By Ruth Cracknell
There is an effective eye exercise you can use to reduce eyestrain. It is called palming and is described below.
First of all let sunlight warm and stimulate the retinal nerves.
This is one of the best ways to secure relaxation of all sensory nerves, including sight, and to rid yourself of mental and physical strain. Everyone with defective eyesight should palm as often as possible in order to reduce fatigue and enable the eyes to see better for longer periods of time.
To palm, cover both eyes with the cupped hands, the heel of the palms resting on cheekbones, fingers crossed over the forehead. Always be careful that the palms do not touch the eyeballs. When all light is excluded, close eyes lightly, making sure there is no tightness in your eyelids, brows, or fingers.
Sit with your elbows resting comfortably on a wedge-shaped pillow on your lap. See that your spine and the back of your neck are straight and that you are comfortable and relaxed. Do not bend the head forward. If you find it necessary to lower the head to reach the palms, bend forward from the waist. Palming does little good when the body is rigid and ill at ease.
If you are in bed when you try this eye exercise, tuck a small pillow under each elbow as you lie on your back. It is possible, also, to palm at a desk or table, by resting the elbows, with or without a small pillow under them, on the flat surface before you. Be careful to maintain the straight line of neck with the spine.
When palming is entirely successful, the eyes will experience a sensation of velvety blackness, free from color, or grayness, or images. The degree of blackness indicates the degree of relaxation you have achieved. So long as a tension exists you will not see black. Some people see colors, others blue-black, others gray-black, others a dark background on which there are lighter patches.
As all light has been excluded from the eyes, these colors obviously are simply illusions. In other words, you do not really "see" them, however vivid they may appear. Palming is not so much a physical technique as a mental technique. Its success depends on your own mental habits. Your goal is to achieve complete mental relaxation, to eliminate all extraneous thoughts from your mind, not by attempting to empty the mind but by directing it.
How are you to achieve this mental relaxation? Not by trying to see black. This implies strain and effort. It is relaxation we are after, so let us forget about our eyes. After the bright light the darkness feels heavenly. Perhaps you have relaxed enough so that you feel rather drowsy. "So perfectly relaxed," you think with pleasure. But that is not the kind of relaxation we want. Our goal is not mental apathy and drowsiness but mental control and alertness. So we are going to work not merely on the physical side of palming but on the mental side as well.
While you palm, you are going to use the mind like an etching needle to etch out some mental pictures of past experience in which you had great joy and happiness. Perhaps it is a scene on a river, floating past the shore in a boat; perhaps a skiing trip, soaring down the slope of a mountain; perhaps a quiet hour in a garden, watching tufts of cloud float by and seeing masses of color.
By conjuring up the mental picture you are directing your mind to one thing; and by creating a mental picture in which there is movement, you are enabling the eyes to move naturally under the lids while you look at it.
Whatever the scene you choose to recall, do not strain to remember it. Let the picture drift through your mind. Fill in the details one by one: the twisted branch of a tree that hung over the river, the soaring motion of a bird in flight, the lovely rhythm of a child's body as it ran.
This little eye exercise will greatly benefit your eyes and relieve eyestrain.
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Saturday, July 4, 2009
By Ruth Cracknell