The New Generation Of Gua Sha

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Chinese medicine has had a real resurgence this year with plenty of experts and beauty brands taking inspiration from the ancient ritualistic approach. It goes hand-in-hand with the modern concept of self-care and desire felt by many to strike the work/life balance and switch off.

If you follow Gill’s newsletters you’ll already be well-versed in the Hayo’u method and its authentic yet practical take on Chinese medicine and more specifically the Gua Sha massage technique. The skin-boosting Beauty Restorer has become a bestseller and offers a fool-proof approach to facial massage. This autumn, Hayo’u is launching three new tools. We caught up with the founder, Katie Brindle to find out more…

The hair reviver

For some, the idea that a piece of jade stone could in anyway help boost hair growth could be a bit far-fetched. Yet the Beauty Restorer Comb has been expertly cut and chiselled to do just that. Using the same approach as the original Beauty Restorer, the comb works by boosting your circulation to drive nutrients to the follicles in your scalp.

“It also massages the acupressure points of your head, regulating the meridians (energy channels) that flow through the scalp,” says Brindle. “This is great for your overall health.”

The inspiration behind the Beauty Restorer Comb was personal for Brindle. “I inherited thin hair from my mother and grandfather then endless dieting during my teens and early 20s resulted in anything remotely resembling a luscious head of hair,” she says. “Having tried everything on the market to no avail I gave up and resorted to extensions as it was so bad.”

For those who know this feeling all too well, Brindle recommends sweeping the comb across your scalp from your forehead down to your neck. While this can be done at any time of the day, on wet or dry hair, Brindle stresses that it should be done daily for the best results.

The eye brightener

Also known as the Beauty Restorer Precision, this small paddle wand has the potential to magically brighten and smooth your eye and lip areas. “It’s really simple to use, letting you get even closer to fine lines and wrinkles, particularly around the eyes and lips,” says Brindle.

Unlike the other Hayo’u tools, you need to use small ‘flick’ movements when you use this one and use your natural facial contours as a guide. For example, trace your eye socket with small flicks to boost and lift your eye area. Like with the comb, you do need to use the Beauty Restorer Precision regularly to see any difference.

While it was designed for the eyes and lips, you can use this tool all over your body. “The fine tip means you can use it for longer and with pinpoint accuracy to reach every contour, line and wrinkle around your whole face,” says Brindle. “It can also be used on specific areas of muscular tension and joint pain to clear inflammation and stagnation.” If you spend too much time sat at a desk or on your phone, you might find it helpful in treating carpal tunnel syndrome and RSI.

The skin booster

At first glance the Beauty Restorer Lite looks exactly the same as the original. But, upon closer inspection you’ll notice that it is much slimmer and lighter. Brindle designed it for those with more delicate skin. “The older we get, the thinner and more delicate our skin gets – due to the natural loss of elastin and collagen over time, as well as hormonal changes, which weaken it,” she explains.

“Children also need a gentler tool as each layer of their skin is only around one fifth of the thickness of adults.  thinner and more delicate. Each layer of young children’s skin is around one fifth as thick as adult skin,” Brindle adds. The Beauty Restorer Lite can be used in the same way as the original tool, following the traditional Gua Sha method, to help boost circulation and reduce inflammation. It’s also particularly good at helping to clear up teenage acne and breakouts.

For more information on Hayo’u and the Gua Sha rituals, click here.

The Facial Massage Debate

Beauty Jade Tool

Facial massage has been heralded as the one stop shop for plumping, firming and smoothing skin, as well as leaving it with a radiant glow. Unsurprisingly, plenty  of skincare experts advocate the use of massage in some way to improve the quality of your skin.

Most facials incorporate some form of massage too, be it a dedicated section of the treatment or an accompanying technique when the therapist is cleansing or moisturising your skin. The reason is that massaging the skin boosts your circulation and lymphatic drainage, which in turn reduces inflammation and puffiness.

Over the years, massage has evolved into a full workout for your face with some experts claiming that facial exercises could take years off of you. The vigorous massage techniques and pummeling are believed to tone and sculpt your facial muscles, as well as boost that fresh glow. Not everyone is on board though. There are some experts who stress that strong massage can actually breakdown your skin’s collagen and cause more damage than good.

In their book You: Being Beautiful, both Dr Oz and Dr Michael F. Roizen argue that: “Exercising the facial muscles is a sure way to increase wrinkles. The repetitive movements of the skin, over the years, combined with the normal thinning of the collagen and elastin of the dermis, will eventually crack the skin, causing wrinkles.”

