Healing Properties of the Four Elements

Healing Properties of the Four Elements.jpg

As many of you know, in feng shui, we work with the Chinese five element theory. These elements include earth, fire, water, wood and metal. However, in other modalities, like Native American culture, Vedic or even Tibetan practices, there are many variations of the element system, sometimes including five elements and other times only four. In each of these approaches, the ultimate goal is to find balance with nature and the world around us, just like with feng shui! I often receive questions about the four elements, so this week we’ll connect these theories and view how to use feng shui and the four elements to find ways to heal your spaces.


Air relates to the intellect and to space. In the Tibetan system, air is the color white and is related to what's called the "Buddha" family, so it has that similar open quality of accepting and loving ourselves just as we are. Without the breath, we have no life. In our spaces, it's the quality of openness and the ultimate idea of minimalism. You can activate the air element and clear some space in your home by removing nine items, since nine is an auspicious number in feng shui. I also love this idea of air because it reminds us that nothing ever has to happen; we can just be. We don't have to fill up our mental, emotional, and physical spaces with clutter, food, negative thoughts...we can just be with the magic in the world. 


In Western and Asian systems, water is connected to deep wisdom, emotions, connections and the flow of energy around us. In feng shui, we relate water to the colors of black and dark blues. Even the sound of water can be healing, as it connects us to nature. This is why fountains are such great additions to holistic spaces! Check out more of my favorite ways to add water to your home!


Earth connects and grounds us. It's about self-nourishment and self-care in Asian systems, and earthy colors create this healing for us. Surrounding ourselves with plants, soil and trees also heals and nurtures us. Think about Mother Earth: she's always there under our feet to support us, and she gives us a place to stand that is stable and dependable. You can bring some Earth energy into your life by getting your hands dirty (maybe with a small garden) or bringing a plant into your holistic space! Be sure to use pots that you love and take care of your plants!


Fire can be very healing in many ways. It is one of the five elements and is essential to leading a balanced life. Fire creates and invokes passion and inspiration, and affects how the world sees us. Fire can be used in the home symbolically with color (reds, fiery oranges) or shapes (triangles), or using lighting or candles, or even real fire. In the home, fire is especially healing when there's pain, dullness, or loss of spirit in your life. Last weekend, I was upstate with friends and family. We gathered around a fire pit and sang songs, and we couldn’t take our eyes off the fire... it was very healing. Singing even activates the fire element and touches your heart. Fire is also amazing because it creates both heat (transformation) and light (clarify and illumination)! :)

How can you use the four elements to bring some healing to your holistic spaces?

by Anjie Cho

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish. Visit us at mindfuldesignschool.com.