Friday, February 24, 2017

Breathing and Vision Health

Your vision is related to your breathing. Your eyes are only one of your body organs, which are all related to your breathing. Optimum breathing provides oxygen to all your body organs, including your eyes.

The eye conditions are constantly changing such that they can be adversely affected by any emotional or mental stress, resulting in eyestrain that can cause vision blur. By the same token, you can significantly improve your vision if you relax your eyes completely through relaxation, which has much to do with your breathing.

Using a Relaxed Mind to Relax the Body, and then the Eyes

It is almost impossible to relax just your eyes, while the rest of your body remains tense and stressed. Total relaxation begins with the mind first, and then the rest of the body, including the eyes. Use your mind to relax your body, and then your eyes.

Diaphragm breathing is the complete breath. Consciously change your breathing pattern. Use your diaphragm to breathe (the diaphragm muscle separating your chest from your abdomen). If you place one hand on your breastbone, feeling that it is raised, with the other hand above your waist, feeling the diaphragm muscle moving up and down, then you are practicing diaphragm breathing correctly. Deep breathing with your diaphragm gives you complete breath.

This is how you do diaphragm breathing:

Sit comfortably.
Begin your slow exhalation through your nose.
Contract your abdomen to empty your lungs.
Begin your slow inhalation and simultaneously make your belly bulge out.
Continuing your slow inhalation, now, slightly contract your abdomen and simultaneously lift your chest and hold.
Continue your slow inhalation, and slowly raise your shoulders. This allows the air to enter fully your lungs to attain the complete breath.
Retain your breath with your shoulders slightly raised for a count of 5.
Very slowly exhale the air.
Repeat the process.

Learn to slowly prolong your breath, especially your exhalation. Relax your chest and diaphragm muscle, so that you can extend your exhalation, making your breathing out complete.

To prolong your exhalation, count “one-and-two-and-three” as you breathe in and breathe out. Make sure that they become balanced. Once you have mastered that, then try to make your breathing out a little longer than your breathing in.
 
Breathing is important in meditation because it is the focal point of the mind. In addition, breathing out is associated with “letting go” and “body detoxification”—essential components to relax the body and the mind.

In meditation, focus on your natural breath as it flows in and out. Notice how you inhale and exhale. You will begin to feel yourself becoming relaxed and soothed.


Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau     

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Healthy Liver for Healthy Vision

Liver Cleansing

A strong and healthy liver needs regular cleansing and detoxification. Here are some simple ways to regularly cleanse your liver:
Drink organic unsweetened apple juice daily for 2 to 3 consecutive days to initiate liver detoxification.
Eat a raw diet of only fruits and vegetables, with no dairy products, for 2 to 3 days.
Drink a mixture of organic pure olive oil (4 ounces) and equal amount of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Shake well and drink immediately before going to bed.
Drink ginger tea daily for liver and bowel cleansing: Juice one lemon, a two-inch fresh ginger root, four cloves, and one stick of cinnamon; add juice to two cups of water in a saucepan; bring to boil, and simmer for 10 - 15 minute; add a pinch of sea salt to your drinking water to alkalize it, as well as to provide important minerals and trace elements.

Enhancing Liver Health

A healthy liver filters approximately 3 pints of blood per minute, producing 1 to 1.5 quarts of bile daily.
A healthier liver gives you clear and sharp vision.

Eating raw

Eat some raw vegetables or drink fresh vegetable juice daily.
A raw diet provides you with enzymes, which are required for optimum digestion and which are easily destroyed by heat during cooking.
At least 20 to 30 percent of your diet should be raw fruits and vegetables.

Avoiding excess fat

Do not overload your liver and gall bladder with excess fatty foods, such as: animal milk (instead, drink rice milk and soymilk); foods with animal skins; deep-fried foods; full-cream dairy products; hydrogenated oils, and preserved meats.

Consuming essential fatty acids

Essential fatty acids are fats in their natural, unprocessed form, such as: Alfalfa sprouts (you can easily grow alfalfa sprouts from seeds); avocado; fish; flaxseed; pumpkin seeds; sesame seeds; and sunflower seeds.

Eating proteins

Get non-animal proteins from the grains (brown rice and oatmeal), and raw seeds and nuts.
Eat animal proteins moderately, such as eggs from free-range chickens, and lean red meats.

Eating healing foods for the liver

Eat beet, broccoli, cruciferous vegetables, garlic, ginger root, soy, and turmeric to help your liver detoxification. Include these healing foods in your diet as much as possible for optimum liver health!

Avoiding chemicals

Do not overload your liver with chemicals from supermarket foods and drinks, such as artificial sweeteners, Aspartame (in diet sodas), food colorings, food emulsifiers, and preservatives
Always read food labels before any purchase! Go organic to eliminate pesticides and other chemicals!