So, how should you approach facial massage?

While you want it to supercharge your circulation and get the blood flowing, you don’t want to be too rough with your skin. Hayo’u founder and Chinese medicine expert Katie Brindle developed the Beauty Restorer tool with this in mind. To work in harmony with traditional Chinese massage technique, the jade tool is perfectly shaped to fit into the natural curves of your face and helps you to gently but effectively increase circulation. Jade is renowned for its soothing, cooling powers as well.

How long should you massage your skin for?

It can be for as long or as short as you need. The Hayo’u method promotes one minute and longer 10 minute rituals depending on how much time you have to spare. Plenty of experts recommend using your hands and incorporating massage into simple tasks, such as cleansing. A cleansing oil or balm is the best texture to use as it encourages you to really work the formula into your skin.

Do you have to use tools?

Plenty of therapists use their hands rather than tools to massage their clients skin, so there’s no reason for you to invest in one in order to reap the benefits. However, if you’re not sure how to approach facial massage or want the cooling powers of jade, then we recommend looking into the Beauty Restorer.

How Supplements Became The Best Step In My Skincare Routine

spoon of fruit and vegetables

After my health issues a few years ago it became pretty obvious that what was happening on my skin had a lot to do with what was going on inside my body. In fact, how my skin changed was the first sign that something was wrong, although I did not realize this at the time. As my health deteriorated, my skin progressively got worse until I felt like I looked just as badly as I was feeling (which was pretty awful). The funny thing is, I remember being obsessed with fixing my skin and wasted so much time and money on products and treatments when what I needed to do was focus on my health – the root cause of my skin problems.

 

My discovery of how important supplements can be for the skin happened completely by accident. In order to avoid surgery to remove a large cyst I began researching alternative medicines and from there I learned about the different vitamins, minerals and herbal remedies that would help me naturally balance my hormones, support the digestive system and lower my stress levels. The supplements I began taking had nothing to do with the skin as far as I was concerned, but a very happy “side effect” I started to notice after a couple of months was that my skin was improving, all without having any kind of skincare routine.

 

That’s when I realized that for many of us skincare junkies out there, products can only do so much and to really care for our skin we need to look after our bodies as a whole. For me that included taking my supplements, but also eating well (things like sugar, dairy, meat and grains really upset my stomach), regular exercise, plenty of rest, less stress and more mindfulness. Basically, all the boring things we know we need to do, but often find it difficult to make time for these days. I ultimately made a complete lifestyle shift with my supplements at the centre of it all and the difference in how I felt and looked was like night and day.

 

Despite all this, once I was well enough to get back to my normal life I was quick to forget everything I had learned. Ridiculous, I know, but I think I rushed my recovery because I felt like I had wasted so much time being ill and I just wanted to move on from it all. It was a dark time for me and instead of seeing the things I had done to get well as a new way of life to stay that way, I saw them as a reminder of how sick I had been. Over the years I eventually stopped doing everything, even taking supplements. As a result, about six years later I am dealing with the same issue again, which brings me to my current round of supplement therapy.

 

I thought it was important to finally share my experiences with supplements and talk about my current journey because I know that in general most people are quite skeptical of them and I was too. Even after I had seen how well they had worked for me I still doubted if they had really had an effect. I wondered if they were just giving me “expensive pee”, but after tracking my health and skin with supplements alone, only using skincare products and just exercise and healthy eating, as well as different combinations of these things, I know that supplements make a difference for me and that they are worth trying.

 

Currently I am focusing on reducing inflammation, repairing my gut and balancing my hormones. As I have said many times, I believe inflammation is the root cause of pretty much every issue with the body and skin and in my experience it affects and is linked to my digestive and reproductive health. I am also working on improving cellular waste/toxin removal, which I hope will help my issue resolve itself without any surgical intervention. As for my skin, the biggest concerns I am trying to address are dullness, hyperpigmentation and inflammation, which the supplements I am taking have already begun to help with.

 

Even though supplements are very personal and it’s important to tailor them to your own specific needs and issues, there are a few that I think pretty much everyone could benefit from for overall health and good skin. The main supplement that I have felt and seen the most improvement from are digestive enzymes/probiotics. These are the staples in my supplement regime and sort of form the basis for general good health because without proper gut function you’ll likely not be able to absorb and reap the full benefits of any vitamins you take, as well as the food you are eating. Not only that, more and more research and studies are coming out that show just how important it is to look after our gut and many issues, especially with the skin, could be a result of conditions like leaky gut (Shabir has written about that more here) or gut bacteria related food sensitivities. 

