Dealing with depression

Defining Depression

Depression is the predominant mental health problem worldwide.

The symptoms include depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration.

Western medicine attributes depression to a variety of factors from genetics to biochemistry, biography and ill health. Treatment involves antidepressant drugs and psychological treatment. Depression can be reliably diagnosed and treated in primary care.

Chronic stress can lead to depression. This is because stress elevates hormones such as cortisol, and reduces levels of dopamine and serotonin. Interestingly, many of the changes in the brain during an episode of depression resemble the effects of severe, prolonged, stress.

Scientists are increasingly considering that biological links between mental health and cancer include increased inflammation in the body due to psychological stress.

How does Chinese Medicine view depression?

Chinese Medicine has a different way of looking at mental illness. Rather than viewing it as a problem of the mind, we’d see it as an illness of the body. By viewing it in this way we can explain and treat emotional issues via the physical body. We see depression as partly an issue with the liver and the lungs.

Chinese Medicine recognises that in addition to its biological function every organ has a positive and negative emotion. For example, the lungs are responsible for breath but also associated with the emotion of aspiration or grief. Depression is associated with the liver. Western medicine associates the liver with detoxification, but in Chinese medicine the emotions attached are kindness and frustration.

Our busy stressful lives can have a hugely negative impact on the lungs and liver. Stress causes fast and shallow breathing which affects lung efficiency. It also has an undeniable effect on the liver, with a ten year study recently finding a definite link between depression and liver disease.

In Chinese Medicine the lungs and liver have a close relationship. This is why taking a deep breath or exercising can help so much when you are frustrated. Depression usually presents with additional symptoms which largely relate to the emotional functioning of the heart as it becomes compromised by the stress response.

So it’s crucial to self treatment to understand how to relax the body, improve blood flow and switch off the stress response. This is why GPs and health websites will tell you to do yoga and relaxation techniques.

These recommendations completely concur with Chinese Medicine which believes that ensuring unimpeded flow of blood and Qi around the body whilst breathing in a relaxed state will help improve the symptoms of depression.  

Article about dealing with depression image - Hayo'u Method

How the Hayo’u Method can help

The Hayo’u Method is based on ancient Chinese breathing and bodywork techniques – both scientifically proven to be effective in reducing stress and inflammation, which may help you combat the effects of depression.

The Hayo’u Method works because it:

1  is designed to transform the stress response as it happens.

2 engages the parasympathetic response as soon as stress hits.

3 rectifies disrupted circulation.

4. supports the organs to maintain good health

The Rescue Breath Ritual

This simple technique is the first defence against stress and will immediately clear stagnation in your lungs. Proper breathing restores the parasympathetic nervous system, calms the mind and heart rate, deeply oxygenates the blood and overrides any emotional negativity.  

The vagus nerve is the most important element of the parasympathetic nervous system (the one that calms you down when you are stressed). The vagus nerve ends your body’s fight-or-flight response once a stress has passed.

The vagus nerve acts as the mind-body connection, and it is the cabling behind your heart’s emotions and gut instincts. You cannot control this part of the nervous system on demand, but you can indirectly stimulate your vagus nerve with your breath.

Learn the Rescue Breath Ritual here.

The Reset Ritual

It’s well known that exercise can help with depression. But you aren’t always in the position to exercise, or often there’s a lack of time or inclination.

This simple technique clears stagnation, which we believe causes depression. Regular physical activity also decreases your risk of serious chronic illnesses that can lead to depressed mood.

Shaking regulates your circulation, which is essential for strong shen. Drumming, especially over your heart and chest area, will help unblock any stagnation and ensure good flow of Qi and blood. The twist is also great for increasing blood flow into the area, which is said to improve liver function and should support your digestion and gut.

Learn the Reset Ritual here.

Body Restorer Ritual

Historically, the Chinese have relied on Gua Sha to relieve any kind of pain and stagnation in the body. One of the main reasons that Gua Sha is so effective is because the action exponentially increases circulation in the body.

Focussing Gua Sha on your chest will open up the lungs by boosting blood flow, supplying oxygen and nutrients to the area. Then Gua Sha across your lower back to release stagnation in liver. Furthermore, we’d recommend use of our Hayo’u Body oil for the lubrication necessary for Gua Sha. The combination of natural ingredients – such as Lotus flower and Frankincense – have been specifically selected to calm the Shen and relax the body.

Learn the Body Restorer Ritual here.

Mineral Bathing

Bathing is used the world over to relieve stress, simply because hot water relaxes your muscles. Relaxed muscles send a message to the alarm centres in the brain that there’s no threat, thus immediately engaging your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS).  

Soaking in hot water activates blood and energy throughout the body. So add Hayo’u bath minerals to charge up your bath with our magnesium rich blend of salts and minerals. Magnesium helps the brain produce neurotransmitters that reduce stress.

We advocate combining your bath with an extension of our breath technique. The combination of water, the Hayo’u Rescue Breath Ritual and our specially formulated ingredients will enable you to simultaneously expel the toxicity of stress from the body’s physical, emotional and energetic levels.

Find our Mineral Bath here

Disclaimer: If you are suffering from any illness including Depression, we advise you to be under the care of your GP. This information is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions.

Gua Sha is a treatment designed to relieve muscular pain and tension and improve circulation. Results vary according to age, strength of body, skin type and medical conditions. If you are under the age of 16 and over the age of 60 or suffering specific medical conditions we do not recommend using the Body Restorer™. At no point should treatment feel painful. Always start gently, observing the reaction to your skin and proceed with caution. If in any doubt, contact us at or seek medical advice.

Supporting studies:

Breathing, inflammation and the vagus nerve

Assessment of the Effects of Pranayama/Alternate Nostril Breathing on the Parasympathetic Nervous System in Young Adults.

Anant Narayan Sinha – Published 2013 in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research

Gua Sha and microcirculation

Effects of Gua Sha on Heart Rate Variability in Healthy Male Volunteers under Normal Condition and Weightlifters after Weightlifting Training Sessions

Gua Sha therapy could facilitate the parasympathetic nervous activity and modulate the balance between parasympathetic and sympathetic activities

Real People. Real Results