Archive for the 'Feng Shui' Category

Jan 19 2010

Workplace Wake Up

Published by under Feng Shui

Give a fresh look and feel to your space

By Barbara Hey,

Originally published in Skin Deep, December/January 2007. Copyright 2007. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. All rights reserved.

Revamping your practice space is as much for you as for your clients. Whether it’s a paint job, a few new design elements, or a complete overhaul of your room, the result is the same: a refreshed and rejuvenated environment with an influx of new energy. Since you’re spending considerable time in your work area, the first step is to figure out what you need in terms of function. Then decide what–aesthetically speaking–is most pleasing to you. If it’s your own spa, you have more say over the particulars. But even if your room is inside someone else’s location, there are still ways to individualize the area. The more at ease you are, the better for your client, and the better for business.

Smart Space
If it’s your salon and you’re laying out the individual work areas, think breathing room. If walls are already up, you need to work with the dimensions you’ve been given.

“To make the most of a tight space, get your cabinets up on the walls instead of having them on the floor,” says spa consultant Beverlee Garb of Salon Training International in San Diego. “They need to be high enough that you can sit beneath them while working on a client.”

Use equipment that combines several functions, like a magnifying light and steamer. “For ergonomic reasons, everything should be within arm’s reach, at the correct height, and easily accessible,” Garb says. “You should never have to get up and then sit back down during a service.”

Practical Interiors
Focus on the essentials. Your practice space needs to be a chameleon–arranged and designed to maximize efficiency during client visits. It should lend itself to easy clearing and cleaning between sessions.

Don’t forget, however, your room also needs to fulfill your client’s desire for a getaway, a design that relaxes, soothes, and pampers for the duration of treatment. So, pretend you’re the client. What do you see when you enter the room? What is the view from the treatment area? “Treatment rooms are generally small, filled with equipment, with not much space left for decor,” says Carol Griffith, design consultant with Aerial Beauty in New Berlin, Wisconsin.
Within the parameters, think about the basics: color, lighting, and (a big one) clutter management. A fresh coat of paint is an easy way to revive a workspace. Shades to consider include pinks, peaches, lavenders, and soft yellows, suggests Seann Xenja, a Mill Valley, California-based interior designer and feng shui expert. But dramatic use of rich hues–deep reds, clay, and earth tones–are also cropping up in salons. Not all walls have to be uniform either. Paint one wall in a deep hue and the others in complementary shades.
For easy cleaning of your newly painted walls without stripping color, cover the space from the floor to four feet high with a glaze, suggests Alexis Ufland, president of Lexi Design, in New York City, a firm that designs spas. “That way you can spray and wipe clean easily,” she says.

Lighting Illusions
Lighting serves distinct functions for you and your customers. Bright lights are essential for cleaning and prepping between appointments, but are not a positive for clients. Low lighting is best for ambience. “One easy fix is a dimmer switch,” says Griffith, so that brightness can be adjusted easily.

Overhead lighting is not optimal. It’s usually too harsh and the fixture is in direct view while clients are reclining. “The ceiling itself is a design element,” Ufland says. If possible, move all functional equipment like fixtures and sprinklers off to the side, she suggests. Otherwise, camouflage works. One of her spa clients covered the ceiling light with a blue screen, giving it the appearance of water. Make sure such changes are within fire code regulations.

Another redesign option is a floating ceiling, Griffith suggests. A second ceiling, installed a foot or so beneath the original ceiling, can feature lights that bounce illumination upward for a more subtle effect. Wall sconces work well for a treatment room. They too bounce light to the ceiling–another option for soft, indirect light.

As for clutter, “a working closet with a sliding door will beautify the room,” Ufland says. That way equipment, supplies, and even the hamper and sink are hidden from view.

Some tables also have storage areas beneath that can easily be obscured by a bed skirt. Or if space is too limited, keep essentials like sheets and towels in a closet in the hall, and invest in a trolley that oozes style, or shows off products beautifully displayed. Garb notes that a single storage and counter area for staff to access in a back work area cuts down on the quantity of product needed on hand.

Scent, Sound, Touch
To design a pleasing space, it takes more than just visual fixes. “Every sense must be touched,” Ufland says, which suggests other, easily accomplished modifications to the space.
As for a relaxing aural environment, design the overall space so rooms for conversation-free treatments are adjacent to one another. Or invest in a sound system to play calming background music, or a white noise machine to obliterate sounds from the hall or nearby rooms.

Another option that works on several levels is a water feature, which provides a soothing backdrop for treatment. And in the language of feng shui, place it in the wealth corner of the space, Xenja says. (See illustration below.) It can bring abundance into your life.

Scent is another pleasant touch. In an atomizer, mix a favorite essential oil with water, and use it to freshen the room. Also doing double duty, a citrus-scented spray is pleasant while it clears the energy between clients, Xenja says. Better yet, peel an orange, divide into nine sections, and put the slices in a bowl of water to infuse the room with a delightful fresh scent.

New bed linens and towels can be part of a redesign. Select them for how luxurious they feel, as well as their durability, and then stage the room for maximum effect. Don’t just toss a towel on the treatment table, fold silk towels to welcome the next client. Ufland suggests Comphy Company spa bedding for a particularly pleasant tactile experience.

Stick to a Theme
The sky is not the limit when it comes to revamping your practice area, since you no doubt need to keep your space consistent with the rest of the salon. “Spas these days are more of a brand than a mom-and-pop operation, and the brand is represented even through space design, uniforms, and products,” Ufland says. So when you’re considering the design of your particular area, identify a spa theme and stick to it in your decisions.