 

Once you have taken care of your gut you can move on to tackling specific issues and even when it comes to the skin there is pretty much a supplement for everything. If inflammation (internal and/or external) or acne (especially cystic) is a chronic issue for you then try Omega 3. It has worked really well for me over the years and helped reduce the size and frequency of the cystic acne I was getting the first time I was ill. Another good supplement for the skin is zinc, which helped my blemishes heal quicker by improving wound healing and boosting my immune system.

 

If like me pigmentation or dullness is an issue then check out Glutathione, which not only works to reduce melanin production, but also supports the liver and kidneys (also great for the skin). If you find that your skin is affected by your menstrual cycle then try Agnus Castus, which has worked wonders for me and many of my female family members and friends. Stress management is also extremely important for your skin and overall health. If you find you frequently suffer from feeling anxious, low mood or mood swings then something like Rhiodola Rosea can help reduce the levels of cortisol in the body. This hormone affects how we respond to stress, but it also impacts our skin, which is why we often get blemishes during stressful times.

 

All these supplements have been written about extensively on here by the extremely knowledgeable and incredibly helpful Shabir and I encourage you to read up on any issue you are having because it’s likely you will find a way to deal with them through supplement therapy like I did. As many of you will know, I found my way to Victoria Health thanks to googling alternative ways to help with my cyst and the supplements I bought as a result of reading Shabir’s articles were why I was able to get well without conventional medicine or surgery.

 

I know that taking supplements probably seems less exciting and more of a hassle than using a face mask or getting a facial, but for me (and I am sure many of you), what is happening on my skin is just a symptom of something else going on in my body. Skincare products can help a lot, but only to a point and what I have found is that by taking a 360 approach to my health and including supplements as part of my skincare routine my skin is way more calm and balanced, even when I barely use anything on it like I have been for the past few weeks.

 

Of course, like everything (but especially all things beauty/skin related) supplements are extremely personal and there is no one magic pill that will cure everything, nor is there one perfect regime that will work for everyone. It’s all about what your body needs and the right combination and dosage to get the best results. Even so, I truly believe that if you are dealing with persistent health or skin issues then supplements could be worth investing in over an expensive serum or “miracle” cream.

 

Being that this is a health and wellness platform, I know a vast majority of VH readers are dedicated supplement users, but if you are a newbie then there are some guidelines that can help. First and foremost, there are many factors that go in to what supplements to take (age, sex, lifestyle, medication, allergies, contradictions etc), so it is very important that you do as much research as possible and consult your doctor. Shabir has written thousands of articles and those are a great place to start. The first time I discovered them I was reading until the sun came up and it was the first time I felt truly empowered in my illness.

 

Next, like skincare it’s all about finding what works for you and that also includes how the supplements will be administered. I have found that I pretty much hate the feeling of swallowing pills or capsules and have now focused on liquid/spray supplements from brands like Biocare, BetterYou and LivOn Labs in my regime. By doing this I now actually enjoy taking my supplements and again like with skincare products, great ingredients can only work if you actually use them. 

 

Not only that, in the same way that you have to stay consistent with your skincare products to see the best results, the same goes for your supplements. I usually start to feel a difference within a month (what my period is like is generally a good indicator) and see results around the 10-12 week mark. I would also recommend starting slowly (just like you wouldn’t start using too many products at once) and documenting how you feel day-to-day.. Right now I am taking all the supplements mentioned and a few more that I will explain in more detail on my blog to share my journey.

 

For some of you simple changes like switching to a non-drying cleanser, or incorporating a retinol product will be all you need to see a difference in your skin, but for others the issues are more than skin deep and need to be addressed from the inside out. Sometimes our skin can act like a mirror reflecting what’s going on internally and if you find that you have the same recurring issues or can never quite get a handle on your skin then incorporating supplements could be the best step your skincare routine has been missing out on.

 

How To Deal With Emotional Stress

sand yin yang

Amongst all the self-help books clamouring to make you happier and banish negativity, Chinese wisdom is a lone voice of dissent. Because if you listen, it will tell you that it’s not natural, healthy, or even desirable to always be happy. It’s not only ok to be sad, or angry – it’s actually healthy. Chinese wisdom gently advises that all emotions are healthy for us and simply part of the tapestry of life. It’s too much emotion – of any kind – that is bad for our health. 

The Chinese way considers wild emotion to be addictive, distracting and bad for our health. Huge value is placed on peace, quiet joy, mindfulness and contentment. Read More…