Originally published August 2 2009
Natural Vision Improvement with Greg Marsh CNVT, Part I
by David Hestrin
(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 Hestrin: Can you please tell us your story of how you became a natural vision teacher
Greg Marsh: Thirty years ago I was an extremely nearsighted chemical engineer, and I came across a book about the so-called Bates Method that kind of shattered my whole world and said I could improve my eyesight naturally.
It is all about ease and relaxation
At first I didn't believe it at all, but I started trying some of the techniques and I could see that they made a difference. Unfortunately I kept trying to do everything the hard way, the wrong way. I perceived it as eye exercises and trying to whip my eyes into shape, trying to get my eyes to work harder. It took me many years to discover that I had it backwards. Instead, Natural Vision Improvement is all about ease and relaxation. When I finally worked with a couple of Natural Vision Teachers, they were able to help me understand things in a more natural way.
My prescription was so extreme it actually kept me out of military at the tail end of the Vietnam War. I flunked my physical because of my eyesight. Time passed and I improved my vision a bit. I continued "working on my eyes", the wrong way, the hard way. It took me many years to really find my way into the essential secrets of how to relax and use my eyes naturally, and to finally make real improvements in my own eyesight. Today it is a pleasure to teach others... how to apply things for themselves.
David Hestrin: So just by relaxing your muscles you can have very significant changes in your vision?
Greg Marsh: Correct. To put it in a nutshell first for someone who's reading or listening to this - just imagine your eyes feeling very tense. See if you can make them a little more tense and feel how that clogs up something in your vision. Now let that tension go a little bit. Let it go a little more... Take a nice deep breath in and let your eyes look around and feel a sense of ease. The heart of this approach is to let go of strain, to let your eyes relax and move again. If you experiment with that for a few minutes you'll probably get at least a little flicker of clearer vision.
David Hestrin: Yes! It's interesting that when I really try to relax what ends up happening is I feel that the eyes really want to move and that that seems more relaxed than holding them in one place.
Greg Marsh: Exactly. In fact Dr. Bates, the founder of this approach, said the whole problem is staring, that somehow we learned to strain and stare. If you watch a person who has absolutely clear vision you will see that their eyes are constantly moving, and if you look at someone who is very nearsighted or very farsighted, you'll see that their eyes are more fixated and stuck.
David Hestrin: I also noticed something, that picking fruit or berries is an activity that's a really good way to keep the eyes in motion and to identify colors...
Greg Marsh: That's great, I love that. Picking fruit or doing anything that keeps you moving your attention is nourishing for vision. An optometrist did a survey with hundreds of people who were very myopic (which means near-sighted) versus people with very good vision. He found that a very high proportion of the people with good vision regularly played some kind of game with a ball, and a much lower proportion of highly nearsighted people played those kinds of games.
David Hestrin: So sports and exercise are important to vision?
Greg Marsh: Yes they can be helpful, but that doesn't necessarily mean that doing something like "eye exercises" is going to help. Of course you have to do something new and different with your eyes, but it has more to do with your mind, your brain, and your whole sense of the world and participating in the world. This is where I got side-tracked initially. I put lots of effort into eye exercises, but this is not like weightlifting or body-building. It's more like, if you think of someone walking across a tightrope, and feel the sense of supreme relaxation and poise that that person has to have and how aware that person is with everything. That's more what we're looking for, to improve our eyesight and get the most out of not just our eyes but our whole visual system which includes our brain and nervous system. Really it requires relaxed, alert participation from our whole body.
David Hestrin: So what's going on physically? I have myopia - I'm near-sighted. What's actually going on with the shape of the eye and what do you see as the cause of it?
Greg Marsh: Well, as we learned in biology class and as any eye doctor will readily tell us: if we're near-sighted that means our eyeball is too long or the focal length is too short, and the visual image is not landing properly on the retina. Far-sightedness means opposite conditions, and astigmatism has another nuance going on. But what's happening physically for nearsightedness is that something has made that eyeball too long. The notion behind the Bates Method is that the muscles that normally rotate and turn the eyeball get very strained and tense.
