FoundHer: Katie Brindle, Hayo'u
Having now hit my 40s, my body is creaking, my face crinkling. As I’ve just launched a business, I don’t have the time or money to invest in trialling hit-and-miss solutions, so I’m beyond grateful for being introduced to these two hacks (to repair the cracks).
First up: The DailyOM Fascia Miracle. I do it every evening, just 15 minutes of connective tissue stretching that seems to open stagnated channels of my body with the added bonus of blissing me out for a deep slumber.
The second shot of wisdom I’m sharing is my nightly ritual with Gua Sha. If you’ve never tried Gua Sha before, you’re in for a treat. The practise involves a facial massage tool that soothes stress and stimulates circulation, allowing an increased flow of nutrients to the skin. By sweeping the lustrous jade crystal over my face, I’m helping to clear toxins, plump and sculpt, and reduce wrinkles. It feels amazing, and I love the flush of my skin after I’ve used it.
My Gua Sha tool is by Hayo’u, a wellness platform founded by Katie Brindle, and she is the real reason I’m tapping at my keyboard today. She’s a luminous female founder with razor-sharp wit and an irresistible throaty laugh. She defies all expectation in the self-care industry: a gregarious, blonde Chinese medical practitioner whose mission is to heal us all from the inside out, and tell it like it is. “The exterior of the body – from stretch marks to saggy boobs – is a manifestation of our interior health,” Katie tells me, “If you treat your body carefully, like a Ferrari, then you can stay healthy your whole life.”
Katie’s an Insta-tonic for all that’s bad in the world right now. Watch her hilarious IG Live Japanese bathing ritual in her shower, in which she throws a bucket of iced water over her bikini-clad body, and it’s clear she’s a natural performer. Katie’s story is dramatic. She was an opera singer before suffering whiplash in a car crash that changed her voice and crushed her career. After months of pain for which she couldn’t afford costly practitioners, she turned to body Gua Sha. It worked to heal her, and so she herself learned the practices – initially Chinese massage, reflexology and acupuncture.
Her training coincided with a second crisis, this time in her personal life. “I was crying my eyes out in bed and then I saw a book beside me by Mantak Chia called ‘The Healing Light of the Tao’. It was like an arm reached out to me,” she remembers, “I’d walked myself out of the pain through studying, and I knew I needed to get this content out there.” She began distilling the Yang Sheng concept of self-care into simple techniques that became the Hayo’u Method, inspired by the natural healing system of Chinese medicine.
All the self-care products in the Hayo’u range – from crystal restorers and body combs to bamboo tappers – are like objets d’art, but there’s nothing superficial about the practices. “In our Western medical system, the body is compartmentalised for specialists to treat, but in fact, the body is a whole – a synthesis, a symphony and a carnival of creativity. A 3 trillion cell organism that’s connected to itself, and our one-minute rituals at Hayo’u are potent self-treatment remedies,” she explains, “It’s called Hayo’u because our rituals unlock YOU.”
Katie’s knowledge flows fast; a dedicated student, she often wakes up at 4 am to squeeze in a book a day. “What I specialise in is the self-care equivalent of preventative health, with 3 basic principles. One: encourage the free flow of chi and blood around the body. Two: purge and nourish the body with good food and kind words. Three: strengthen the 5 key organs. The organs are responsible for the entire health of the body and in Chinese medicine, all the organs of your body are mapped on your face.”
Perhaps Katie’s wisest move was to begin her brand by appealing to our vanity: with beauty tools. “Yes, you will look better using the Beauty Restorer Gua Sha tools, but then you realise it’s a pleasure, too. I was prone to lines on my face from my early 30’s. My brother-in-law is an aesthetician, so when he offered me some filler I said: “Fantastic, stick it in!” Then I had some radiofrequency treatment that was like giving birth it was so painful. With these amazing Hayo’u crystals not only does it help smooth my wrinkles, but I am also engaging with my whole body while massaging my face. Beauty is not skin deep, it’s a manifestation of the body, and these practices should be as regular as brushing your teeth.”
The Hayo’u Method has grown over the last 5 years to incorporate Qigong fitness classes, many of which are taught by Katie herself. “Qigong is where spirituality, exercise and healing meet. Unlike with every other exercise I’ve tried - none of which sorted out of my weight problem – I get a lovely sculpted, defined figure from Qigong.”
People tune in to Katie – the Qigong, IGTV and even QVC – because she’s gorgeously geekish about her subject, and has an ebullience and positivity that are rare: “I have a relentless, obsessive energy that would be exhausting and detrimental if I channelled it in the wrong direction,” she admits, “but I read a lot to inspire myself, and I love helping people. I feel alive.”
Katie’s at the forefront of a new rise of the feminine: “The Dalai Lama said: ‘The World Will Be Saved by the Western Woman’. I’m an average Joanna, who came out of a car crash. If I can learn this and influence people, then there’s a rise of collective consciousness. We are all uniquely responsible to do good.” And when it comes time to transcend – not die, of course, as Chinese culture believes – and Katie leaves her body like a snakeskin, she wants the Hayo’u coffers to be completely empty: “I don’t intend to keep any money, it’s just a channel for me to be a healer. And if I’m reincarnated, I want to make sure it’s into a good world.”
THE ONE-MINUTE RITUALS
Facial Gua Sha – jade and rose crystals to stimulate the dermis to support collagen and elastin production, release tension to relax facial muscles, increase circulation to aid lymphatic flow, stimulate acupressure points, release congestion and soothe sore eyes and skin.
Body Gua Sha – a stainless steel massage tool to increase micro-circulation by 400%, help lymphatic drainage, release deep tension, aid muscle relief and recovery, clear inflammation and increase immunity.
Comb Ritual – use on the scalp to promote healthy hair, and stroke all over the body to support lymphatic drainage, ameliorate water retention, shift stubborn fat and smooth the skin of cellulite.
Precision Ritual – crystals to plump lips, reduce fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth, and tackle eyelids and eye sockets.
Bamboo Tapper – aka Pai Sha, tapping enables the free flow of circulation, clears areas of stagnation, supports lymphatic drainage and encourages the smooth flow of blood and qi around the body.