Why we need rituals
The key lies in the simplicity of the rituals, which can be slipped into daily life with minimum fuss, effort and time (giving you half a chance of actually doing them!). The exercises themselves are incredibly beneficial for many different reasons, which I’ll explain as we go.
I founded Hayo’u after Chinese Medicine solved my own health problems. I qualified as a Chinese Medicine practitioner, determined to share the wisdom and help others to learn about the incredible benefits this ancient health system offers.
As Hayo’u works with the body’s innate ability to self-heal, it is safe to use in isolation or alongside any other treatment or therapy.
Stress is at the root of the majority of illnesses. It all comes down to this: when stress impacts your body, there is a period of time before symptoms manifest themselves physically. Practise the rituals on a daily basis and you will be taking direct action. By removing blockages and stagnation, you’ll be nourishing yourself back to optimum health.
All our rituals are based on the ancient, tried-and-tested Chinese practices of Qi Gong and Tui Na. Together, these tenets of Chinese Medicine work alongside your body’s natural abilities to self-heal. Ultimately, they assist your daily need to maintain optimum health.
Translated, Qi Gong means ‘Energy Exercise’ – the combination of slow and precise movements with powerful, controlled, deep breathing and sounds that increase the flow of blood and Qi to the vital organs. Although our Reset and Breathing rituals have their basis in this practice, I’ve distilled them to fit easily into your daily routine. Let’s face it, not many of us have time for a two-hour Qi Gong session in the morning!
Controlling your breathing circulates energy, allowing blood to nourish all of the tissues. Qi Gong can be done absolutely anywhere so there really is no excuse! It is great for joints and flexibility, helps induce relaxation, improves posture, relieves pain and stiffness and enhances energy and circulation.
The key with Qi Gong is daily practice, so including it as part of your daily routine means you will reap the rewards. The more you do the rituals, the greater the benefits. It's just one minute - but it's an important minute!
The drumming part of the Reset Ritual stems from Tui Na - a therapeutic form of massage used in China for more than 2,000 years. It makes use of acupressure points and rhythmic compression techniques along different energy channels of the body to establish harmonious flow of Qi and bring the body back to balance. Tui Na is particularly effective at breaking down scar tissue to relax muscles and tendons and speed up the healing process.
Although it’s called the ‘Reset’ Ritual, you can do this simple One-minute exercise throughout the day, anytime that you are feeling stressed. If nothing else, do that minute each morning as habitually as you would brush your teeth. If you don’t have time to brush your teeth I’d advise re-evaluating your schedule!
What I love about these rituals is that they're pleasurable and instantly beneficial. It's not like you have to wait two weeks to notice a difference: you feel good immediately, and they're easy. With the Rescue Breath ritual you're basically creating a meditative state for your body - but without having to be silent for 20 minutes and controlling your thought processes. Frankly, most of us find this nigh on impossible, whether we’ll admit it or not. That's how powerful these exercises are.
So what’s the science behind my thinking?
The easiest, most effective thing you can do to reduce your stress levels is to take conscious, deep, abdominal breaths. By moving your awareness out of your head and into your breath, your heart rate slows, your mind is calmed and your blood oxygenated. You also engage your PNI response, which will decrease the stress hormones produced by the sympathetic nervous system. PNI is a recent field of science which is discovering that our brains, nervous system, endocrine system and immune system are all linked. In short, that our mind and our body can directly affect each other.
The shallow, superficial breathing that many of us do all day leads to acidic pH balances in the body and exacerbates stress-related symptoms. Deep abdominal breathing on the other hand can lead to a more alkaline pH and relaxed state. It also triggers the release of neurohormones, which inhibit stress-producing hormones, so resulting in a relaxation response in the body.
The importance of deep diaphragmatic breathing in cultivating and conserving vitality cannot be over-emphasised. When properly utilised to regulate breath, the diaphragm acts as a ‘second heart’ to circulate blood and distribute nutrients throughout the system. This extra pump operates entirely by virtue of abdominal and thoracic pressure and takes a big workload off the heart.
Gua Sha is revered across Asia for its anti-aging benefits and used to clear the havoc wreaked on facial beauty by a stressful, hectic pace of modern life - creating a tension free complexion.
When we suffer stress, it shows in our face. Over time it can cause under eye bags, dull, lifeless skin, a ruddy complexion and wrinkles. Stress creates toxicity which manifests under the skin. The Chinese solution to this problem is Gua Sha. The press-stroking motion of Gua Sha expels this toxicity, exponentially improving blood flow and aiding the lymphatic system.
The process of Gua Sha is designed to enable the blood to release toxicity out via the surface of the skin. Gua means to scrape or rub, whilst Sha describes the redness that results. It’s not damaging to the skin or capillaries. We associate redness with bruising and pain in the West, but press-stroking the skin in this manner is completely harmless and satisfying.
The Chinese use Gua Sha to treat a huge number of conditions. It’s woven into the fabric of their healthcare system, sitting alongside Western treatments as part of their public health policy and prescribed for a multitude of disorders, including digestive issues, insomnia, muscular pain, headaches and anxiety.
Stress creates toxicity in the body which manifests under the skin. The Chinese solution to this problem is Gua Sha. The treatment’s press-stroke motion expels toxicity, exponentially improving blood flow and aiding the lymphatic system.
The process of Gua Sha is designed to enable the blood to release toxicity out via the surface of the skin. Gua means to scrape or rub, whilst Sha describes the redness that results. It’s not damaging to the skin or capillaries. We associate redness with bruising and pain in the West, but it’s actually really healing and satisfying. Press-stroking the skin in this manner is completely harmless. You'll find the pressure that feels right for you and it will quickly become habitual.