Avoiding constipation

A bowel movement every other day is irregular, and a bowel movement once a day is still inadequate; a bowel movement twice or three times a day is optimum.
To optimize your elimination, do the following:
Eat a fiber-rich diet.
Eat fresh sweet corn raw, or only lightly cooked. Corn is an excellent blood-cleansing fiber.
Grind a handful of almonds, alfalfa seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds. Sprinkle them in your salads, soups, and smoothies.

Re-hydrating

Re-hydrate your system with water and more fluids to avoid constipation and to enhance kidney elimination. Drink more than eight 8-oz glasses of water daily.

Intestinal hygiene

Watch out for your intestinal hygiene.
Always eat fresh. Food poisoning is due to unfriendly bacteria and organisms put in a dormant state by food preservatives.
Do not reheat your food more than twice.
Do not eat while you are stressed: stress induces indigestion and bloating, because your blood flow is directed away from your intestines and liver.
Avoid fast foods and takeout foods as much as possible.
Always wash hands before preparing your food.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, February 17, 2017

Vision and Lifestyle

The liver is called “liver” because it is a reflection of how well you have lived—essentially, your lifestyle. The liver is your main body organ responsible for distributing and maintaining your body’s “fuel” supply. This has a direct and indirect impact on your vision health. 

The liver plays a pivotal part in your vision health.

For centuries, Chinese doctors have used the eye conditions to diagnose different diseases: aching, bloodshot, bulging, itching, watery, and yellowish eyes reflect internal disharmony or disorder, in particular, that in the liver. Therefore, the liver health is also vision health.

The Importance of the Liver

According to Chinese medicine, the eyes are “the windows” of your internal health, especially that of your liver:

Constant redness in the white of the eyes (dysfunctional circulatory and respiratory system)

Yellowish skin under the eyes (overactive liver and gallbladder)

Water-containing bags under the lower eyelids (congested digestive and excretory systems)

Lack of luster (congested liver)

The Liver Functions

The liver plays a pivotal part in your vision health. The liver serves several important functions in your body that may directly or indirectly affect your vision health:

Carbohydrate metabolism

The liver turns glucose (blood sugar) into glycogen (energy) for storage in your liver. Your glycogen controls the amount of glucose released into your bloodstream, thereby maintaining your blood sugar level. A healthy blood sugar levels prevents the development of diabetes, which impairs vision.

Fat metabolism

If you are obese, you have a much higher risk of losing your eyesight, according to the Royal National Institute for the Blind. Too much body fat is one of the causes of diabetes; too much fat may cause oxidative damage to the eye in macular degeneration.

The liver is a fat-burning organ: it not only burns fat but also pumps excess fat out of your body system. Accordingly, your liver controls your body weight. Too much fat in the abdominal area may impair your fat metabolism, turning your liver into a “fatty liver” which then becomes a fat-storing organ. A “fatty liver” is an obstacle to any attempt at weight loss, which begins at the liver.

The liver detoxifies your body by filtering out excessive waste and toxins in your body through the bile into the gut. For example, it deactivates alcohol, hormones, and medicinal drugs for better assimilation.
Alcohol and certain pharmaceutical drugs have been implicated in vision loss. Always eat a high-fiber diet to facilitate elimination in order to prevent these toxic waste products from re-circulating back to your liver! In addition, chronic constipation may damage your liver, and thus your eyes.

Storage for nutrients

The liver stores glycogen, vitamins A and D, the B complex vitamins, iron and copper.


Apart from the brain, the liver is the most important body organ that affects your vision.

(Next time, I'll talk about how to have a healthy liver.)

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, February 13, 2017

How Vision May Deteriorate

Conventional curative eye-care is damaging to the eye because it focuses on prescribing corrective eyeglasses or contacts for artificially clear sight. Unfortunately, at worst, eyeglasses or contacts do more harm to the eye; at best, they never improve vision to normal.

The explanation is that constantly wearing corrective lenses will constantly maintain the eye’s refractive error, and thus leading to the steady increase of the strength of the corrective lenses in order to maintain the same visual acuity. In other words, wearing eyeglasses or contacts only makes vision worse, and not better, because it makes you subconsciously crave for clear vision. In order to see better, you strain your eyes, and eyestrain only leads to further vision deterioration. Before long, you need another pair of corrective eyeglasses with a stronger prescription. This is how your vision goes from bad to worse. Ask yourself how many pairs of eyeglasses you have obtained for yourself over the years, with each pair having a stronger prescription than the previous one.

The truth of the matter is that corrective lenses only perpetuate the eye’s refractive errors.

