Respectful Insolence

Your Friday Dose of Woo: Cellular Feng Shui?

Balance.

It’s what the woo-meisters who believe in “Feng Shui” tell us that it will bring to those who use its principles to arrange the objects in their life, be they furniture, homes, the design of buildings, or even the layouts of whole cities. Indeed, Feng Shui tells us that the way we arrange objects in our environment, choose a place to live, or even choose burial plots can allow us to achieve “harmony” with our environment. Obviously, this is true in a trivial sense. If your house is full of crap piled everywhere in seemingly random distributions, it is going to have a negative impact on “harmony” and quality of life. But that’s not what advocates of Feng Shui claim for its powers. Rather, they claim that applying the principles of Feng Shui can result in wealth and even cure disease:

Whatever you desire in life: bags of money, the love of your life, the honor and respect of people who now doubt you, connection with friends, family and spouse, a crowd of new customers, a new home, a fresh start, almost anything you can think of, you can attain with Feng Shui.

Every day you create your life, be it at a job, business or caring for your family. You try to enter each day with the attitude of accomplishment and achievement. But in most cases the situations of life overcome it. A bounced check might send you into crisis mode to cover your obligations, where with Feng Shui your problems are solved with grace and ease.

So where do the principles that supposedly let you, the user of Feng Shui, to do all these fantastic things come from? As with only the finest woo, it’s a massive appeal to ancient knowledge of course. Even better than that, it’s an appeal to nature’s “balance” and somehow applying it to your life:

Feng Shui is an ancient oriental term that means “the way of wind and water”. It’s all about energy, the flow of energy and how it enhances or detracts from your life.

Feng Shui developed thousands of years ago in little villages of the Orient. It was called Folk Feng Shui because each village had there own guidelines on how to use it. Their livelihoods were dependent on it. They studied the formations of the land and ways of the wind & water to determine the best sitting for their survival. Over time Feng Shui developed and was used by emperors to ensure their success.

[…]

Feng Shui and associated disciplines comprise the study of these energy flows. It also deals with how you should arrange your environment to gain the best possible advantages in your life.

For example, the direction your house faces. If you are building a new house, and you can decide which direction it faces, it would be good to know which direction will benefit your life the most. And you can find out by using Feng Shui. If you were buying an existing house and find out the direction was not set in your best interest, you would need to know how to use Feng Shui techniques to counter the ailment.

How convenient. If you screw up the Feng Shui of your house, you need to use Feng Shui to fix the bad mojo. In any case, Feng Shui seems to be some unholy combination of various forms of “energy medicine” invoking qi and claiming to be based not only on the “forms” of nature but on the stars and the magnetic compass. Of course, you might wonder why I’m featuring woo as mundane and uninteresting as Feng Shui. Patience, my dear readers. Do you think I would choose something as pedestrian as this if there weren’t a twist that makes it worthy of an installment of Your Friday Dose of Woo?

Of course I wouldn’t.

You see, it’s not enough just to arrange the macroscopic objects in your life, the objects you can see with your own two eyes. Why on earth would you restrict yourself to just that? If I were into woo, I sure wouldn’t. Fortunately, Feng Shui expert Candace Czarny has my back (and yours). Even better, you don’t even have to do anything yourself, other than to lay down some cash, of course. But if you do you’ll be able to do something that was never before possible.

You’ll be able to apply the principles of Feng Shui to your cells using the Cell Balancers:

The Cell Balancers will help you:

  • Clear blocked energy patterns from your body and mind
  • Activate greater focus and clarity
  • Enhance your energy flow
  • Activate your Higher Potential
  • Activate deeper wisdom and bypass years of learning
  • Cultivate a felt-sense of peace, aliveness, spiritual awareness, well-being and integration
  • Gently and effectively align your cells with your Future Self’s Positive blueprint

Not only that, but there are multiple versions of the Cell Balancer, including the Gentle Model and the Power Model. Both claim to provide you with:

Inner transformation you can feel…Use this precision-tuned miracle of cosmic technology to:

  • Restore the true unique blueprint of your divine nature,
  • Release layers of toxic and distorted energy vibrations,
  • Remember your timeless wisdom, waiting within for its activation,
  • Experience the joy of living that is your birthright.

