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10th July 2008


What is Qi? (Part 2)

"The Ion Theory of Qi" © Feng Shui Connoisseur


Following on from my previous article "What is Qi?", I hope to explore further with you on how traditional feng shui principles and concepts could be more easily understood if we correlate them with our modern day concept of ions. I will term this correlation between feng shui and ions the "Ion Theory of Qi". Before we touch on feng shui principles, we should first explore deeper on natural ions and understand some its basic characteristics and their behaviour.

Natural ions are ions that exist in the air. They can be positive ions or negative ions. Positive ions primarily come from radioactive minerals in the ground, from radon gas in the air and a smaller amount from ionosphere via cosmic radiation (protons). Negative ions are primarily produced by radioactive sources and from evaporating water. Very hot objects, combustion and open flame will also produce ions, in equal amount of positive and negative ions. Ions are measured by number of ions per cubic centimeter in either positive or negative amount. In normal weather condition, there are about 200 to 800 negative ions and 250 to 1500 positive ions per cubic centimeter in the air.

Since evaporating water produces negative ions in the air, it will leave behind positive charges in the water. If these positive charges are not short (conducted) to ground, the water will get more and more positively charge until at a point in time, it will not produce any more negative ions. An electric wall socket operated water fountain will continuously produce negative ions while a battery operated fountain will not because there is not earthed to ground. In another observed phenomenon, before a thunder storm arrives, the amount of positive ions in the air will increase quite dramatically and during the storm, the quantity of negative ions will increase. High concentration of positive ions will attract negative ions and therefore they are both found together. In a cloud of positive or negative ions they usually exist in compact concentration of not more than 30 meters in diameters. For this reason, in indoor conditions, there may be situations where positive ions are concentrated in one room while there are more negative ions in another room.

Ions also have lifespan. They exist in the air until they touch a surface and short to ground. This is common in indoor conditions where there are many objects around in the room. In outdoor conditions, they 'live' slight longer. Indoor near the ground level or basement, most positive ions come from radon in the ground. Radon is a radioactive gas that is found in the earth's rock and soil. It is formed by the natural breakdown of radium.

Having understood some of the basic characteristics of ions, we shall explore some of the common feng shui principles and beliefs and see how these can be explained by the Ion Theory of Qi.


Feng Shui Principles

Ion Theory of Qi Explanation


Sheng Qi is good. Sha Qi is bad.

Negative ions are good and are term as good Qi. Positive ions are bad and are termed as bad Qi.


Incoming water towards house is good.

Incoming water bring in more negative ions towards house, which is good.


Fountains at home will bring wealth to people living in it.

Fountains generates negative ions which make people feel better, more energized, have better concentration level, reduce stress, healthier and therefore can make more money.


Feng shui talks about Earth Qi and Heaven Qi, both have its good and bad influence.

"Qi from Earth" are the amount of positive ions from radioactive mineral and from radon gas generated underground. "Good grounds" are places with lower positive ions concentration. "Qi from Heaven" comes from cosmic radiation, and water evaporation. It depends on the presence of water sources, orientation and direction of the house facing.


Magnetic compass can show the effect of electromagnetic interferences (EMI) from electrical appliances at home. Too much electromagnetic interference (EMI) in the house is no good and bad for health.

A magnetic compass will show the effects of magnetic fields in the house and these magnetic fields are caused by earth's natural magnetic field as well as electromagnetic interferences from electrical sources. Ions in the environment are affected by magnetism since they carry either positive or negative charge. A cloud of ions can be considered as charged air. Therefore EMI can alter the ions flow within the house.


The location of stove in the kitchen and its facing is an important aspect of good feng shui. It should be placed in bad location and face good direction based on Bazhai or Eight Mansion Feng Shui system.

Hot burning objects like stove or open flame are sources of ions, both positive and negative. In bad location, the negative ions produced by the stove will neutralize the high concentration of positive ions (Bad Qi) in the bad location by cancelling out the charges. By facing a good direction, the negative ions from the good direction flow in and help in neutralizing the positive ions at a faster rate.


House should ideally have the four celestial animals surrounding it. Mountain behind as tortoise, left side as green dragon, right side as white tiger and the front to have open space (ming tang) with water as red bird.

By facing south, the house is not facing the morning sun or the evening sun where the angle of the radiation is low and can shine into the house. The green dragon and white tiger serves as a shield to protect the house from the low sun rays. South is hotter than north. If the house faces south with a water source in front, air convection will bring "wind" into the house through the front door and makes the house cool. This "wind" will have higher concentration of negative ions since they come from water sources via evaporation.


There should not be too many things in the house, blocking the smooth flow of Qi.

Too many objects in the house will create more surface area to short and neutralized the ions in the air. In a space without objects, the ions will linger longer in the air.


The Qi map of the house will change with the passage of time. Different year, different seasons, different months, different day or hours will have different type of Qi in the house.

Different year, different months, different day or hours will have different effects from the sun during daytime and from the stars during night time. Cosmic radiations are sources of ions which will affect the house at different time. The flying stars pattern of the Luoshu could be a way to describe the radiation pattern from the sun and stars.


Solid wall can block Qi better compared to glass walls or glass windows.

Cosmic radiation (protons) in the form of sunlight can penetrate through glass to ionize the air.

11 To activate a good star at a particular location in the house, lighted candle or tealight can be used. Open flame, which is actually plsma, will give out positive and negative ions. In any given area, there will be positive and negative ions in different proportion. For good star location, it is assumed that the negative ions is more than the positive ions. With the open flame generating more positive and negative ions in roughly equal quantity, the negative ions given out by the flame will neutralised the bad positive ions in that location, leaving behind only negative ions.
12 Bad mountains are barren and have exposed rocks. Good mountains are covered by rich vegetation. Bad mountains give out more positive ions because of the exposed rocks. Good mountains has plants and trees to neutralised the positive ions when they give out oxygen and evaporation of dew.

At this juncture, I hope I have convinced you in understading the true nature of Qi and will also give you a different perspective on how you will view Qi in Chinese metaphysical terms in future. Having this in mind will hopefully help you to understand some of the ancient theories and concepts of certain Feng Shui formula.

The wisdom of our forefathers were great and we may not be able to fathom all their thoughts and understand how they could come up with various formula for specific application. Although they could not explain Qi in a scientific way, they just understand Qi simply exists in this universe and knows how to harness them for the benefit of mankind.


By Cyril Quah

"The Feng Shui Connoisseur"

July 10, 2008

Copyright 2006 Feng Shui Connoisseur. All rights reserved.