“The eyes are the window to the soul” as the saying goes. This couldn’t be held more true in Traditional Chinese Medical theory as we look to the eyes to diagnose the quality of the shen, or spirit. Clear, bright eyes tell us the spirit is vital and strong, whereas dull eyes that lack spark suggest emotional struggles. Our eyes provide us a unique perspective into various aspects of health such as our emotional states, digestive function, and sleep quality. Keeping those soul windows sparkling requires a lifetime of maintenance.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology designates August as Children’s Eye Health & Safety Month as a way to educate the public on ways to promote healthy eyes and vision. Prevention of injury and early detection in children are essential to ensure the possibility of long-term vision health, but adults and children alike can also benefit from basic Chinese Medicine health tips that protect our peepers and keep them shining.
1) Screentime Restrictions: While all the meridians have a connection to the eyes, it is the liver that “opens in the eyes”. The vision is nourished by liver blood. Too much strain, such as from harsh light, is said to drain the liver blood. The blue light from electronics has been linked to problems like blurry vision, dry eyes, even cataracts. So whether you’re 5 or 55, set some limits on screen time. If work requires you to be on the computer for extended periods, try some blue-blocker glasses to ease the strain.
2) Diet: Goji berries, a traditional medicinal berry throughout Asia have recently gained popularity in the West for their anti-aging benefits and can be found in many health food stores. They are also considered nourishing for liver blood and famous for protecting the eyes as they are rich in antioxidants that have been shown to protect the retina of the eye. Blueberries are another berry that should be included regularly for their high antioxidant content and have been shown to improve night vision. Dark leafy greens are traditionally promoted to build liver blood, and are nutrient dense vegetables, high in Vitamin C and E, as well as carotenoids, that lower risk of eye disease.
3) Get Good Sleep: Want to know one of the best ways to prevent puffy dark circles under the eyes? Don’t slack on sleep! Nighttime is the body’s time to rest and allow the organs time for repair. Fatigue is a sign that the qi has not had the chance to replenish itself and can reveal itself outwardly as tired droopy eyes. The liver repair time is 1-3am, when we should be in deep sleep, but getting a full 7-9 hours of sleep a night is vital to restore and support our whole system.
4) Acupressure Massage: Stimulation of certain points have been shown to increase blood flow to the eyes and muscle of the eye. Some simple acupressure massage techniques can be used regularly to soothe and brighten the eyes by supplying vital energy. Using your thumbs, find the point, at the inside corner of the eyebrow just under the bone where you feel an indent. Push up and massage with a circular motion for 30 seconds. Then using the thumb and index finger, massage the bridge of the nose near the corners of the eyes. Finally, slide down with index fingers right into the depression just underneath the highest point of the cheekbones, in line with the pupils and apply gentle pressure.
In addition to these self-care tips, one of the best recommendations for bright healthy eyes is keeping a bright healthy attitude. Nourish and support your spirit so that when that shen shines through your eyes it reveals your own uniquely inspired passion for life.
Let us help you with the maintenance required for all aspects of healthy vision. Call today to book an appointment. We’ll take good care of you, your eyes and that spirit that shines through!