Feng Shui in the clinic setting

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Feng Shui is an ancient art of placement that can help you and your colleagues maintain wellbeing and harmony in the workplace.

Veterinary medicine is an amazing field to be in. Those of us who get to work with animals and their owners are truly blessed. But it can also be frustrating and overwhelming at times. Many things are beyond our control — from not-so-easy-to-handle patients to concerned and sometimes angry caretakers. We may also have difficult employers or staff members to work with, and long grueling hours to put in.

Feng Shui can help with these problems. This ancient Chinese art (pronounced “fung schway”) involves making physical changes to your working environment to help your practice run more smoothly and bring harmony to everyone. It aims to improve every aspect of your life using the principles of harmony and energy flow.

The literal meaning of Feng Shui is “wind and water”. These are the two natural elements in nature that flow, move and circulate everywhere on Earth. Our lives should also flow even though we have occasional ups and downs, similar to the way water gently flows around a rock and meets on the other side to move smoothly along again. Many times in our environment “the rock” is our employers, co-workers, the design and layout of the facility, our clients, and our relationships with other people. Feng Shui helps us subtly fix things in our environment that we do not have direct control over.

Feng Shui is also sometimes known as “the ancient art of placement”.  They way you place your furniture, color your walls and position your décor can influence the movement (flow) of energy to bring good health and harmony into your life and workplace. For example, if you find your clients have a tendency to “linger” around the reception desk talking about their lives, hanging a crystal in an appropriate place above the desk will help move the energy along, thus moving clients along. If a crystal is not available, a decorative bowl filled with water and colorful rocks will also move the energy. After all, in order for a practice to flow smoothly, we would ideally like our clients to come into the waiting room for a short time, have their scheduled appointments, see the receptionist on the way out to pay their bills and get their prescribed supplements, then happily leave. Any “stagnation” or stopping at any point in this flow will directly affect the health of the practice and staff. When there is a smooth flow of energy (also called Qi), there will be a steady flow of money to the practice and good health to the staff.

Five basic principles

Adhering to these basic principles before making any Feng Shui changes will improve your success and happiness.

1. Intention

Intention is the true power behind Feng Shui. Two things contribute to success in Feng Shui – the visible factors consisting of walls, doors, streets and various other tangible elements; and the invisible factors consisting of energy and the strong desire and visualization of what you want a Feng Shui “cure” to produce. This is intention. Without a pure intention, Feng Shui will not work for you.

A healthy practice encompasses a compassionate well-educated staff, doctors on the cutting edge of medicine with their fingers on the pulse of the newest advances in integrative therapies, happy and satisfied clients, and most of all, happy and healthy patients. To achieve this clean intention, your clinic needs to retain staff and keep them happy and motivated.

Feng Shui can assist with this. Simply putting large stones in your cabinets will “anchor” the practice, keeping staff turnover to a minimum. In addition, allowing staff to bring in decorative items from their own lives will keep them comfortable in the environment and lessen the sometimes negative thoughts and actions of certain staff members. Too often, the décor of a facility is determined by the owners and the staff is not consulted on color choices and furnishings, so adding each employee’s personal touch can be critical. Intention is what you want to happen and how clearly and purely you want it. If you can see and feel the result before it happens, then expect the result to happen.

2. Mantra

Mantra is the sacred words of power. Many people omit this when attempting to use Feng Shui cures, greatly lessening the chances of obtaining what they want. First visualize what you want (intention), then decide what you need to add or move to obtain this want (e.g. add a mirror, move a table, etc.). Then say the Mantra nine times either aloud or silently and the Feng Shui cure will be set.

There are many mantras, but for basic purposes The Six True Words are the sacred speech that can be utilized for your Feng Shui cures. The Six True Words are Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hum (pronounced ohm-mah-nee-pahd-mee-hum). This mantra has the power to improve your luck, uplift your mind, correct negative thought, enhance your wealth and prosperity, and help you better perform in your daily life.

3. Mudra

Mudra is equally important in obtaining what you want when using Feng Shui. This spiritual hand gesture, position, or action aligns the energy of your body to help create the desired energetic value. For basic purposes, the Expelling or Ousting Mudrais most often recommended, especially when using The Six True Words. This Mudra is performed by pointing the first and pinky fingers straight up and then holding the middle and the ring fingers out from the palm with your thumb. You then repeatedly “flick” the middle and ring fingers out from the palm. Women should use their right hands for this Mudra and men their left hands, and you should repeat this flicking motion nine times.

4. Nine

Nine is the most powerful and auspicious number in Feng Shui, symbolizing power and completion. It is for this reason we say the Mantra and perform the Mudra nine times for each Feng Shui cure. In addition, if you hang or place anything in a Feng Shui cure it should be done in increments of nine. For example, when hanging a crystal above a desk to bring harmony and peace, make the length of the string in 9” increments (9”, 18”, 27”, etc., depending on how you want it to look).

