Feng Shui
Literally wind-water, Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of placement based upon a philosophy of the movement of chi or natural energy through our environments. By following the patterns of nature, a practitioner will advise on the placement of everything from an individual object in the home or workplace to the positioning of a building upon property. Feng Shui shows us how to support the flow of energy in our lives to augment health and prosperity.
www.footnotesforhealth.com /definitions.html

The first document reference to Feng Shui was in an ancient text dating back to around 200 BC. However artifacts bearing Feng Shui symbols go back much further. Such symbols have also been found in a grave excavated in 1988 that dates back to around 4000 BC. So Feng Shui may be 6000 years old!
There are also claims that it is derived from Vastu which is a ancient Indian art of architecture that dates back thousands of years. This is however not proven.
Feng Shui continue to be developed through centuries of research, analysis and experimentation and new findings were recorded and old theories refined.
The Tang dynasty (618 - 906 AD) mark the coming of age of the Form School which place emphasis on environmental features such as mountains and water (e.g. lakes, river).
Later on, saw the development of a new system that is more mathematical and largely based on the numerology of the I-Ching. This system is favored in areas where the terrain is flat and featureless and saw tremendous developing using the Sung dynasty (960 - 1279 AD).

Feng Shui remained popular during the Ming (1368 - 1644 AD) and Ching (1644 - 1911) dynasty.
However after the fall of the Ching dynasty, China attempted to catch up with the modernization and industrialization of the west and many non-scientific practices like Feng Shui and even acupuncture were marginalized.
When the Communist government took power in 1949, more efforts were made to discredit such practices. Despite this, practitioners continue to practice their trade. However the Cultural Revolution between 1966 and 1976 took its toll on Feng Shui and many such books and paraphernalia were destroyed.
Many practitioners fled with their knowledge to Hong Kong, Taiwan and other overseas community. It is today alive and widely practiced in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia (which has a significant Chinese minority), Singapore and the other expatriate Chinese communities such as London, San Francisco and Vancouver.
Interestingly, it is experiencing a revival in China with the more open and liberal policies of the current government.
http://www.absolutelyfengshui .com/articles/issue002.html

Feng Shui

Literally 'wind water;' perhaps better translated as 'the art of wind and water,' feng shui is the art (science?) of arranging objects in order to allow qi, or energy, to flow more freely and naturally. Feng shui practitioners believe proper placement will enhance the quality of the environment and thereby enhance the quality of life.

The practice of feng shui is probably as old as Chinese civilization. It may have started as a result of the geography of China, where winds from the mountains can be very strong and lower lying areas are prone to flooding. Thus, when s\choosing where to build a house or bury someone, the lay of the land had to be taken into consideration.

Feng shui is used both on a grand scale – the location and orientation of a building - and also on a smaller scale – the placement of furniture, and even what to place in a desk drawer.