Traditional Oriental Medicine corresponds the Liver-Gallbladder system to the current spring season, and posits that the Liver connects to the eyes. So it is that we bring you today’s blog post: an exercise to help protect-maintain eye health. Especially useful for those of you who regularly spend up to several hours of work/leisure time staring at a video screen from the same distance…which is, like, pretty much all of you.
Exercise: Half-Circle Eye Rolls
Purpose: to allow eye muscles fullness of expression and help maintain a healthier flow of information in neuromyofascial systems of the eyes, to reset the mind from habitual thinking and seeing patterns and allow for a fresher perspective–both literally and figuratively.
Method: healthy eyes are able to move circularly in 360 degrees. Divide into an upper 180 degree half-circle (HC) and a lower 180 degree HC. Starting from normal resting position with eyes forward, turn eyes to look over the left shoulder, then let the eyes roll following the upper HC until you are looking over the right shoulder. From here return to normal eyes-forward resting position. Perform the same movement but in reverse: turn eyes to look over right shoulder, let eyes roll following the upper HC until you are looking over the left shoulder, then return to resting position.
Proceed to do the same movements but letting the eyes roll following the lower HC.
The complete exercise, then, involves four distinct movements: upper HC one way, upper HC the other way, lower HC one way, lower HC the other way. Each movement starts and ends with the eyes and head in normal rest position looking forward.
Suggested dose: once every three to four hours; during screen work/play that has you staring at your phone/TV/monitor from the same distance for long periods, once an hour.
Feeling: at each degree of the movement, let the eyes express fully; this will give you the feeling of the muscles located in the eye socket engaging. Let the movement be smooth and intentional. Be neither too timid nor too forceful in practice.
Variation: 1) Get a little more bang for the buck by letting the neck turn to follow the eye movements. 2) For those of you familiar and/or interested in internal practices, add an additional resetting effect: conclude the exercise by–with a smiling heart–breathing light into your eyes on inhalation, then sending that light through the brain, spinal column, and peripheral nerves on exhalation. Take a few moments to dissolve the visualization before resuming activities.
Caution: probably best to skip this one with any active eye disease, headaches, neck pain, dizziness/vertigo, inner ear disorders. If you experience dizziness/vertigo only during practice, discontinue and advise your health care provider of this symptom.
Here’s a supplementary video:
Sickness in any form can be costly. Even if it doesn’t tax the wallet, we might pay the price in different ways: decreased quality of life, mental agitation, emotional stress, contributing to the suffering of the ones who love us most as they witness our own down vibes.
Some sickness is unavoidable (back pain following a car accident, being born with sickle cell anemia), some sickness is avoidable (back pain due to improper exertion, anemia borne of improper diet).
Avoidable sicknesses: shouldn’t we do our best to proactively apply ourselves to ourselves in the name of preventive wellness? Don’t we change the oil in our cars regularly for the same reason?