Today I want to share something with you that’s got me genuinely excited. For the longest time, I’ve suffered with anxiety, low energy levels and stress - sometimes it’s manageable, and sometimes it’s not.
I’ve been to visit my GP endless times – prescribed anti-depressants that helped me to a point but didn’t solve the issues and I’ve recently had a full on blood MOT to rule out anaemia, diabetes and so on. Apparently, a prescribed dose of a ‘good nights sleep’ would do the trick (and of course, sleep would be great) but that doesn’t exactly help when you can’t sleep for worrying, does it?
I have to admit that I was giving up hope – perhaps I was just meant to feel exhausted all the time, perhaps my stress levels were normal, perhaps I was just over exaggerating and needed to get on with it.
And then, as if by magic, Katie Brindle got in touch.
5 minutes with this wonderful lady and I'd learnt so much more about my body than I've ever known in my 27 years on this planet.
So what am I talking about?
Let me introduce you to HAYO’U, the Chinese Medicine specialists - and give me a minute, I promise it’s not as a wanky as it sounds.
You’re reading a blog from the girl who isn’t on the wavelength of spiritualism or star signs. I find it really difficult to get onboard with that kind of stuff. I guess I’ve realised that unless something has science behind it, it’s not really for me. And HAYO’U has heaps of it. So stick with me, I promise it’ll be worth it.
What’s the difference between Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine?
Western Medicine treats disease after its manifested the body, whereas Chinese Medicine will help to prevent the manifestation in the first place.
It seems so obvious doesn’t it? And we probably all think we’re already doing it.
So here’s the deal. The Chinese believe that emotions have a huge importance on the physical effects of the body - within Chinese Medicine emotions are considered to be one of the main causes of disease (which yes, left me with my eyebrows raised too, but stick with me). They believe if we tackle our emotions head on, we should see an improvement in our general health.
Think about it, you’ve experienced heartache, right? Where your heart physically aches for another human? But for some reason or another we, and western doctors, brush it off. The same wouldn’t be said if we were to have a migraine so why is it then, that we’re not listening to our bodies? That when we feel that pain within us, we’re not realising that actually it could be related to our emotional state rather than just a physical ailment. To me, it was like a penny dropped.
HAYO’U aim to provide a bible of knowledge on how we can better care for ourselves - to be educated on even the most basic level as to how Chinese Medicine can improve your health. And we’re not talking herbs and needles here.
The idea isn’t to rule out westernised culture, either. Of course, we have an incredible healthcare system, and if you are feeling poorly, overwhelmed or very unwell you should 100% still seek medical advice. But Katie’s beliefs are so simple - of course we could help ourselves more. By understanding our bodies a little better, we could potentially reduce the need to visit the doctors because there’s the possibility that we could help reduce our own stress levels and much, much more.
I’ve been guilty of just eating and drinking and living the way what I want and thinking my body will sort out the rest, without having any knowledge of what I’m putting in and (to be brutally honest) how its coming out.
And here’s why I’m a HAYO’U convert.
You know those inconclusive blood tests I told you about? Well turns out I’m gluten intolerant. I didn’t find that out through my GP, I found that out through Katie. She asked me to complete a health questionnaire, listing my diet, exercise and average routine for a typical week. I’d been sat with her for less than a minute and she immediately said something was up with my digestion.
Not once, when visiting my doctor, did anyone mention that it might be my diet that was causing me such grief.
It’s been a month since I last ate gluten and I feel amazing. Katie advised me it was clear to her that my chronic exhaustion, mood swings and lack of enthusiasm were down to my diet - and she knew all of this because she understands the body in a way we don’t yet.
I cut it out completely and now? My energy levels are sky high, I actually feel like exercising and midday naps? I don’t even give them a second thought anymore. I feel good after I eat and it’s made me feel kinda stupid actually, that I didn’t realise before now how uncomfortable I was after eating that bowl of pasta or how quickly it needed to come out of me (TMI, soz).
I knew something was up with my body, I just didn’t know how to fix it. But with the HAYO’U knowledge strapped firmly under my belt I’m able to look after myself and take control of my health in a much, well, healthier way.
My anxiety levels have been reduced through the fact that I’m practising the HAYO’U rituals too, and not to mention that they’re naturally reduced anyway due to the fact that I can sleep better because my stomach isn’t constantly in agony. I’ve spoken about my anxiety at length on my blog and I know it’s something that a lot of you suffer with too, so having really simple, achievable practices in place are super important. The daily rituals Katie provide might initially have you turning your nose up, but they really do work, so please give them a chance - if like me, you find nothing else works - at least give this a try.
The rituals take one-minute and my favourite can be done anywhere, at anytime.
Breathing. It’s as simple as that.
When we experience pain we tend to take shallow breaths rather than breathing deeply. If you close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths you’ll instantly feel better. Katie advises to firstly exhale the stale air by breathing in and out 3 times as hard as you can. And then, eyes closed, breathe in for 5 counts through the nose then out for 5 counts through the mouth. An important part of the process is imagining something that really makes you smile whilst breathing - focusing on it travelling down into your internal organs and relaxing your muscles. Use your diaphragm to move the breath through your entire body. There are plenty more exercises you can try too, they’re completely free and I promise, if you practice them every day you’ll start to feel SO much better. The idea is to tackle the stress you're feeling before it wreaks havoc on your body - prevention is key here. Research shows that stress can impact our immune system, making us more susceptible to disease and introducing these exercises in to your life will get you started on the right road (there are plenty more options too!)
So if you’re panicking on the London underground, sitting in standstill traffic or simply getting dressed and ready for the day - you can literally do these rituals at any time. Katie has even filmed short videos to show you how to perform the practices perfectly. Find out more about those by clicking here.
If you struggle with high stress levels, or simply want to learn more about your emotions and your body, I would strongly recommend giving the HAYO’U site a little read. I know it might not be for everyone, but I wasn’t sure it was for me either. I explored every avenue I thought I could to work my way back to a healthier human and I couldn’t do it. Not until Katie taught me that learning more about my body would give me so many answers. This site will educate you, completely free of charge, on the basics of the benefits of Chinese Medicine in the western world and I’m 100% confident you’ll learn things about yourself, too. I’ve not only improved my physical health through HAYO’U, but my mental state too.
For that, I’ll be forever grateful.
This post is in collaboration with HAYO'U but all views are my own - this site has changed my life!