Place your fingertips on the Cell-Balancer, as shown n the finger-position diagrams, to experience a Felt Sense of Cellular balance. You’re an “in circuit” with the transformational energies. Spiritual healing patterns of transformation flow through your energy pathways, directly into the spiritual cells of the body. The Cell-Balancer transmutes negative energy-patterns trapped in your energy-body that confine, limit or distort your true self. As you release the energy distortions, you are freed to access your true essence.

That’s not all, though. There are also other disks, including the the Activator Disk, the Neutral Space Plate, and the Portal. All of them are claimed to work this way:

These disks “speak” the language of vibration, via the disk’s intricately tuned copper energy antennas, and its special materials and layering. Vibration is also called sympathetic resonance, because one vibration encourages other vibrations to resonate “in sympathy”. They work like a tuning fork, spontaneously encouraging another tuning fork (you) to resonate with the divine source (Universe, God, Creator).

[…]

The Powerform products were created by Joel Bruce Wallach. Explorations in healing and consciousness found Joel practicing hypnotherapy in 1982, yet still seeking a more direct approach to spiritual awakening. By 1985, his energy balancing practice replaced the hypnotherapy. His first subtle energy healing tools were also developed in 1985, utilizing his aura-sensing skills, combined with his ability to hear, see, and sense subtle energy.

Joel’s newest energy-balancing methods using the Powerforms promise practical levels of transformation for novices and practitioners alike. They help us activate our potential, and bring our world into balance. He emphasizes that this is our lifetime of infinite opportunity to embody heaven on earth.

And let’s not forget:

The neutral space plate helps you have direct experiences that activate deeper wisdom. bypass years of conventional learning with the precision-tuned miracle of cosmic technology. The Neutral Space Plate helps you access essential qualities in these vibrantly evolving modern times: Wise Neutrality ~ Present Moment Awareness ~ Personal Truth ~ Universal Truth ~ Clarity ~ Divine Peace ~ & Spiritual Attunement~

The Neutral Space Plate transmutes negative energy-patterns trapped in you energy-body that confine, limit or distort your true self. As you release the energy distortions, you are freed to align with your essential truth. You can use the alignment to deepen your meditation, to enhance creativity or as a relaxing way to nurture yourself.

Wow, all that from a mere disk!. I wonder if any of these disks have ever been subjected to randomized, double-blinded studies to assess whether they can actually do what their makers claim the can do for them. Such powers ought to be obvious under controlled conditions, wouldn’t you think?

Yes, Orac made a joke, lame as it was. Of course, the beauty of the gobbledy-gook above is that it means nothing. Really. Try to derive a concrete claim that can be tested for success out of the deluge of verbiage on that webpage. It ain’t there. It ain’t meant to be there. If they made actual specific health claims, the FDA or FTC might become interested in just what it is these disks are, and we can’t have that. What we actually can have however, are testimonials:

  • “I had my golfing partners put the Activator in their left shoe. They found, to their surprise, that they could drive the ball farther. Also, I found that when I put the Activator on the floor under my left shoe at work, I felt more alert and energized.” Tony C., Feng Shui Master.
  • “I use my Powerforms at my office. I am surrounded by computers and laser printers. I sit within the beam of several Powerforms (place the Powerforms on small easels facing you to accomplish this). I find that I am less tired by the end of the day as well as more creative throughout the day. Since I have set up the Powerforms here, co-workers have mentioned that my office feels calmer and more peaceful. They sensed the change without knowing about the energy devices.” Michelle, Facilities Coordinator.
  • “I was taking a nap and as an experiment I put the Portal on my forehead, with the Balancer behind my head. I had the most wonderful and beautiful energy flow through my body and I felt so good. I felt it pass through my body several times. I have come to think of the disks as some of my most prized possessions and value them very highly.” Barbara L., Designer.

I’m convinced. How about you?

So how much will this woo set me back if I want to balance my cells according to the principles of Feng Shui? Well, I could buy some of this stuff individually, but if I really want to go whole hog, I’d definitely have to buy the whole kit. It’s a bargain, too, at a mere $235.38 a whopping $77.97 off the price of all these separate items. Not only that, but they will even throw in the two DVD set of “Putting the Powerforms to Use.”

Man, I’d love to see the woo on those DVDs. It would be at least three or four hours of pure entertainment.