If you do have control of the total environment, do a bit of soul searching. Are you more holistic and natural? Are you more upscale and glamorous? Do you cater more toward a certain ethnic roup? “Once you identify who you are and what you want to portray, you will attract the type of client that best fits your environment,” Garb says. “Don’t try to be everything to everyone.”

Embracing that identity is about client comfort too. “The customer is drawn to the salon because of its style and will feel at ease in those surroundings, whether modern or traditional,” Griffith says. 4
Your space speaks about you and you can speak about yourself. It’s not only okay to promote your wares, it’s highly desirable. “Don’t assume clients know what you offer,” Garb says. “Just make sure it’s tasteful.” She suggests framing pictures listing services and promotions where clients will notice and be drawn to them.

And finally, design to exceed your clients’ expectations. “Every client expects a comfortable treatment bed, nice sheets, and a warm environment,” Garb says. She suggests extra touches like a comforter instead of a blanket, a warm water bag under the bottom sheet, or warm socks clients take home as a gift. “All of these touches will set you apart from the rest.”

Barbara Hey is a freelance health writer based in Boulder, Colorado. Her work has appeared in several national publications, including Allure, Health, Alternative Medicine, and Parenting.

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Jun 11 2009

7 Feng Shui Tips for Your Massage Space

Published by under Feng Shui,Massage Therapy

Maximize positive energy and decrease negative energy in your practice by learning about feng shui, the ancient Asian art of design. Discover seven tips to improve the energetics of your massage space that you can apply right away.

Feng shui is the ancient Chinese art of arranging and placing objects in our environment. This thoughtful spatial layout facilitates optimal circulation of energy (Qi). Qi circulates throughout our body and imbalance occurs when that Qi becomes excessive, stagnant or deficient. The Asian worldview perceives our bodies as a microcosm of the universe, and thus, the same principles apply. It is this reasoning that forms the basis of feng shui, which acts to correct environmental imbalances due to overactive, stuck or insufficient Qi flow.

A majority of feng shui principles are extensions of common sense. Many people are sensitive to the flow of Qi outside of their bodies, and intuition guides them to favor areas with smooth and easy Qi flow. We have all experienced the difference between entering a room that feels awkward vs. entering a room that feels good. It is astonishing how some simple feng shui guidelines can transform the energy of a space, and result in positive implications for all of its occupants.

Following are seven feng shui tips to optimize the energetics of a massage practice:

1. Entrance Area: The space where someone first enters your practice is considered to be an auspicious place. Because one might pause here upon entering or leaving, they are affected by the Qi that flows through it. Entrance halls with no windows or doors, or enclosed in some way, can cause the Qi to stagnate. Strategically placed mirrors, a small water fountain or a ceiling fan can create the movement necessary to eliminate energetic stagnation.

2. Sharp Angles: According to Anne Mansfield, executive director of the International Feng Shui Guild based in Beaverton, Oregon, “In a wellness practice, you want to have soft edges, nothing sharp or pointed because you are dealing with people who are vulnerable and need to be treated gently.” Solutions to soften sharp or jutting angles include soft and comfortable seating, gentle lighting and plants or statues in front of those angles.

3. Water Fountain: This brings in the element of water and creates energetic movement. A water fountain in the actual treatment room may create too much activity to ensure a relaxing experience for the client. It can also influence activity in the bladder, and may interrupt a session with a trip or two to the restroom. Since the southeast corner is considered to be the “money area,” placement of a fountain here is said to bring in good luck and financial prosperity.

4. Ceiling Beams: Overhead beams generate negative energy that is directed downward. A beam over your massage recipient will place unseen pressure on that person. If a ceiling beam in the treatment room is unavoidable, properly hung bamboo flutes on the beam can lift that sense of oppression.

5. Massage Table Placement: Massage therapists typically work in small rooms. As such, there may not be many choices of how to position the massage table. Two standards of feng shui include preventing the feet or the head from being directly in front of the door. The client (when supine) should be able to see the door. If a person can’t see someone entering the room it may startle them, which interrupts relaxation. The worst position for a massage table is directly in front of the door with the client’s feet facing the door. This is called the “coffin position” because in ancient China the dead were laid with their feet toward the door for easier access to heaven. The “coffin position” drains away all of that individual’s good luck and energy.

6. Wall Color: While red is a desired color to bring fame and benefit a business’s reputation, avoid its use in the treatment room. The color red is energizing and can therefore prohibit a restful experience. Soft muted colors that appear in nature are the best bets to foster relaxation and healing.

7. Rocks: A bowl of smooth polished river rocks on the floor, under the massage table, is a simple way to encourage energetic grounding. Stones are yin in nature, and therefore connect us to the earth and bring us stability. When combined with the yang activity of massage, the rocks bring balance to a session and ground both the practitioner and the recipient.

If these seven tips don’t initiate the positive changes you may be seeking, think about hiring a professional feng shui consultant. These individuals have been trained in the complexities of environmental energy flow and are being increasingly commissioned to design buildings and remedy unsuccessful business locations. While bringing a feng shui expert into your practice may seem like a leap of faith, that leap can pay off both in your personal life and in your business life.

Posted by Nicole at 04:27 PM
© 2009 Institute for Integrative HealthCare Studies. This work is reproduced with the permission of the Institute.

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