|Doulas and Childbirth Educators are sometimes charged with the task of caretaker of the birth environment. Doulas adjust the lighting, music, fragrances and the mood of those present. Have you ever wondered why you feel tranquil in some birth settings and not in others? Sometimes, we just say it is just the way things are. It may be that there is harmony (or disharmony) due to the energy of the people present. Sometimes it is because we have bonded with the couple more or because we are familiar with the birth setting. But is it? Perhaps it is the Feng Shui of the birth center or hospital? What is feng shui and how might it|
play a part in birth?
A Chinese philosophy about the relationship between people and their environment, Feng Shui (pronounced "phong shway") focuses on how all things are connected and can affect the well-being of those in a particular environment. Based on the laws of nature, Feng Shui suggests an understanding of why certain things occur the way the do and how to create a more comfortable environment. It may take your thinking outside of the conventional birth environment box, but there may be more to it than we think.
Feng shui is very complex and cannot be fully covered in one article. The concept of Feng shui is typically passed down from generation to generation and takes years of learning and application from a Feng shui master. Developed over 5,000 years ago as a system of how to survive and excel in harmony with nature, feng shui theories came from logical assumptions about natural causes and effects that endured through time.
Think of a birth experience where everything has worked smoothly. What were the colors in the room? What colors were dominant? How did the elements of the room work for the birth? What were the dominant energies coming from the individuals present at the birth?
Feng shui is based on the Taoist philosophies of nature. Everything is made of qi or chi (pronounced chee) or energy, which is organized into five elements: metal, fire, water, wood and earth. Do not think of the five elements as static physical elements but energies like frequencies, which have direction and a unique wavelength. The Five Element Theory explains how qi/chi cycles in nature, constantly change from phase to phase, since energy is neither created nor destroyed. Consequently, everything around us is connected and has the potential to affect our well-being. Today, feng shui is a multi-disciplinary study encompassing architecture, urban planning, geography, astrology, electromagnetism, landscape design, environmental psychology, and many others.
What types of things may bring positive chi to the birth environment and produce good Feng shui at your next birth?
*wind chimes and mobiles disperse bad chi and replace with good. Obtain an inexpensive wind chime and hang it in the labor room. Listen to the gentle tinkle as people come into and go out of the room.
*live plants and aquariums symbolize life. Try a simple walk through the park during early labor eases labor stress (and facilitates labor due to movement) or having a lavender plant in the labor room. Aquariums have been shown to lower blood pressures and enhance relaxation.
*hang pictures low, as the possibilities will be within reach. A picture hung too high implies possibilities are out of reach. If your client has a focal point, hang it at eye level or above.
*mirrors in good condition reflect good - keep them from reflecting in the bathroom, trash cans, or other waste containers. Sometimes clients to not want to look at themselves in labor. Use your good judgement.
*the bed should never be directly in front of the door, with feet facing out. Blend this with good taste and protection of modesty, especially during vaginal exams and pushing.