(NaturalNews) Greg Marsh teaches Natural Vision Improvement to people worldwide, including the Bates Method. Greg came across the Bates Method when he was extremely nearsighted in his 20's. He learned that poor eyesight is a well-established part of how we "see" the world, and his progress was slow until he began to learn from other Natural Vision Teachers about the subtleties and "secrets" of regaining your vision naturally. 25-years of studying martial arts, meditation, and other natural healing approaches combined with the holistic notion of "letting go" have culminated in his creation of the Vision Improvement Center.
David: And so have you seen people get out of glasses that needed bifocals or had astigmatism issues... are these conditions healable?
Greg: Sure. Absolutely. Eye doctors are taught that the lens of the eye becomes inflexible for changing focus, and of course in their medical practices they see a steady flow of middle-aged patients who seem to prove the point. But I've seen a lot of people recover their close vision with this approach, meaning that indeed they have somehow recovered their flexibility to focus. Our society has a strong belief reading glasses or bifocals are inevitable, and I think beliefs tend to make things come true. Another factor could be that it's scary getting older, maybe we don't want to "see" up-close what is happening. But whatever factors cause it, almost anyone can get a taste of sharper close vision
from relaxing the eyes, with the Bates technique called palming, which we can talk about.
You also mention astigmatism. To Dr. Bates, all these vision problems related to different permutations of strain, tweaking and stretching the eyeball various ways. For me, astigmatism disappeared quickly when my optometrist agreed to stop correcting for it in my prescription. Try to feel what the Bates model would say is causing astigmatism. Imagine you're holding on to a rubber ball with your fingers and you're squeezing and twisting it all different directions at once. Feel how this twisting in the middle of the ball could affect the symmetry at the front of the ball. This is how the Bates Model would say the cornea (at the front of the eye
) creates astigmatism. Once again the Bates Method just aims to help all these muscles relax so the eyeball can go back to its natural shape. Dr. Bates himself was surprised at every turn of how many conditions were treatable through relaxation and restoring natural vital movement to the eyes
David: It's interesting when we connect what the facial expressions mean psychologically, like to squint or to raise an eyebrow...
Greg: Yeah, facial expressions and also you might also say body signatures. So try this on. Here's the sort-of signature posture for near-sightedness: Now, just hunker forward a bit, tighten your chest, and notice that your eyes are tightening too, and also feel how this is shrinking your world, in fact shrinking what you can see out there. And with no judgment, just realize this habitual tightness might be a reaction to psychological bumps and bruises we've had in our lives. When they relax all this tightness, people who are near-sighted might have a spontaneous memory... maybe from an event they forgot, maybe a bad experience with a teacher, or with their parents fighting when they were young... and maybe they literally or figuratively didn't want to see everything that what was happening, so they closed down a bit. And their eyes responded creatively to shrink their vision.
David: Wow. That's pretty amazing that you say that because today I was at your website and I followed the guided palming exercise and as I did that memories came up of being in grade school. It didn't come up as negative but it is something it's not very common to me if I'm not meditating; I usually don't have memories just come up spontaneously so that's pretty interesting!
Greg: Oh that's cool, David! Perhaps as you palmed and let go of strain, your eyes relaxed and you might've just mentally gone back to that time before you got glasses when your eyes were that relaxed before.
David: Yeah, you know I think that's right because the time I went back to was around 6th grade and that's when I got glasses.
David: Can you explain for the listeners what palming is?
Greg: Sure let's just do it. Let's try it. Hold up both hands and look at your palms. We'll do one palm at a time, and just put your left palm over your left eye, so that it's centered and so that it gently covers your eye and blocks all light.
David: Is it touching the eye?
Greg: Good point, not touching the eye, just your palm, gently - but fully - contacting your face all around your eye, and let your eye gently close. It's almost as if your left hand was an eye patch over your left eye. Now let your fingers sort of melt into your forehead and let your palm melt in all around the skin, all around your face, all around your eyes, and just feel already how it's starting to be relaxing as you let your hands melt in and feel your shoulders starting to drop. Now put your right hand over your right eye the same way, and probably your right fingers will cover your left fingers a bit.
Palming is very simple. It's practically magic but it's very simple. Let your right fingers and palm also start to melt into your forehead and right eye. And as you do that, notice your shoulders are letting go and dropping even more, and notice there's a sort of relaxation that's emanating from your hands into your eyes. And all around your eyes, and you can feel and you can imagine that all these muscles around your eyes that have gotten tight that have made your eyes stretched or twisted in some fashion. Now these muscles are starting to melt and you can feel your eyes or even imagine your eyes letting go. Imagining is very powerful. Imagine your eyes gently, easily returning to their natural
round shape. And as you do that you'll notice if you were holding your breath, oh wow, you're starting to breathe. So continue palming for a few minutes, five or ten or twenty minutes. And when you uncover your eyes you'll notice your vision is sharper and colors are a bit more vivid. So that's a crash course in palming.
