As the dirty secrets behind Westernized medicine continue to be revealed (1, 2, and 3), more people are turning towards naturopathic and traditional Eastern medicine. Personally, I put high importance on my diet and use essential oils and other natural remedies regularly.
However, I wear eyeglasses and have never given any thought to alternative treatments for my near-sightedness. Glasses have the same Band-Aid effect that pharmaceuticals do; they’re a quick fix and don’t solve the underlying problem.
We get our eyes tested on a biennial basis and trust our optometrists to administer these tests and our corrective lenses. But I don’t extend the same trust to conventional medicine doctors that I used to, so why shouldn’t I go above and beyond what my optometrist suggests and do a little research of my own?
Many people claim to have naturally healed their eyesight through a combination of mental and physical exercises. Greg Marsh, a certified natural vision coach, maintains that perfect vision can be achieved by anyone, even those who wear prescription glasses. Marsh corrected his own eyesight using a technique called the Bates Method.
What is the Bates Method?
Dr. William H. Bates, a certified ophthalmologist, designed his method to naturally correct eyesight over 100 years ago. Norman Doidge, M.D. explains in his book The Brain’s Way of Healing that it was so effective that Bates was forced out of his position at the New York Post-Graduate Medical School and his teachings were banned in New York after optometrists lobbied politicians, stating that it threatened their business model. This isn’t surprising, since we have seen this happen numerous times in the healthcare industry (source).
How the Bates Method actually works:
You have 6 muscles on the outside of your eye and if they strain too much, your vision becomes impaired. A common misconception is that when you squint, your eyesight improves, but this actually increases strain and therefore worsens it. The backbone of the Bates Method rests on faith and meditation; if you’re confident your eyesight will improve and you relax your eyes enough to remove the strain, you can correct your vision.
The most popular exercise used in the Bates Method is referred to as “palming,” the act of placing your palms on your eyelids while they’re closed shut. Beforehand, you observe your surroundings, being mindful of the clarity of your vision.
Then, you apply your palms to your eyes and allow your entire body to enter into a state of relaxation (you can lay your forehead down if this helps). You use the free flow of energy between your hands and eyelids to send love and relaxation to your eyes. You may also envision your eyes forming a natural, round shape. When you’re ready to open your eyes, you will likely experience clearer vision than you had before the exercise, even if it’s only for a brief moment.
Another common exercise is called the Bates Long Swing, whereby you simply sway your body back and forth. This helps to relax the brain and affects your thought patterns, thus having an effect on your eyes as well. This encourages movement and reduces the tendency to stare, ultimately minimizing the strain on your eyes. (source)
Lastly, Bates suggested meditating on the colours blue and black, as this mimics the effect complete darkness has on the eyes. Bihar Munger, author of Yogic Management of Common Diseases, explains that closing the eyes and envisioning blue stimulates the third eye chakra. By opening the third eye you can in turn strengthen your eyesight, as this chakra can help you discover what’s causing your visual impairment in the first place.
How To Correct Your Vision According to Tibetan Monks
Another way to naturally correct your vision is by using the Tibetan eye chart. The philosophy behind Tibetan medicine is that all beings are connected to their surrounding environment. It is believed that ailments are caused by a combination of diet and physical health, personal relationships, and climate. The Tibetan eye chart was created by Tibetan Lama monks to strengthen the optic nerves and muscles to correct vision.
How To Use The Tibetan Eye Chart
- Hang the chart on a wall or place it in front of you with the centre of the chart aligned with your nose. Then, touch the centre spot of the image with your nose.
- Without moving your head, allow your eyes to follow along the outer edges of each arm of the figure, including the dots, in a clockwise motion.
- Once finished, blink and relax your eyes.
- Repeat the exercise counterclockwise.
- Blink and relax eyes.
- Repeat as many times as desired.
- Once finished, completely relax the body and slow the breath. To aid in relaxing your eyes, engage in palming. Keep palms cupped around your eyes for at least 30 seconds (the longer, the better).
- Recommended to practice for a few minutes every morning and night.
How Vitamin A Can Improve Your Eyesight
Over the course of my childhood, my mother would constantly tell me to eat carrots to improve my eyesight. This is a common phrase heard in many households which actually has some truth to it. The body utilizes beta-carotene to make vitamin A, which helps our eyes convert light into a signal that’s transmitted to the brain, enabling us to see during poor lighting conditions.
Numerous studies have proven the correlation between increasing your intake of vitamin A and reducing your likelihood of poor vision. One study performed on pregnant women proved that by increasing your consumption of carrots, you could improve your night vision. If you have poor night vision or have difficulty seeing in general, try increasing your intake of vitamin A!
Eyesight is arguably the most important of the 5 senses because it represents the visual connection to our surrounding environment. Eyes have also been referred to as the gateway to the soul, which means they can be used as a tool to look beyond the physical world and into the spiritual. Perhaps if we have poor eyesight, this is merely the universe encouraging us to look within. Regardless of the cause of your visual impairment, I encourage you to set aside your glasses (and your reservations) and try one or more of these methods!