Here’s something we can all do for relaxation and improving vision. It’s free and it’s effective. It’s called palming and it is a health secret that dates back to 1919.
That year, a doctor named William Bates developed this method to relieve strain on the eyes and promote relaxation. Dr. Bates was an ophthalmologist who approached eye care differently than most. He focused on eye exercises and relaxation to improve vision. And, for many, this has led to weaker prescriptions.
One of his methods is palming. Originally, this was a yoga move, but Bates noticed how it helped with eyesight, so he appropriated it to his system of improving vision and relaxing. Palming calms the visual system, according to Bates. When all is dark, with no light entering the eyes, we expect to see nothing. But in eyes that are even mildly weakened, there are swirling bits of color creating images instead of darkness. This is eyestrain.
To “palm,” rub your hands together and then cover your closed eyes with the palms of your hands. This plays off a normal human instinct, and it promotes extreme relaxation. But what most of us don’t know, and what Bates surmised, was that it relieves strain as well. The warmth from your palms relaxes tense eyeballs.
Let your fingers cross over at the forehead and form your hands in a slight cup (so you don’t press the eyeball). This leaves a small gap of space where the heat and energy from your hands radiates to your eyes. In your mind, use a bit of meditative imagery and picture a peaceful scene. You want to block as much light as possible from reaching your eyes.
This is a great method for stress, by the way. Palming is meant to relax your body and your mind. When you first start, you may see colors and grey patches. The more you relax, the darker your vision will become. When the colors and images fade, your mind and body are relaxing. You won’t know perfect blackness until you get there; that is, when you are perfectly clear.
Palming will relieve tired, strained or bleary eyes. It also promotes visualization and calm. In truth, the health benefits are endless. They extend well beyond relieving eye strain to any condition caused by stress. If there were a list of all the illnesses in the world for which stress was a hidden cause, the list would be long. And since stress is all too common in North America, the simple act of palming can be a wonderful way to step back and help your body relax.