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MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information
THE BATES METHOD
Touch & Movement Therapies


For "Informational Use Only".
For more detailed information, contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.





  • The Bates Method Theory Description
  • History
  • Evidence & Research
  • Conventional Medical Opinion
  • Consulting A Practitioner




  • THE BATES METHOD THERAPY DESCRIPTION

    Devised at the beginning of the 20th century by Dr. William H. Bates, an American ophthalmologist, the Bates method aims to enhance eyesight without the aid of lenses or surgery. Dr. Bates argued that perfect vision was the product of perfectly relaxed eyes, unconsciously controlled, and that misuse of the eyes accounted for many vision defects. He believed that eyes could be re-educated using a series of simple exercises. Practitioners of the Bates method, who can be found in countries around the world, claim that these exercises benefit people of all ages, however good or poor their eyesight.


    MAIN USES OF THE BATES METHOD

  • All conditions for which glasses & contact lenses are prescribed, including nearsightedness and farsightedness, squints & astigmatism.
  • Coordination problems.
  • Learning difficulties.


  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Eye Disorders




    HISTORY

    The Bates method of "vision education" was developed early in the 20th century by the New York ophthalmologist Dr. William H. Bates. He believed that bad habits and tension affecting the eye muscles and optic nerves accounted for many vision defects, which could be corrected with eye exercises. Although initially dismissed by conventional practitioners, Dr. Bates's theories attracted followers in the US, Europe, and India who continued his work after his death in 1931. Among these were Margaret Darst Corbett, the American ophthalmologist, and the British writer Aldous Huxley, who claimed amazing results. Today, practitioners of various complementary therapies use the Bates method, and it is best established in the US, UK, and India.




    EVIDENCE & RESEARCH

    Most trials were carried out in the early 20th century by Dr. Bates. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the method can help to improve eyesight, but there have been no recent clinical trials.




    CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL OPINION

    Conventional medical practitioners recognize that vision involves the use of eye muscles and instinctive visual skills, and acknowledge that eye exercises may sometimes improve sight. However, since the Bates method requires a certain amount of perseverance, and improvement may not be dramatic, it is not seen as a substitute for lenses or surgery.

    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Eye Disorders Index





    CONSULTING A PRACTITIONER

    The practitioner assesses your eyesight and may suggest 6 to 10 weekly sessions. You are taught simple eye exercises, to be practiced daily. Dr. Bates argued that bad habits, such as staring, "switch off" the eyes' ability constantly to adjust and focus on an image (a process called "central fixation"). Exercises, he believed, could re-educate the eye and help achieve "optimum" central fixation. He taught patients to relax the optic nerve and eye muscles, and use the powers of memory and imagination to improve coordination between the eyes and the brain.

    Advice on breathing, relaxation, diet, and exercise may also be given, since Dr. Bates claimed that lifestyle factors could affect vision capability. Artificial light and VDT screens, which encourage staring, are thought to worsen eyesight.

    COMMON EYE PROBLEMS

    nearsightedness

    farsightedness
    An object that is seen in perfect focus is refracted by the lens on the center of the retina, the fovea centralis, where images are at their most precise.

    The eye makes constant tiny adjustments to keep the fovea trained on an image (called "central fixation"). If the eyeball is too short or too long, the image will be out of focus because it falls not on the retina, but behind it or in front of it.


    BATES EYE EXERCISES

    swinging
    SWINGING: To relax the eyes and help mobilize them, Dr. Bates recommended swaying gently from side to side with your eyes focused on a distant point. Do this 100 times daily, blinking at the left and the right as you sway. Blinking cleans and lubricates the eyes, and discourages staring, which strains the eyes.


    splashing
    SPLASHING: To stimulate circulation, splash your closed eyes with warm, then cold, water 20 times each morning. Repeat at night, but using cold water first.


    palming
    PALMING: Covering your eyes with cupped palms relaxes them, shutting out light without pressing on the eyes. Do not daydream. Listen to music or think of pleasant images while palming for 10 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day.


    focusing
    FOCUSING: To improve focusing, hole one pencil at arm's length and one 6 inches (15 cm) in front of you. Focus on one, blink, then focus on the other. Focus 10 to 12 times on one pencil, then on the other. The pencil on which you are not focusing will appear double.



    PRECAUTIONS

  • Consult a teacher if you have glaucoma or cataracts, and an ophthalmologist if your eyesight is fading.
  • Do not perform eye exercises while wearing glasses or contact lenses.





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