So what makes Feng Shui woo? After all, interior and exterior design can indeed make for a more “harmonious” environment in that good design is more visually pleasing and functional. If that’s all Feng Shui said, I wouldn’t consider it woo, but Feng Shui goes far, far beyond that. We have all this blather about alignment with magnetic fields, harmonizing energy fields, and even returning cellular “balance” through the various disks above. (As an aside, I wonder what those disks are made of. At least previous installments of YFDoW in which some sort of super-powered disks were lovingly “discussed” how they supposedly worked, whether it was through holograms or “energizing” your water à la Dr. Emoto.) After all, we’re looking at claims like these:

  • Enhance the energy of water, remedies & Crystals: The disk re-patterns the liquid’s atoms into higher degree of coherence, so that the liquid transmits positive activation when you drink it.
  • Spiritual Rejuvenation Chamber: Create a spiritually vibrant and protected energy chamber – a true sacred space.
  • Deep Knowingness: The Activator Disk transcends liner verbal communication. It helps you experience a felt-sense of vitality, aliveness, higher potential and well-being. You learn to “wake yourself up”
  • Re-Create Yourself: Affirmations enhance your Activator disk results. As you work with the Activator disk your negative patters transform gradually into positive energies.
  • Help your life energy remember its essential nature.
  • Unite your body, mind and soul.

If that ain’t woo, then I’ve learned nothing in the year and a half that I’ve been doing this little weekly foray into silliness. In fact, I’m impressed. These woo-meisters have seem to have gone beyond dualism and postulate not just the body and the mind, but the soul. Although the claims above are the usual New Age-sounding drivel, one of these claims actually did catch my attention: “Re-Create Yourself.” I wonder if the Activator Disk is like the transporter on Star Trek. I can see it now, it takes you apart, molecule by molecule, purges the “negative” energy patterns and then transforms them in to “positive energies.”

Now that’s something I’d pay money for…

Comments

  1. #1 Old Ari
    February 15, 2008

    Yes, but what about the heartbreak of psoriasis?

  2. #2 Tim
    February 15, 2008

    Rats. I was really looking forward to learning how to harmoniously arrange my cells, especially how to cope when I move. But, no, it’s more energy vibration field crap.

  3. #3 Orac
    February 15, 2008

    But, but….you need all that energy field vibration crap to harmoniously rearrange your cells. Then, within the cells, you need to harmoniously rearrange your organelles…

    (Damn! Why didn’t I include a prolonged riff on rearranging our cells, organelles, DNA, and enzymes in accordance with the principles of Feng Shui? That’s what I get when I do YFDoW late at night.)

  4. #4 Christophe Thill
    February 15, 2008

    “Re-Create Yourself.”

    If you thought the creationists were bad, wait till you meet the self-re-creationists…

  5. #5 Beth
    February 15, 2008

    When I first heard about Feng Shui I thought it was just about making sure you could get a good breeze through the house. Boy was I wrong.

  6. #6 Mark C. Chu-Carroll
    February 15, 2008

    Back when I was in college, my parents needed to move due to a variable-rate mortgage reset. (Sound familiar these days? This was in 1984.)

    They had some trouble selling it until a Chinese family came to look. They hated everything about the house – they went through asking “Can this flooring be ripped out?”, “Is the paneling removable?”, “Can the landscaping be replaced?”. Everything from floors to walls to bathroom fixtures to kitchen to lanscaping to lighting – I don’t think there was anything in the house that they didn’t hate. But they bought it – for asking price! – because according to Feng Shui, it was facing in the *perfect* direction, and it was the only house at the market in that town that faced so perfectly. (This was in a hilly area of central NJ, so the roads weren’t grids, but curved around the geography.)

  7. #7 AnnR
    February 15, 2008

    While this seems like jibberish…

    I have noticed that houses that sit on “T” intersections (the house is where the road should be going, except the intersection is a “T” instead of a cross, do seem to be prone to cars ending up in their front yards.

    They also have cars stopped at the intersection shining their headlights into their front windows at night, which can make it hard to sleep, which could cause occupants to be a bit edgy.

    So I’m not writing this off entirely, at least architecturally.

