Thursday, 23 February 2012

Eye Massage


     As I mentioned in my first post, the martial arts can benefit all aspects of modern living – health, fitness, school, the workplace, personal relationships, and of course, self defense.
     Yesterday, I talked about ‘The Fuel for Self Defense”, the first post of many in the category of self defense. (I have another self defense post planned for tomorrow on the four main targets on an attacker’s body).
      But I mustn’t forget about the other categories. They have to be started up as well. Ideally, I’d like to write posts that alternate between different categories every day.
      Today, I’d like to touch on something very basic from the category of health – eye strain.

     It’s something that hits most of us, perhaps from spending too much time in front of a computer screen or from studying throughout the night in preparation for a 9:00 a.m. exam.
     Symptoms of eye strain can include: general fatigue, inability to concentrate, headaches, irritability, dizziness, weakened vision, double vision, blurred vision,  a burning sensation in or a  dryness of the eyes…

      The reasons may vary: overwork of the muscles of the eyes, eyes too close to the computer screen, a screen producing too much glare…and so on.

     The eye strain that ails the modern computer user also affected the archers, sentries and advance scouts in the army of Chinese emperors. A coastal lookout on watch for Japanese pirate ships in the middle of the 16th Century spent his day fixed on the glare of the ocean. When the sun finally set in the horizon, his eyes might have felt as “burnt out” as a database analyst’s at the end of a long shift.

     While on shift, Chinese sentries resorted to a few simple massages to relieve fatigue and keep their vision sharp. Here’s one they might have used –

1.       After 20 minutes of computing, relax and look away. Place one or two finger tips gently in the space between your eyes and your nose.
2.      Using gentle pressure, slowly move the tips of your fingers in a circle down and around the bottom of your eyes, then up the outside of your eyes and back in, between the tops of your eyes and your eyebrows.
3.      Circle 6 to 12 times one way, then 6 to 12 times in the other direction.
4.      Take your time. Keep your eyes closed. Inhale slowly through the nose and exhale very slowly out through the mouth.
5.      It relaxes and stretches eye muscles that have been fixed hard on a computer screen. It nourishes the eyes, helping to bring in fresh blood. It provides you with a moment of relaxation, a center of bliss, in a world that demands that you LOOK AT IT constantly.

     Martial artists tend to be very proactive when it comes to their health. If you suffer from repeated eye strain, find out why. Do a thorough analysis of your workstation (distance from the computer screen, screen glare, ambient lighting, etc.) and your work habits. Have your eyes checked.  I always tell my students: “If you experience a health problem, even the slightest, be aggressive and get to the source of the problem right away.” That too is a form of self defense!

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