5. Red

This is Feng Shui’s power color. For adjustments and cures, use red above all others to get the most out of your intentions. The color yellow, although powerful as well, was traditionally held for emperors and other high-powered religious figures, and is not the hue of choice when adding a Feng Shui cure. In the next article, we will address different colors and how to use them, and you will learn that yellow can be used to feed and nurture our health and is traditionally put in spaces used for eating – e.g. lunch rooms, kitchens or break rooms.

Because life moves and flows, Feng Shui should not be done only once and then forgotten. Once there is a positive shift in the practice, the art should be revisited, the practice re-evaluated and the cures done according to the new energy.

Positive effects

The use of Feng Shui in veterinary clinics is becoming more and more common. Traditionally, veterinary medicine was notorious for having a high employee turnover, but in practices that employ Feng Shui cures, turnover has decreased. Client compliance with recommended services can also be greatly increased by utilizing the principles of Feng Shui. Many practice owners hire Feng Shui consultants to prepare their hospital blueprints and landscaping before they build their dream facility, as well using the art in the interior design.

Feng Shui can also help you personally, immediately and at any moment in the day. If you feel overwhelmed or unclear about what to do in any situation, start by stating a clear intention of how you want your day to go – e.g. getting out on time, getting along with co-workers, hoping surgery goes smoothly, etc. State or even write down your intention and solidify it by saying Mantra and executing Mudra nine times.

…if you find your clients have a tendency to “linger” around the reception desk talking about their lives, hanging a crystal in an appropriate place above the desk will help move the energy along, thus moving the clients along.

…yellow can be used to feed and nurture our health and is traditionally put in spaces used for eating – e.g. lunch rooms, kitchens or break rooms.

What is a “cure”?

A Feng Shui cure is an adjustment you can make that positively shifts the energy of your home, property or workplace. When you change the energy of your environment with a cure, you can experience new, positive influences from that environment. Cures put the power of Feng Shui in your hands, and by applying them you can change your life in any area you wish.

There are many “schools” of Feng Shui and this ancient art also can encompass oral traditions. For the purpose of this article, and to simplify the enormous array of cures, we will limit our discussion to reliable and simple methods that can be brought into any veterinary practice.

Mirrors

Mirrors are known as “the aspirin of Feng Shui”. They can be used to draw in as well as reflect energy. When in doubt about which cure to use, the mirror will serve you well.

The mirror can be any shape — square, rectangular, round or octagonal. Octagonal mirrors tend to have the most powerful and positive symbology, and if possible should be the first choice. Square and rectangular mirrors symbolize balance, and round mirrors symbolize oneness and unity.

A mirror can add light or brightness, attract new energy to your space, repel harmful or negative Qi, redirect energy flow, restore a missing space in a room or building, and expand an area to energetically create more space.

An example of where you might use a mirror would be on the front door of your practice. The front door is considered “the mouth of Qi” and sets the tone for the whole practice. If the front door faces an unsightly or negative structure, the mirror will redirect the energy away from your facility when it’s placed using the Mudra, Mantra and intention discussed above. If the front door faces something beautiful, peaceful or auspicious, the mirror will bring in that positive energy and allow it to flow smoothly into the practice.

Mirrors may also be placed above desks. This allows for clear and accurate thought, which in the case of receptionists can enhance accuracy. If receptionists are reviewing the charges incurred and prescriptions dispensed, mirrors will greatly eradicate mistakes in these areas. Mirrors above the doctors’ desks help encourage a clear and uninterrupted train of thought when deciding treatment protocols, options and plans. They can help keep doctors on track with appointments and restore calmness between patient visits. Remember, you must put in the intention of what you would like to happen when you place the mirror, and say the Mantra nine times.

If your office is set up with long corridors, and/or if clients tend to come in and walk past the reception desk without checking in, this is usually due to Qi whisking them through, causing confusion and chaos. By placing a mirror at the end of the hall, or on the wall beyond the reception desk, the Qi will be slowed down and allow clients to walk in and see where they need to be, helping to ensure smooth movement through the practice.

Chimes and bells

Sound is very effective for clearing out old and negative energy and bringing in new and positive energy. The most powerful sound cure would be one with a ringing quality such as chimes, bells and gongs. Sound can awaken and alert, stimulate new energy, provide protection, and create harmony, peace and balance.

Wind chimes can be used for a multitude of curing purposes, inside and out. Metal chimes tend to be best because they emit a clear tone, and brass is the most favored metal. However, the beauty of Feng Shui is that what resonates with you is what will work, so if you favor the sound of something other than metal, feel free to use it. If over time you do not gain the result you were looking for, then you may need to re-evaluate your choice. When hanging chimes, the use of a red ribbon/string/thread will give the best results.

Hanging a wind chime outside the front door of your practice will enliven and enhance the energy coming into the facility. The gentle sound of the chimes will help calm an upset client, which in turn calms a patient in distress. The energy of an outside wind chime also brings prosperity into the practice, which can mean payments made at the time services are rendered. Many large animal facilities have trouble collecting payment; putting wind chimes outside the facility can greatly reduce the number of receivable accounts.

Hanging chimes or bells on doors inside the practice will awaken energy and make the staff work optimally even in the most chaotic circumstances. This is particularly important in treatment rooms and pharmacies where we must perform without mistakes.

