Almost fifteen years ago, I opened a clinic with two other acupuncturists. It took an agonizing amount of time for the three of us to decide on paint and carpet colors, art work, and who would work in which of the treatment rooms. One of the practitioners spent a great deal of time analyzing the Feng Shui of her treatment space, measuring angles, determining wall orientations, and divining where exactly to place furniture. At the time, I thought it was a little silly, and that whatever she did wouldn’t have much impact either way.
Fast forward to two years ago. Two of the original three of us are still practicing, and we decided to move to larger, updated space with better parking. Our landlord built out the space for us, so we could decide where to place walls, doors, etc. Our new clinic space was beautiful in every way—it was clean, new, spacious, and had lots of natural sunlight.
Over the first six months of being in our new digs, I found that my patient numbers had begun to drop off. I was fine with seasonal declines during various holidays, but this was prolonged and I was struggling to figure out what was going on. My practice partner was as busy as ever. I began to market and network just a little more and sent out newsletters more frequently—to no avail.
I began to question everything; how I was presenting to new patients, my treatment protocols, and even the wisdom of having moved to new space. Was the Feng Shui funky? I had come a long way from those early days in our first clinic, and was aware of the power that good or bad Feng Shui could have on a space. We had carefully placed items in their Feng Shui-proper places in our waiting room, and I had done likewise in my treatment room. But I began to question whether something was off.
Going back to the initial concept of Feng Shui, I began to look at how the energy was flowing through our clinic. I realized that when we built out the space, I had requested that a partial wall be placed in front of the door to my treatment room to offer patients a little privacy between the treatment room and the waiting area. Could this be the problem? Was I energetically blocking patients from coming into my treatment space?
I wasn’t sure, but set out to remedy what I sensed was a blockage. While I couldn’t remove the wall, I placed a piece of art—a photograph that I took—onto the wall. The photo was peaceful and inviting, and I hoped it would serve as a gateway into my treatment space.
Once the photo was hung, I waited to see what would happen. Amazingly, the increase in my patient bookings was almost immediate and sustained. It seems a little crazy that placing a piece of art on a wall could change the course of my practice, but the numbers don’t lie.
While the fundamentals of Feng Shui is beyond the scope of this post, it’s worth your time to take a look at your clinic space to see if the flow of energy and the feel of the space supports your business. Here are some tips:
-Look at how patients flow through your clinic. Do they have a direct path from the front door to the waiting area, and from the waiting area to your treatment room? You want to avoid walls blocking the flow (as was my problem) and having to turn lots of corners to get into treatment rooms. If this is a problem, use art, mirrors, open doors, or whatever it takes to limit obstacles and allow energy to flow.
-Avoid clutter like the plague. A messy desktop, too many items in your treatment room, or lots of inventory in your waiting room are all visual clutter, which can be very stressful and unsettling. You want your clinic to be a place of calm and relaxation, so clean up the clutter and free up some white space. Your patients will unconsciously thank you.
-Think of a space as a map of the Ba Gua, with the Kidney/water position being the door you enter through. To your left is Liver/wood; to your right is Lung/metal, and directly across from you is Heart/fire. The center of the room is considered Spleen/earth. This works when you’re considering your entire clinic, or each individual room. Knowing this basic idea, you can then determine how to place art and objects to create balance and best reflect the five elements in your space. Some examples include placing a mirror or metallic art on the wall that represents metal, place a wooden cabinet or plant in the area of wood, a small fountain in the water area, and a yellow crystal or piece of pottery on a table in the center of the room to represent earth.
-Use art to your benefit. Not only can art be used to mirror the Ba Gua, but it can also change the feel of your space. Choose art that reflects your personality, feels inviting, and inspires your patients. Look for pieces that encourage calmness and relaxation, rather than images that are harsh or disturbing. Pleasant and soothing pictures can dramatically change the energy in your space.
-Use props to relieve stress and create a sense of tranquility. Relaxing music, a small water fountain, and soft lighting can turn a busy waiting room into an oasis of calm.
While many people may thing of Feng Shui as New Age silliness, I’m here to tell you it made a difference in the bottom line of my acupuncture practice. Take a look around your clinic, and let a little Feng Shui help you.