They are only “crutches” for artificially clear eyesight; they do not correct poor vision.

They do not accurately reflect your eye conditions, which change constantly, from moment to moment,  according to the physical environment and your mental conditions.

They do not let your eyes adapt naturally to the mind; in other words, they disconnect the eye from the mind.

They perpetuate the refractive error of your eyes, leading to more eyestrain and ultimately stronger prescriptions.

AWARENESS: No need to go for perfect vision! Never strain your eyes in order to see better!

Poor vision leads to further vision loss and impairment, resulting in legal blindness (20 percent or less vision), which is defined as 20/200, that is, the capability of seeing within 20 feet what a person with normal vision can see within 200 feet. Legal blindness occurs to more than 10 percent of population aged between 50 to 69, and more than 70 percent aged 70 and over.

Wearing contact lenses is not any better than wearing eyeglasses. As a matter of fact, wearing contacts may have many other less-than-desirable side effects: 
  • Distortion of the cornea
  • Drying out of the eye
  • Eye infection and inflammation
  • Irritation of the eye and eyelids
  • Oxygen deprivation
  • Pain and dizziness
  • Vision Loss
Laser eye clinics are touting the risks of laser eye surgery as minimal, and testimonials of those who have undergone such a surgery attest to the success of this virtually risk-free procedure. The fact of the matter is that 10 percent of laser eye surgeries have complications, and, more importantly, the long-term consequences of the surgery still remain relatively unknown because it is a fairly new procedure on the eye.

The good news is that poor vision loss does not have to be an inevitable consequence of aging. You can successfully improve your vision at any age.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, February 10, 2017

Healthy Vision Exercises

In addition to relaxing your eyes through meditation and eye-palming exercise, it is recommended that you do the following healthy vision exercises to improve your vision as you continue to age:

The Qi Gong elephant swing

Practice the basic Qi Gong exercise to enhance circulation in the eyes.

Stand with your feet parallel, about 10 inches apart.

Gently close your eyes.

Shake your arms and legs, and roll your neck sideways, back and forth until they become soft and relaxed.

Still your mind, and breathe naturally.

Now, open your eyes.

Slowly swing your body to the right and then to the left by shifting your weight from one foot to the other and lifting the heel of each foot as you turn in a swaying motion. Let your arms hang loosely, and let your head move with your body, not by itself.

The surrounding seems to “move” in the opposite direction. Let your eyes shift naturally without fixing on anything.

Practice this exercise before going to bed and upon arising (at least 60 swinging movements per session) to relax eye muscles, and, more importantly, to correct bad fixed-eye staring habit.

The Chinese “yang” eye candle gazing technique

Practice this ancient Chinese eyesight-improvement technique to clear the whites of your eyes to sharpen vision, and to prevent eye problems.

Sit comfortably. Light a candle and place it at arm’s length and at eye level.

Gaze at the flame without blinking your eyes.

Allow tears to flow out from your eyes (they remove toxins from your body).

If need be, close your eyes for 10 seconds every now and then.

Practice it for at least 5 minutes. End your gazing session by closing your eyes and do the palming exercise for a few minutes to cool down your eyes. 

The yoga accommodative eye exercise 

Your accommodative eye muscles weaken and deteriorate with age due to lack of use. Follow the Hindu yogis eyesight-improving technique to strengthen your accommodative eye muscles so that you can see in the distance and also at close point. More importantly, they enable your eyes to easily change focus through improving the eye muscles’ flexibility

Write a few big black letters on a 2” x 3” card. Hold it at eye level and at arm’s length away. Make sure you can see the letters clearly.

Then, look at a distant object and see it clearly.

Begin, one eye at a time, looking at the black letters at close distance and then looking at a distant object, and then with both eyes.

Alternately looking at close point object and distant vision object.

As your vision improves, move the card closer to you. 

The Tibetan peripheral-vision-improvement technique 

To avoid tunnel vision, increase and improve your peripheral vision, which deteriorates with over-focusing a fixed hard gaze straight in front of you.

Hold 2 pencils, one in each hand, about 12 inches in front of your eyes.

Look straight ahead beyond the pencils, only aware of the pencils, but without looking directly at them.

Move each pencil in different directions: front to side; upward and downward; diagonally upward and downward; circling clockwise and counterclockwise. Throughout the exercise, continue to look into the distance, while noticing the pencils peripherally. 

The Egyptian black dot technique

Practice the ancient Egyptian black dot technique to reshape your distorted eyeball by making the eye muscles focus in positions in which they do not normally focus.

Draw a black dot (approximately ½ inch in diameter) on a white card (2” x 3”).

Hold the card at arm’s length in front of you.