Brass bells placed on the reception desk and rung after each client leaves can ensure a cleansing of possible negativity as well as a clearing for the next transaction and client when they come through.

Plants and animals

A living cure can be utilized anywhere in a space. This particular cure actually uses the energy or vitality of the living plant, fish, bird, etc.

Plants and flowers are used in Feng Shui to bring color into a space as well as symbolize new life and growth. Rounded leaves are generally best as opposed to pointed leaves. Sick and dying plants should never be used. The most powerful plants and flowers are live ones, and the second best is silk. Dried arrangements are “dead” Qi and should really not be used because they can negatively influence your environment and the people in it. If you must use a dried flower arrangement, just be sure it is not placed on the front door; as we stated earlier, this is the mouth of Qi.

Outside landscaping should incorporate plants and herbs that can help heal ourselves and our patients. Generally, what grows abundantly in the landscape is what we need, so it is not uncommon for catnip to grow well for veterinary practices, dandelions to be prolific for detoxification and lavender to flourish for its healing and calming properties.

Fish are very auspicious and can bring prosperity into the practice. Traditionally, nine goldfish in total – eight gold and one black — will bring the most prosperity. The fish and environment must be healthy and aesthetically pleasing for this cure to be effective. The water must be clear and not murky, and algae levels must be adequate for the tank and not take over and become unsightly. If any fish die, replace them at once.

Birds and other in-clinic animals are also very important and give vitality and energy to the practice. Again, they should be happy and healthy; any signs they are not need to be addressed as soon as possible or negative energy will impact the clinic environment.

Water

The final cure we will touch on is water, which in veterinary practices is sorely lacking. Fountains and waterfalls create new energy flow in the environment. Moving water creates sound and instigates a healthy refreshing release of negative ions. This provides a sense of well-being and makes breathing a bit easier.

Flowing water means flowing money; a fountain placed by the front entryway will allow money to come into your practice. The best fountains are ones in which you can see the flow of water, and the water pools rather than disappearing immediately. Another powerful fountain is one that works like a turning water wheel. Having a small motion-activated fountain in your exam room and reception area will ensure timely movement with appointments.

All these cures will work providing you add your Mantra and Mudra nine times, include your positive intention, and re-evaluate your environment periodically. You may need to adjust and re-adjust your cures as you see and feel the changes in your workplace.

Color cures

Color can affect every area of our lives, and opportunities for using it to improve the environment are innumerable. Color can adjust the energy of an entire room, change a mood or activate an emotion and the subconscious mind for success. Color can be used by painting a room or just adding a hint of a particular hue in an object such as a flower, book or painting. When we talk of color, we can use shaded variations to soften, evoke intensity, or add subtly to our lives. In veterinary medicine, there are many important colors you can incorporate into the practice so you may work in harmony with others and help heal your patients.

Green

Green signifies new life, new beginnings, growth, vitality, energy and hope. It is the color of spring and can be used in waiting rooms. Clients come to us for a variety of reasons, ranging from treatment for their animals and education for their care, to emergences and surgery. All these situations need hope and vitality.

Purple

Purple is the color of wealth and royalty. It’s the extreme value of red — the Chinese saying “it’s so red it’s purple” means great energy and power. This is an excellent color to put in areas of power such as doctor’s offices, treatment areas and the pharmacy. Purple has a calming and clearing effect. It help keep thinking uncluttered and maintain balance in our thoughts.

Blue

Blue signifies knowledge, the sky, life and hope and is a very good color to put in exam rooms. Blue promotes the healing process both physically and mentally.

Yellow

Yellow and earth tones are the colors of health, the earth, grounding and connection. They can be used in areas where we gain nourishment, such as kitchens and break rooms. Yellow is also good for the reception area because it keeps our first line of defense grounded, uplifted and connected. Many transaction mistakes can be alleviated if yellow is in place to keep reception staff alert and thinking clearly.

Red

Red is a very powerful color and offers protection, energy and activity. Too much red can make us ill, so it is best to use it as an accent in areas such as surgery and rehabilitation rooms. If your practice has a space for training or lectures, red will help keep attendees awake, engaged and able to hear the power of whatever is being demonstrated in this room. Generally, red is used on the front door as strong protection from negative influences.

Incorporating some of these Feng Shui cures into your facility will help with all aspects of the veterinary practice, from attracting clients and patients to collecting fees and having a healthier, happier workplace with less employee turnover.

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Michelle J. Rivera is an instructor at the University of Wisconsin and The Healing Oasis Wellness Center, a post-graduate educational institution offering state-approved programs as set forth by the Wisconsin Educational Approval Board. She is also the co-owner of The Healing Oasis Veterinary Hospital, Inc. a holistic veterinary practice offering massage and rehabilitation therapy, chiropractic and Chinese and Western herbology. Michelle has completed the Chinese Herbal Medicine program from the China Beijing International Acupuncture Training Center, and has been certified in Chinese Medicine by the Wisconsin Institute of Chinese Herbology.