Tips for dealing with stress using the Hayo’u method

This morning I got out of bed and punched myself in the stomach, all in the name of the Hayo’u method.

Okay, so I’m dramatising to get your attention, but it worked didn’t it? You’re still reading. (Don’t stop now, just to make a point.)

I’ve actually been giving myself a good pummelling every day now for about two weeks, ever since I went to visit Katie Brindle. Katie is an expert in Chinese medicine and creator of the Hayo’u method. 

Katie Brindle Hayo'u method

So here’s the deal. Just follow me for a bit, because I know some people will be a bit sceptical about Chinese medicine, but even if you can’t get your head around the idea of Qi, (pronounced ‘chee’), then you can still benefit from Katie’s experience and get something out of her one minute rituals. 

Chinese medicine, (and this is me paraphrasing very roughly from my session with Katie, so it’s probably overly simplistic/possibly a bit wrong), is based on the idea that we have this energy, or Qi, flowing around us. Qi flows around and between the key organs of our body – the heart, digestive system, lungs, kidneys and liver. Sometimes, for whatever reasons, this energy doesn’t flow as well as it could. As a result of this imbalance, we experience physical and emotional health problems. Some imbalances are innate, and to do with the positions of the planets when you’re born, others are caused by us not taking care of ourselves. When you understand exactly where your own imbalances are, you can introduce changes into your diet and lifestyle to address them.

Take me as an example. Based on my date and time of birth, Katie mapped out the imbalances that she would expect to see in my Qi. My liver, it would seem, is suffering. My heart and digestive system are sapping all my Qi, (which explains why I think about food constantly), leaving my liver under nourished. When Katie went on the explain how this would manifest itself, as described in this blog post, it made total sense.

“According to Chinese Medicine,” writes Katie, “headaches and/or shoulder pain are often a manifestation of the liver holding stress in the energetic channels of the body.


“The ancient Chinese saw stress as ‘Qi stagnation’, more specifically Qi stagnation relating to the energy of the liver. We have so much liver Qi stagnation (or stress) due to our modern lifestyle. Poor diets and sleep quality, environmental toxins, even just sitting at a desk all day – it all has an impact. Our livers are overwhelmed by emotions and worries, lusts and desires, and physical stagnation. Frequent sighing or irritability is a sure sign of mild liver Qi stagnation.”

Double check.

“Soothe the agitation in our liver and we’ll sleep better at night and be happier and more productive during the day.”

Yes please.

Right. So we have an idea of what the problem might be, but what do we do about it? Of course we know that there are specialists available. We could go to our GP with a identifiable health problem, or take ourselves along to a top psychiatrist in London for specific emotional issues or trauma. But what about these more general issues, the ones that are harder to pinpoint? The thing that I liked about what Katie was saying about Chinese medicine, is that it’s basically common sense. We know that we need more balance in our lives, more exercise, more walks outdoors, a better diet, more time spent in quiet contemplation of life. Of course we know this. The reality of lives though is that when we are stressed, when we need these things most, we are least likely to do them. If you’ve had a busy day at work, and the kids are stressing you out, which are you more likely to do – take yourself off to a yoga glass, or open a bottle of wine and browse through your Instagram feed?

(Let’s be honest, we know which I’m doing.)

Which is why Katie created the Hayo’u method.

(There we are. it took me a while, but I got to the point eventually.)

The Hayo’u method – One minute morning ritual

The Hayo’u method is based on the principles of Chinese medicine, condensed into one minute rituals that you can basically do anywhere, at any time. The one where you thump yourself – body drumming – works best first thing in the morning as a way to wake yourself up and engage your organs, but you could do it anywhere as a general stress reliever. My favourite bit is where you swing the top half of your body around from side to side, whacking yourself as you do. There’s something really hypnotic about it, and afterwards I can feel all my limbs tingling.

Katie Brindle Hayo'u method

Katie Brindle Hayo'u method

If you want to have a go at this one, just follow Katie:

The Hayo’u method – One minute breathing ritual

Katie made a lot of sense when she talked about just how important breathing is. Think about it – we focus a LOT of attention on diet, and yet you could actually not eat for quite a long time and not die. If you didn’t breathe though for even a few minutes, the impact on your health would be catastrophic. But we don’t think about it do we? We pretty much give no thought at all to breathing well. 

Katie’s one minute breathing ritual is really simple. She calls them smiling breaths, but for some bizarre reasons they have stuck in my head as monkey breaths. There is absolutely no explanation for this other than that I must be actually mad, but whatever you call them, no one is going to contest that regular, deep breathing is good for you. I like the smiling/monkey breaths because they give you an action to concentrate on as well, and they are dead easy and can be done anywhere at all:

  • breathe in, feeling your tummy expand
  • breathe out, pulling your tummy back in, and as you do, imagine a smile that starts at the base of tummy and gradually spreads upwards
  • If it helps to picture a monkey smiling, then do
  • repeat a minimum of five times

I told you it was easy. You can do more if you want to, but even just five will make a difference. You can do these smiling breaths at any time during the day when you need a boost.

So there we go.

Work these two, simple rituals into every day, and you should notice that your energy starts to flow better, resulting in a reduction of stress and an increase in energy. Katie also has a great blog, with lots of interesting articles about stress and Chinese medicine, so do have a read.

Have you ever looked into Chinese medicine or incorporated any practices into your life? I’d love to know what has worked for you.

Sponsored post. All views my own.


1 Comment

  1. 18 July, 2016 / 11:37 am

    I’m not going to lie…I don’t think “banging the thymus” or “awakening the adrenals” quite makes sense to me…but, I love finding out about new things, Chinese medicine is really interesting AND I love the way you wrote this piece! Thanks!

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