

inseparable and contradictory elements; a concept found in Taoism