When I’m interviewed about feng shui, one of the most common questions I’m asked is, “What is one important thing someone can do to improve the feng shui of their home or office?” My answer is always the same, “Add plants”. Long before behavior and environmental psychologists assimilated the large body of evidence proving the importance of plants to enhance well-being, feng shui masters were touting their vital role in our environment. So how can something that seems so ordinary be so important to the feng shui of our surroundings our and in turn our lives? Here are some basic reasons why.
Human beings are hard-wired to respond to elements in nature that enable us to survive. We know on a very deep level that we must have plants for oxygen, food, shelter, and clothing. When we see plants, our basic need to survive is soothed. It’s as if our primitive brain is saying, “Plant….Good.” Since we’ve lived in nature far longer than we have in man-made environments, integrating plants into our décor helps meet a basic need we have to connect with nature. This is especially true in an office setting when man-made materials often dominate the environment. Hiring a plant service and adding lush greenery will uplift employees and clients alike.
Scientists at Rutgers University did a ten-month study (yes, ten months!) to determine whether or not flowers have any effect on human emotion. The results of the study proved that when human beings see flowers they produce more dopamine and serotonin (the “happy” hormones”). The theory behind this is that early humans were predominantly surrounded by three main colors found in nature, namely blue, brown, and green. It is thought that when early humans came across fields of blooming flowers that the unexpected bursts of color were exciting and precious and therefore uplifted their emotions and feelings of well-being. It is interesting that throughout history and even to this day whenever we want to cheer someone up or celebrate a special occasion we give flowers.
Did you know that our bodies detox themselves 70% through breathing, 20% through perspiration, 8% through urination and 2% through the bowels? This means that the air you breathe directly affects your body’s detoxification efforts. There are many houseplants that actually have air-purifying effects. Here are three of them.
Money Tree (Epipremnum Aureum)
While I don’t believe that the “Money Tree” can actually bring you money, it does help filter the air of toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and other airborne pollutants. Make sure that you keep this plant away from children and pets though, it can be harmful if swallowed.
This pretty plant helps to remove formaldehyde, acetone, and chloroform from the air. These toxic substances are often produced from “off-gassing” carpets, plastics, and other synthetic household items.
The Peace Lily is a common house plant that can detox a variety of airborne chemicals, specifically benzene. The added bonus is that the Peace Lily blooms a lovely white blossom periodically.
These are just a few of the house plants that can help detoxify the air. Some plants also reduce electromagnetic fields, which can be helpful when working around a lot of electronics. For more information on detoxifying plants, I suggest you do a Google search and find choices that will work best for you.
Life Aspiration Enhancements
In traditional Compass School feng shui, the southeast (Wealth & Prosperity) and east (Family) meridian points are stimulated by wood. There is nothing better than adding a nice healthy plant in these areas to get the flow of energy moving in the right direction.
How Many Plants Do You Need?
That’s up to you. One study done by NASA recommends that in order to detoxify a home with houseplants, an average size home (approximately 1800 square feet) should have between 15 to 18 medium to large plants placed throughout.
Feng Shui is always striving to bring greater peace and comfort into our lives. When choosing indoor plants, remember to keep spiky or thorny plants to a minimum in order to encourage a sense of relaxation. Healthy plants are a must for good feng shui, so always make sure that your plants are well cared for.
Plants really are one of the most important aspects to having good feng shui. These silent companions not only feed us, shelter us, and give us the air we breathe, they also add to our appreciation of beauty, restore our need to connect with nature, and lower our stress levels. So the next time you’re wondering what to do to bring more beauty and comfort into your home, consider a trip to the nursery rather than the department store. You might be surprised at the difference adding a plant or two can make!