Wellbeing: Shake up your circulation

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A fly on the shower screen watching my morning ablutions might think my love of animals has gone bonkers. First, emulating a water-loving dog shaking all over. Next, drumming on my chest and limbs like a gorilla before I leap on to the bath mat and twist sinuously up and down, side to side, like a cat.

I started practising this quick ritual (it takes me three minutes) after meeting Katie Brindle (above), a practitioner of Chinese medicine (CM). This ancient discipline has historically aimed to prevent illness and keep people in good health. It’s based on two simple principles: good circulation with free flow of blood and energy, and clearing heat or inflammation, now believedby Western scientists to underlie many diseases.

Katie has developed a self-care method called Hayo’u, meaning ‘well you’, using simple rituals to promote these principles. The effects of my morning antics on my circulation are immediate. The shaking and drumming sends a whoosh of energy from top to toe while the feline twist nudges my stiff spine into suppleness.

Katie, who is now 45 and has three children, began studying CM in 2002. A serious car acciden in 1994 had ended her dream of becoming an opera singer. ‘The impact resulted in acute then chronic whiplash. I couldn’t move my neck at all and my singing voice disappeared.’

After Chinese massage techniques proved the most effective way to resolve her whiplash, Katie studied Tui Na massage and reflexology, followed by CM and Five Element acupuncture.

Over the next decade, Chinese medicine supported her again. After one unsuccessful round of IVF , acupuncture helped her become pregnant with twins. But the birth was gruelling and Katie spent six days in intensive care. Her recovery was greatly aided by practising Qi Gong, an Ancient Chinese system of gentle exercise, with breathing and meditation.

‘The root of caring for your health is reducing stress,’ Katie maintains. ‘Fast-paced modern living sends stress levels rocketing, triggering the release of adrenalin and cortisol. In excess these can cause inflammation, disrupt our circulation and contribute to chronic health problems from a weak immune system, poor sleep and weight gain, to premature ageing, skin disorders and pain.’

Over the past five years, Katie has stripped back her stacks of research (much gleaned from ancient medical tomes and travelling in remote areas of China) to produce the Hayo’u Method. The aim is to stop low-level symptoms worsening and to support other treatments for existing complaints. Visit Katie’s website hayoumethod.com for details of all the rituals and a treasure trove of health information and tips. I’m impressed.


Hayo’u is intensely practical. Long hours of driving each week leave me aching and tense. Katie showed me how to deploy her multi-purpose Body Restorer tool, across my upper chest, working from the centre out, with a dab of her special body oil. I feel my chest expanding, my shoulders subside and I breathe more freely. Katie also offers a jade Beauty Restorer de-stress face tool, recommended by YOU
Beauty Editor Sarah Barclay, to clear tension, relax muscles and soothe sore, puffy eyes.

● Buy a stainless steel Hayo’u Body Restorer, £35, and receive a free 100ml Treat-Rite De-Stress Body Oil worth £33.
● Buy a jade Hayo’u Beauty Restorer, £35, and receive a free 2.5ml sample of Treat-Rite De-Stress Face Oil.

To buy these or any Hayo’u products, visit hayoumethod.com and use the code YOU17.


For the past month, I’ve been trialling Orb Spa Vibra Soft, an innovative showerhead that gives a wonderfully generous gush of water. Surprisingly, though, it claims to use up to 45 per cent less water, owing to special patented technology. It also boasts an integral water softener to help combat dry skin and hair. After a couple of weeks I was intrigued to find that my skin was indeed softer without applying body lotion. Additionally, Orb Spa has a nubbly centre unit with a battery, which you can use at three speeds to exfoliate and massage either with the water running or take out and deploy separately. (That’s a stage too far for me but could be useful if you have more time.) At around £128, from orb-spa.com, with free delivery and batteries plus a 30-day money-back guarantee, it’s not cheap but I have thrown away my old showerhead.