Palming and imagination

A couple days ago I read several of the Stories from the Clinic articles and some of the Better Eyesight magazine articles.  The articles and anecdotes were very interesting and motivating.  One of the common recommendations for a variety of myopia patients was to palm several times throughout the day when away from the clinic.  Either Bates or his assistant Emily often taught the patients how to palm during their visits, and then told them to practice it several times every day.

However, the patients weren’t just instructed to cover their eyes.  Rather, they were told to imagine something pleasant, shift on a letter they had just seen from the chart, or just talk about interesting subjects with the doctor.  The patients were not supposed to over-focus on the imagined object, but just think about it in a relaxed manner.  These additional instructions to the palming were meant to further reduce the mental strain of the patients.

With this knowledge that palming should not usually be practiced by itself, I tried palming for a few minutes while shifting (in my mind) to different parts of a capital “M” I had seen on my computer screen.  When I opened my eyes, the letters on the screen were definitely clearer for a few seconds.  I used this form of palming multiple times yesterday so that I could try to keep my mental strain reduced.  Also, I tried a few times (with less success) to just remember the relaxed feeling of when I opened my eyes after palming since Emily had mentioned that that practice helped her to keep clear sight even after a stressful day.  I think that as I use the palming/imagination technique more often, I will be better able to remember how relaxed it makes me feel.

Palming has not been consistently successful in the past for clearing up my vision.  It mostly relaxed my body and, I thought, my mind but did little to improve my visual acuity.  However, it seems that perhaps I was just not adding the mental components of imagination or memory.  I will continue to palm several times throughout the day while using my imagination so that I can reduce and prevent the mental strain that is hindering my clear eyesight.


4 thoughts on “Palming and imagination

  1. dreamersight says:

    Hi — good post. This remind me of my own current focus on awareness. Palming with imagination sounds more like “being present” than palming & trying, or palming & zoning out & waiting for it to be over. (I’m not saying you do these other techniques yourself, but I have, & it’s no surprise I got little benefit from them.) Let us know how this goes for you.

  2. mark825 says:

    Yeah, I used to do those things while palming also (trying or just waiting for it to be over). I think my new perspective definitely has to do with awareness. If I keep using my imagination while palming, my mind should eventually associate the practice with relaxation and staying in the present moment.

    I hope you keep improving in your awareness also. 🙂

  3. FMR says:

    Fascinating post, Mark. You’ve gotten to the core of the matter and covered it well.

    Essentially, what you’ve described, is what the effective behavioral optometrist believes/follows every day with their patients.

    “Perhaps in the future, eye doctors and vision researchers will look back and see that Bates’ approach to vision treatment was correct all along.”

    I hope so, too, Mark. I hope so too. When I influence on vision research in the future, I will do my best to steer the research in this direction.

    • mark825 says:

      I’m guessing your comment is for my above post, not this one. Anyway, I agree that successful behavioral optometrists follow the biopsychosocial model at least to some degree.

      Furthermore, I hope that all vision research in the future, including yours, follows the biopsychosocial model of health. I don’t think any progress will be made on effective methods for improving eyesight otherwise.

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