In fact, let's make an analogy. Let's say that you've been really stressed out for several weeks or months. You're in graduate school or whatever, and you're putting a lot of strain in your neck. You notice after a while your neck really starts hurting, and you may even find yourself going to the doctor about it. Well, now imagine a similar kind of strain in your eye muscles. In the case of near-sightedness there are muscles that wrap around the top and bottom of the eye called the oblique muscles, and those muscles together can actually squeeze the eyeball and make it too long - that's Dr. Bates' model of it, the creator of the Bates Method. We've squeezed those muscles, like if you took a balloon and squeezed around the center, it would pop out and be longer at the ends. So that's the physical aspect of nearsightedness.
David Hestrin: And do the optometrists or ophthalmologists have a different explanation for why people are nearsighted or farsighted?
Greg Marsh: Mostly they do, but some optometrists are on board with the Bates method there are even a few ophthalmologists that are on board with it. Generally though, it's not going to be their paradigm. Like anything in natural healing, doctors tend to live where they live and without criticizing, they have a paradigm that works for them. What most eye doctors are going to say is that eyesight is genetic, that strain has nothing to do with it. But the Bates Method worked for me and it's worked for hundreds of people that I've worked with personally, and I get feedback from indirectly from thousands who have used my CD programs. There are other Natural Vision Teachers getting similar results, and of course some people figure it out on their own. It's all just natural principles to naturally go back toward better vision.
David Hestrin: So when I stop straining my muscles improperly then my eyes will just naturally go back to the correct shape? What do you see as the mechanism at work?
Greg Marsh: That's a great question and I have to have a little sense of mischief as we examine it. I'm a chemical engineer by training, and I did a lot of research when I was younger. And the older I get, the more I just smile about how exacting everybody wants to be about how things work. Research and science can be so seductive, we spend time researching something and get attached to our ideas and then call it "science". Frankly, much about the eyes and vision is not well understood. When you strip away the exact mechanism - whatever it really may be - the essential point is that people who involve themselves in these Natural Vision approaches do improve their eyesight.
So working backwards, how did that happen? The most obvious mechanism you can find is tight eye muscles gradually relaxing as a person practices Natural Vision techniques. But here, let me give you a more extreme and very sudden example, multiple personalities. There was an optometrist in Chicago who had a chance to evaluate a few different people with multiple personalities and found that a person who needed glasses for one personality but not another, actually showed a spontaneous change of focal length in their eyes. When their thinking pattern and related muscle tightness changed with their personality, the same person would go from having perfect vision to needing some really strong glasses.
David Hestrin: So what would an optometrist do, prescribe multiple pairs of glasses to the person?
Greg Marsh: I'd like to know that part of the story...
David Hestrin: So a person can go from needing glasses to having perfect vision?
All they needed was to feel in their own eyes that it was possible
Greg Marsh: Absolutely! Yes. In my experience anyone can improve their vision, and I've seen countless people get completely out of glasses. Sometimes a person has simply come to one of my lectures and then regained clear vision within a few days or weeks. All they needed was just to hear it was possible and to feel in their own eyes that it was possible. These quick successes tended to be with people who had perfect vision until recently, and were annoyed and skeptical about wearing these "crutches" called glasses. Others take longer to undo the habits of staring and straining to see.
For me it was a much longer process. When my glasses were the strongest I had to be two feet from the eye chart to read the biggest letter. So when people with 20/200 say they're really blind, to me that is just moderate... mine was more like 20/2000. That's like having to be 20 feet from a huge letter on a billboard to see what someone with good vision could see from a third of a mile away.
In my case, I think a lot of childhood uncertainties and fears lingered, frozen in my adult eyes. For instance, my grade school teachers in the late 1950's were far too successful in persuading me of the terror and horrific likelihood of nuclear war. The mind can create stomach ulcers, and I would say it can create blurry vision. I think my eyes tried to make me feel safer by blurring the world out there. So, the stronger the glasses, the more riddles a person may have to sort through as they improve their sight. Fortunately the Bates Method and other techniques of Natural Vision Improvement tend to encourage cleansing breathing and very deep relaxation to help thaw frozen vision, whatever may be the cause. Other practices or treatments such as yoga, meditation, massage, and chiropractic can help speed the process of relaxing the visual system.
I hope that gives people a sense that it is indeed possible to improve your vision, and a sense of why it can take weeks or months or years, depending on a person's situation. In my view it's an exciting journey of learning to relax back into a more natural, effortless state of seeing and being.
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.
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