  8. #8 Interrobang
    February 15, 2008

    If you thought the creationists were bad, wait till you meet the self-re-creationists…

    I’ve got nothing against being self-made, but more people should read the manual first…

  9. #9 daedalus2u
    February 15, 2008

    That reminds me of a comedy skit that one of the local (Boston) radio stations used to put on by Fred, founder of Fred University. The university slogan was “When they ask you where you went to school, tell them F. U.”

    They also had a product called “smart juice”. If you drank it, it was guaranteed to make you smarter. Then you hear someone drinking it and start spluttering “this is urine!”, to which Fred replies, “See, you are getting smarter already”.

    That is the kind of “smarter” paying lots of money for this woo will get you (at best), so you can “bypass years of learning.”

  10. #10 Adrian
    February 15, 2008

    @AnnR

    Not to mention houses on T-intersections have an annoying habit of collecting the entire neighbourhood’s leaves on their front lawns during the fall (trust me, I grew up in one).

  11. #11 Sastra
    February 15, 2008

    Penn & Teller once did an episode on feng shui. They secretly filmed several (expensive) feng shui decorating consultants going through the same house, unaware that the others had also been hired. The ‘experts’ all gave different, often contradictory advice and rules. And, as I recall, each one took the time to inform their client very seriously that feng shui was “a science.”

    Most forms of woo (and religion) take care to mix up some perfectly reasonable, plausible ideas and guidelines for living with similar-sounding, but irrational and unlikely, precepts — on the assumption that the second type of claim will gain credibility by riding on the back of the first type of claim.

    As you say, de-cluttering your house and putting a nice little waterfall somewhere is going to relax you and make you feel better (and make the house look nicer.) But that has nothing to do with the “energy” crap, or advice about improving your finances by keeping the seat over the toilet closed (because your ‘feng shui’ is flushing itself away, presumably.)

  12. #12 Ahistoricality
    February 15, 2008

    I hate to say this, but they got the history of Feng Shui wrong, too. It’s actually an elite tradition, to begin with, based on Daoist/Naturalist (there’s a pre-Daoist tradition from which the Five Elements, Yin/Yang and the Chinese Zodiac originate) philosophy which trickles down into folk traditions as Daoism becomes a popular religion (with an emphasis on immortality which inspired all sorts of alchemical studies, ultimately resulting in the discovery of gunpowder) and the Yijing (aka I Ching) becomes a teaching text in the Neo-Confucian (post-1200) tradition.

  13. #13 Matt the heathen
    February 16, 2008

    As embarrasing as this is to admit, a Feng Shui practitioner is giving the grand rounds for the cancer centre where I work next week. Don’t ask me to explain/justify it. I just work here…

  14. #14 Jeff Rubinoff
    February 16, 2008

    We were in Hong Kong over Christmas holidays, and greatly admired the new Bank of China building, which was purposely designed to violate as many principles of Feng Shui as possible. Evidently their Shanghai building is of a similar design.

  15. #15 Brian X
    February 18, 2008

    I would say two things about Feng Shui:

    1. Taking it as anything other than a culturally-derived system of aesthetics is foolish.
    2. “Balance”? Remember, Anakin Skywalker brought balance to the Force.

  16. #16 pastbyer
    February 20, 2008

    I’m Chinese, and I didn’t even know that there was Feng Shui woo! I thought it was just about arranging furniture and such. The whole “energy flow” explanation has always sounded bogus to me, although there were a few sensible points mixed up in the mumbo-jumbo, like:

    -Having a house face south, since in the northern hemisphere a house facing south will get more sun in its front rooms, and is less likely to be damp. (And since I live in the southern hemisphere this is of course reversed.)
    -Not buying a house at an intersection of any kind, since you’ll get noise from both streets. Plus the T-intersection problem as mentioned above.
    -Having a house on a hill, which gives you a nice view as well as being less likely to be damp.

    Switching off cellphones and electronics when you sleep was just common sense – saves power and stops people calling you in the middle of the night.

    ~T

  17. #17 Dirt
    April 30, 2008

    This woomeister’s bad analogy about the tuning forks was particularly poor. When I was in elementary school choir we learned to match our voices to tuning forks, and never once have I heard one tuning fork cause another to change it’s pitch and resonate “in sympathy” with the first. Any 7-year-old in a music class could tell them that. And also, such a phenomenon would likely cause instruments to be impossibe to tune to anything other than one note.

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