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.

Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for Illnesses

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My husband has leukemia and I would love some feng shui suggestions.

Mary P., New York, NY

Dear Mary,

I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s illness. While feng shui is not the most important factor, it is absolutely beneficial to incorporate with the mundane directions given by medical professionals. My teachers always reminded me that the everyday practical details are more important than the transcendental adjustments. 

I have two suggestions for you. First is to activate the center of the home, which corresponds to the Health area of the feng shui bagua map. You can activate it in different ways, but my first thought is with the sound or song. A bell, a chime or a Tibetan singing bowl like this one will do. You can ring the bowl nine times every day if you can. Or better yet, you and your husband can sing together. Sound and song can be very healing in a gentle way. 

Second thing, please check your plumbing and electrical systems for any defects, and correct any problems. These relate to the blood vessels and nervous systems of the body. 

There are more complicated feng shui suggestions that require a consultation, but these two feng shui adjustments are wonderful to start with.

You can also learn more if you study feng shui. I’m starting a feng shui certification program this fall and encourage you to take a look at the details below. 

by Anjie Cho

If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design Feng Shui certification program. Laura Morris and I are launching our program in September 2018. We have a free webinar “Five Feng Shui Tools Revealed: Must-Do Business Boosters for Soulpreneurs and Wellness Practitioners” coming up, too! To get on the list about it, sign up at: www.mindfuldesignschool.com.

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.

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

CURERS - Healers and Practices

featured this month on Free & Native

We were inspired to start our Saturday IG Story CURER series to highlight some of our favorite healers teachers, expanders, and thinkers. We asked some of our CURERS to now share their own go-to healers and healing practices with all of you. Stay tuned Saturdays on @freeandnative IG for a new CURER each week!

So honored to be featured among Katie Dalebout's healing practices! 

iii. Katie Dalebout • Let it Out

Feng Shui consultant Anjie Cho of Holistic Spaces (NYC + LA)-- has designed and cleared every space I've ever lived in which as helped so much. I wouldn't live anywhere without first having Anjie clear it and set it up optimally according to Feng Shui principles.

Sacha Jones, Stiggly’s Holistics NYC, Sacha is one of the coolest, smartest, women I’ve ever met. She’s an herbalist, holistic health counselor, and officiates weddings. I don’t know where I’d be without her wellness and life guidance.

...read full article

The One Room Where You Shouldn't Keep Tons of Plants, According to Feng Shui

featured this week on MindBodyGreen by Emma Loewe

image credit: Sophia Hsin via  MindBodyGreen

image credit: Sophia Hsin via MindBodyGreen

Who doesn't love a good houseplant? With their toxin-busting, happiness-inducing properties, plants are an amazing vehicle for ushering some of nature's healing power indoors. And these days, it seems like the more you have, the better. Instagram's most enviable homes feature rooms draped in greenery, and some of the world's most influential offices (Amazon, anyone?) are transforming into urban jungles.

But one design philosophy is saying not so fast. Here, leading feng shui experts explain why the bedroom may not be the best place for all of your plant pals:

But if you already have them, it's totally OK.

If you have a bedroom full of plants and sleep like a baby, you don't need to change a thing. Most feng shui pros, including Maureen Calamia of Luminous Spaces, agree that, depending on the room, a few plants can be beneficial, especially when placed in the wealth corner to promote green of another kind.

Architect and feng shui expert Anjie Cho adds that some schools of feng shui, like the more Western BTB philosophy, think that woodsy elements in the bedroom can actually help some people thrive. "The wood element adds qualities like flexibility, kindness, growth, and healing into your life," she says. "For a very lethargic or depressed person, it may even be good to have some uplifting energy to raise your chi. I personally have plants in my bedroom and found that they brighten and perk up the space."

...read full article

How and When to Clear Your Crystals

It's no secret that we're fans of crystals and their incredible healing power. In fact, many basic feng shui adjustments include adding specific crystals in certain areas of the bagua to welcome love, abundance and more. Looking for love? Try rose quartz! Or add citrine to your desk to welcome wealth and abundance. You can even add quartz and black tourmaline to your space to ward off negative energy and ground you! There are so many great uses for various crystals, but one important aspect of using these tools is to ensure that they are properly cleared on a regular basis. 

Crystals operate based on their vibrations, which are obtained during their creation deep in the earth. Because they generally have higher frequencies, they work to overwhelm lower vibrations of negative feelings and experiences and can thus provide positive changes in our lives. However, this only works if your crystals are on their highest frequency, and picking up these external vibrations can lower that! Enter crystal clearing. 

When To Clear Your Crystals

The first time you'll need to clear your healing stones is when you get them. It may seem that a new stone is already clear and ready to work, but all things carry predecessor energy - even "new" healing stones. So as soon as you bring a new crystal into your space, take the time to clear it and imbue it with your intentions and qi.

Following that, there are a few ways to know when it's time to do a clearing. It goes without saying that your healing stones should be cleared before and after any intense work with them to ensure that they operate at and are returned to their highest frequency. For stones used regularly, for instance, as jewelry, clearing once per week is generally enough to keep them effective. If you've placed crystals in your holistic space, perhaps as feng shui adjustments, be sure to clear them at least once per year. Keep in mind that each stone is different, so some crystals, like black tourmaline, may need to be cleared much more often and others, including citrine and Super Seven stones, rarely require refreshing. As with many aspects of feng shui, it's a good idea to listen to your intuition when deciding whether it's time to clear your crystals. 

How to Clear Your Crystals

Once you've decided it's time for a clearing, there are a many choices as to how to go about the process. In fact, again, listen to your intuition and choose the method(s) that resonate with you. We'll list a few of our favorites here, but if you know of or prefer other ways of crystal clearing, please feel free to share!

  • Sunlight / Moonlight - One of the easiest ways, and our favorite, to clear crystals, is to expose them to sunlight or moonlight. Simply place your stones outside or in a window for anywhere from a day / night to a week, and you're good to go! Do note that some crystals may fade in sunlight - if that's the case with yours, opt for moonlight!
  • Burial - Crystals came from the earth, so another great way to return them to their vibrations is to put them back! You can bury your crystals for a few days to a week for a full cleanse. Just be sure to remember where they're buried!
  • Sea Salt - Sea salt can be an incredible tool for crystal clearing, but it's important to take care. Placing crystals in sea salt for 24 hours can clear them of existing energy, and you can even store crystals here. For some crystals, a salt water bath is effective as well. The catch here is that salt water can damage porous crystals, so if you're using salt with these, be sure to use salt only (not water) and keep in a place with low humidity.
  • Smudging - Another of our favorites, smudging is an easy way to clear healing crystals. Just get your sage or palo santo smoke going and pass your crystals through the smoke. Another option is misting them with our space clearing blend from the Holistic Spaces apothecary!

There are numerous other ways to clear crystals including with fresh water, through use of other clearing stones and more. What's your favorite way to clear your crystals, and how often do you find you feel the need to?

by Anjie Cho