David: Thank you. We'll let the readers do it on their own for the full time period so that we don't just give them twenty minutes of silence. Although it would be good to appreciate silence!
Greg: Another point about palming I'd like to mention. Before you palm it might be good to get a reference point, get some printed matter and put it in a range where it gets slightly blurry. And then you'll palm and notice it gets sharper afterwards. I just say that because these might be things we aren't that dialed into, and developing more awareness about how well we're seeing, and about whether we're straining - that awareness is a really powerful tool. It's what we need to take with us all day long, and not only will we find ourselves relaxing our eyes, we're going to start relaxing our whole upper body and we're going to be more efficient with our life force all day long. It's not just about eyesight.
David: That's powerful stuff.
Greg: Yeah. It's life changing for a lot of people. One of the things that's really fun is if I'm doing a workshop, and of course people are experimenting constantly about how to relax their eyes, and all of a sudden someone will literally scream. Everybody will look at them to see what happened, and they'll have this big smile on their face and they say something like, "I just saw...!!!" They clearly just saw the third row, or five rows down, or whatever on the eye chart where they couldn't even see the second one before! Their excitement is not just an intellectual excitement. It's something in their being, in their body, that has let go and it's just a very gratifying almost kind of a spiritual letting go.
David: So I read that you incorporated meditation and martial arts... it sounds like there's a really holistic approach to this... that your whole body is connected to your eye health.
Greg: Definitely. Definitely. When people first hear of Natural Vision Improvement, many of them automatically ask if it is some kind of "eye exercises". Generally I say no it is not eye exercises, because that can lead people down the wrong path, to just a more sophisticated way of straining their eyes. If people meditate, I urge them to find ways to merge meditation and palming. A lot of people can learn new insights about palming from meditation, and likewise can learn more about meditation from palming, even if they've been meditating for decades. This applies to other Natural Vision techniques as well, both movement and relaxation techniques. The movement aspect is essential, and one example is, I like to teach a very simple martial art movement: looking one direction and then unfolding to another direction and then start letting your eyes and your vision participate more deeply as you turn. It helps wake up the vision.
David: Have you found certain nutrition that makes a big impact? Are there certain foods that really improve the vision or foods that you think ought to be avoided?
Greg: Oh, absolutely for sure... When you think about it the smallest blood vessels in the whole body are in the eye, behind the retina. Those tiny blood vessels are moving in nutrients, moving out waste. Now imagine you ate a big glob of margarine and hours later it's working its way through your body. Earlier the blood was easily circulating through your eye, but now it's like sludge; it's restricted from its crucial role of delivering oxygen and nutrients. In fact one of the most important things to prevent or reverse the eye malady called macular degeneration is to avoid margarine and other processed factory fats that can clog up our circulatory system. Even butter is not so bad, since it's been around for eons, and the body knows what to do with it. So first avoid bad fats, and take time to learn what other foods may be bad for you, for instance sugar or artificial sweeteners, and maybe even wheat. Explore. Find out.
Of course any shift in your diet that goes more toward whole foods will help your body, and your eyes. There are special vision nutrients such lutein and bilberry that may be good to take in a supplemental form. It's pretty easy to find good information on the internet, and if you go to your favorite health food store they'll usually have anecdotal stories. And they'll say when people used this supplement, their floaters went away, or they've had feedback about other eye conditions that got better. Anyway, I tend to emphasize a lot more the Bates Method and the mental/physical techniques because it's harder to find good information about them. The nutritional aspect is certainly important, but it is easier to find good information about it.
David: I would think that homogenized milk might also be a problem.
Greg: I think so. I think so. Yeah, there's a whole cadre of people in the US and many other countries that are trying to make a movement back towards raw milk and it's I wouldn't even know how to go into that it's such a big question. But I have personally met so many people that their health and lives turned around, not by avoiding milk altogether, but by going to raw milk. Personally I'm very sensitive to pasteurized milk and suspect it may be problem food for many people.
David: I also found it interesting when you mentioned margarine. I thought of the food pyramid. I went to the USDA website and their sample two week diet plan and they recommend that you eat margarine every single day. I didn't know what to say.
Greg: Exactly. No comment on that. Stay away from that food pyramid!
About the authorDavid Shlomo Hestrin is the author of The "Cure" For Blur an e-book written to help people improve their eyesight naturally by improving their relaxation and enjoyment of life. He also does health and nutritional research for the Better Earth Institute.