A breakthrough in how buildings can promote health and well-being

Summary of findings on Maharishi Vastu architecture. Credit: Maharishi International University

Having understood the detrimental effects of sick building syndrome and the need to better conserve energy by incorporating green features, architects are also using certain elements of an architectural design system that have been shown to reduce stress, improve sleep, promote physical and mental health, thus improving the quality of life of its inhabitants.

These results appear in the first comprehensive review of 40 years of published studies on the benefits of the Maharishi Vastu Architecture (MVA) published in the current issue of Global advances in health and medicine: “Built Environment Management for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention with Maharishi Vastu Architecture: A Review.”

MVA is a holistic wellness architectural system that aligns buildings with nature’s intelligence, creating balanced, orderly, and integrated living environments with the goal of enhancing occupant lives in multiple areas.

“We were surprised to discover that something so ancient has so much to tell us about how buildings can improve our health and productivity,” said Jon Lipman, AIA, lead author and director of the Institute of Vedic Architecture of Maharishi International University.

Here are some of the main findings of the review:

  • Sleeping with your head facing east or south is associated with positive health outcomes, such as lower heart rate, blood pressure, and serum cholesterol levels.
  • Houses with southern entrances are associated with poorer mental health and more financial problems.
  • Facing east during labor is associated with greater brain coherence and faster task execution.
  • Occupants of Maharishi Vastu architecture homes or office buildings demonstrate greater creativity and report improved health and quality of life.

Previous research on the impact of buildings has focused primarily on assessing stress reduction and increased comfort and well-being.. The findings of this study reinforce the growing recognition that building design plays a key role in causing and even potentially solving humanity’s health problems.

“Modern medicine now recognizes the powerful effects of the ‘environment’ on health,” said study co-author Robert Schneider, MD, FACC and Dean of the College of Integrative Medicine at the International University of Maharishi.

“The environment,” he explained, “includes all natural and man-made elements of our environment throughout life, including the built environment. This review of science suggests that buildings constructed according to the principles of Maharishi Vastu architecture function as positive elements in the environment to improve mental and physical health and well-being.Other advances in neuroscience offer plausible physiological explanations for these effects.

Maharishi Vastu architecture is the recent revival of an ancient South Asian architectural system. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation organization, has systematically integrated over 20 principles into a single, comprehensive building system.

Some of the principles included in this system are:

  • The main entrance to the building faces east or north.
  • The walls of the building align with the cardinal points.
  • The floor plan assigns key functions to specific locations in the building.
  • The floor plan allows occupants to face the most ideal directions while working and sleeping.
  • Architectural plans must adhere to consistent and specific guidelines.
  • In line with the idea of ​​providing a healthy environment, the system emphasizes non-toxic natural materials, increased fresh air and reduced electromagnetic radiation.

The results of the review suggest that Maharishi Vastu architecture offers a viable approach to using architectural design as a tool for promoting mental and physical health.

Can the design of a building enhance the creativity of its occupants?

More information:
Jon Lipman et al, Built Environment Management for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention with Maharishi Vastu Architecture: A Review, Global advances in health and medicine (2022). DOI: 10.1177/2164957X221077084

Provided by Maharishi International University

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