Helen Pietrusiewicz, a scholar at the Monterey Park-based American Feng Shui Institute, notes that along with fire, earth, metal and wood, water is one of the five elements of classical feng shui.
This is one case where the sound-masking qualities of water fountains might be counterproductive.
Classical feng shui tries to block the flow of negative energyÂ?sha chiÂ?into a building. Sha chi includes anything that offends the senses, including loud noises. However, according to the principles of classical feng shui,
using a loud sound to cover up another sound could create its own form of negative energy.
Some artists and audiophiles have a fascination with water and its sound.
Chuck Plaisance has recorded Brazilian rainforests, Hawaiian waterfalls, Malibu waves,
Louisiana thunderstorms, bathtubs and bubbling Jacuzzis.
Based in the Los Angeles area, Plaisance has issued scores of compact discs for consumers and a five-disc set of cinematic sound effects where water plays a major role. He's heard the low-end steam engine churn of volcanic Hawaiian waterfalls, the high-frequency sounds of misty small waterfalls, and the mid-range sounds of water hitting water.
Although Plaisance has his sound library playing constantly in a 200-CD changer, he finds he needs something more.
"In my living room I have a couple of fountainsÂ?
To sleep at night it's just incredible," he said.
Researchers have not isolated the impact of water sounds on human physiology, but one 1997 study came close.
Dr. Lee S. Berk, formerly of Loma Linda University, and currently assistant adjunct professor at UC Irvine College of Medicine performed the study.