Slowly move the card to the tip of your nose. Do not move your head. You should see only one dot; if you see two circles instead of one, move the card away from your nose until you can see the dot distinctly.

Gaze at the black dot for 30 seconds. Then, close your eyes and rest for a few seconds.

Next, raise the card between your eyebrows, move it as close as you can (make sure the dot , and gaze at the dot for another 30 seconds.

Practice this consistently, and as often as you can.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Monday, February 6, 2017

Improve Posture to Improve Vision

Vision is inter-connected with body posture. Therefore, to improve eyesight, you must also improve posture.

The explanation is that vision health is holistic health, which means it includes the health of the body, the mind, and the spirit. Eyesight is an integral part of vision. Your eyesight determines how you see the world at large; your perception is your reality. Therefore, your perception becomes the raw materials of your life experiences, which will directly or indirectly affect your physical, mental, and emotional wellness. By the same token, your physical, mental, and emotional health will have a bearing on your vision health, and hence your eyesight.

According to Dr. William Bates (1860 - 1931), the founder of natural vision improvement, poor vision is the result of eyestrain, due to mental and physical stress on the eye, and hence the distortion of the eye shape, causing nearsightedness and farsightedness. Dr. William Bates strongly believed that eye relaxation holds the key to improving vision.

But eye relaxation begins with the mind first, not the eye. The mind must be completely relaxed before it can relax the body—and then the eye, which is only one of the organs of the body.

Improve posture to relax the body and the mind, and hence the eye. After all, posture health is overall health: it affects your whole being in many different ways.

Improve posture to improve your breathing. Incorrect breathing results in compromised lung functioning, leading to inadequate oxygen intake by all body organs and tissues, and hence a host of health issues, including vision health. Improve posture to optimize breathing for vision health.

Improve posture to avoid debilitating body pain, such as neck pain, leg pain, and even headaches. In addition, an arched back exerts undue pressure on the joints and nerves, causing joint pain and rheumatism. Due to poor body posture, all the muscle groups supporting the crooked spine may become stretched and strained, causing wear and tear, resulting in lower back pain. Chronic body pain often interferes with natural sleep, which is a major factor in relaxation of the body and the mind, in particular, the eye. Therefore, it is important to improve posture for eye relaxation to improve eyesight.

To successfully improve posture, you must develop an acute awareness for good posture at all times.

Good posture does not mean "jamming your shoulders back, tucking in your tummy, and standing stiff"; this posture does not align your body, nor is it practicable in that you can maintain that position over an extended period. Good posture means that in any standing position, you body posture should be as follows:

• Your head is directly above your shoulders.

• Your chin is tucked in.

• Your ear, shoulder, and hip are in a straight line from a side view.

• Your upper back is straight, not slouched.

• Your shoulders, relaxed and straight, are flat against your back.

• Your pelvis is in a neutral position.

• Your knees are unlocked.

Be mindful not just of your standing posture, but also your sitting and sleeping posture—they all play a pivotal part in eye relaxation, which holds the key to improving eyesight.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Elephant Swing for Better Vision

Vision is the most important of all five senses. Without good vision, the quality of life is considerably compromised. Unfortunately, many seniors are faced with the problem of vision impairment as they continue to age. The good news is that you can maintain good vision throughout your life, if you have the know-how.

Qi Gong is an Oriental exercise that focuses on natural movement and relaxation. Because it is an exercise without stress and strain, you will build up your muscles naturally, including those of your eyes. Given that good vision has to do with exercising and relaxing eye muscles, the elephant swing of Qi Gong is an ideal exercise to enhance eye vision, especially for the elderly.

To perform the elephant swing, do the following:

1.    Stand with your feet parallel, about 10 inches apart.
2.    Slightly shake your arms and legs, while rolling your neck back and forth, and sideways, to loosen your nerves and muscles.
3.    Pay attention to your movements as you relax your jaw and empty your mind of thoughts.
4.    Shift your body weight from one foot to the other. Swing your body to the right and then to the left in a swaying movement by lifting the heel of each foot. Let your arms hang loosely during the swaying motion. It is important that your head moves with your body, not by itself.
5.    Breathe naturally. Open your eyes, and notice what is in front of you. Do not fix your eyes on any object in your field of vision. You will have the visual illusion that everything is “moving in the opposite direction.”
6.    Swing, see, and relax for 100 swinging movements.

The objective of the elephant swing for better vision is to train your eyes not to become fixed on anything, as well as to loosen and relax your eye muscles. Practicing the elephant swing of Qi Gong relaxes the body, the mind, and the eye. The Chinese have practiced this exercise for thousands of years.

For more information on how to improve vision and maintain vision health, visit my web page: Eyesight Correction.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © 2017 by Stephen Lau