Do you wear glasses or lenses, suffer from other problems with your eyesight or simply want to learn how to preserve your vision as you age?
While doing our research we’ve come across an effective 100-year-old method that has helped thousands of people achieve and maintain clear vision without medical intervention. So we caught up with a leading practitioner on the topic, Certified Natural Vision Teacher, Greg Marsh to learn more. Read this inspirational interview to find out:
- What the Bates Method is and how it works.
- The main cause for virtually all eye conditions.
- Is our eyesight really expected to get worse as we age?
- Which eye conditions can be improved at home without medical intervention…
Our vision is often something we take for granted until it starts to fail us. With around 285 million people estimated to be visually impaired worldwide, surely it must be time to wonder if there’s a natural way to help us see things clearly again?
However, because glasses and contact lenses are so commonplace in today’s society, not to mention a huge industry in their own right, the very thought that we could improve our vision without glasses or medical intervention seems utterly ridiculous to so many!
But perhaps there’s a better way…
While researching natural ways of maintaining healthy eyesight we came across some prominent experts in health and wellbeing mentioning how the Bates Method helped them improve their vision. Having done further research on this fascinating topic we decided to catch up with one of the leading practitioners of the Bates Method - Greg Marsh, to find out more.
Greg is certified as a Natural Vision Teacher and Wellness Coach with over 30 years experience in this field. He’s the creator of the program, Reclaim Your Eyesight Naturally, used by thousands worldwide to help improve their vision.
After struggling with his own eyesight, Greg initially couldn’t believe that such a method was out there! He was so skeptical he actually set out to prove the Bates method wrong but was subsequently shocked at his discoveries, leading to his own abandonment of glasses and helping others on their own journeys to better vision.
This is Part 1 of our interview with Greg - where he shares his own eye-opening journey along with discussing how this incredible method works and how it can help you!
C&J: What is the Bates Method?
GREG: Dr. William H Bates was born in 1860, a year before the start of the American Civil War. He was an eye-ear-nose-throat doctor who eventually turned his full attention to the eyes, as an ophthalmologist.
He was brilliant, curious, and compassionate. Early in his practice, Bates devised a new eardrum surgery that permitted a large number of deaf people to regain their hearing. He also isolated and explored the properties of adrenaline, allowing for commercialization of this important substance.
Dr. Bates said that he had never felt good about glasses. He said he’d always felt there must be a better way. When he was teaching ophthalmology classes at New York College of physicians and surgeons (now part of Columbia University), he worked with several interested students who were nearsighted, and figured out ways to help them regain normal eyesight, so they could get rid of their glasses.
Bates then had a very public falling out with the head of the medical college, who said it was unacceptable behavior to be ridding ophthalmology students of their glasses. As you can imagine, Bates was dismissed from his teaching post.
Dr. Bates then poured his full attention into refining his approach, in a clinic setting in New York City where he worked with thousands of patients.
The heart of his approach is relaxation of the mind and the visual system. He discovered that people with perfect vision continually and easily look around and explore their world, whereas people with blurry vision tend to stare and strain to see.
These are not easy habits to change since they truly involve how we “see” the world. He was very creative, and his patients were the springboard to create and refine his techniques for eyesight improvement.
Of course his techniques follow natural principles, which the occasional person can discover on their own. However, most people seem to be drawn towards some sort of effort to make the eyes work better. This is exactly backwards and tends to fail.
Dr. Bates’ techniques are more like meditation and yoga. The most well-known Bates Method techniques are palming, swinging, and sunning. There is an endless array of other techniques that remain true to Dr. Bates’ Method and principles. The secret is to do them with enthusiasm, faith, a sense of adventure, and an engaged imagination.
C&J: What's your personal story? How did you get into this and decide to become a Bates Method teacher?
GREG: I got glasses in third grade. I can still remember the line snaking around the classroom, each of us waiting for our turn to be tested on the eye chart. When I went to the eye doctor I felt like a complete failure taking the eye exam. I felt awkward and self-conscious with glasses.
My glasses kept getting stronger. I absolutely despised them. I was so happy when I finally got contact lenses in college. I got a degree in Chemical Engineering, which seemed oddly compatible with being nearsighted.
I became more and more interested in natural health and metaphysics in my mid-20s. A co-worker told me how he had reversed diabetes naturally, and I met another person who cured cancer with a healthy diet and visualization. But I still was not ready for what greeted me in my local bookstore in Corvallis, Oregon.
Improve my eyesight without glasses? Ridiculous! I was annoyed that such a scam book was offered for sale. But I was curious, and I finally rationalized that I would buy the book so I could help expose the lie.
The author was kind and sincere, and I was hooked within the first few pages. I started doing the techniques, and indeed I was learning to see better by relaxing and moving my eyes. The biggest surprise was yet to come. I kept getting all the books I could find about the Bates Method (this was before anyone had personal computers or the Internet).
I discovered a book about the role of emotions in poor eyesight, and it pointed me to Dr. Charles Kelley, who had studied with Margaret Corbett, who was personally trained by Dr. Bates in the late 1920s. Kelly had also studied with Wilhelm Reich, who was fascinated with the way that humans block natural energy flow in their bodies, leading to unhappiness and disease.
I attended a one-week retreat offered by Dr. Kelly. It was like jumping off a cliff with no parachute, very exciting and very scary. At the end of the retreat I realized my eyesight was quite clear from a week of being immersed in the Bates Method and emotional release.
Time passed. I became more deeply interested in subtle martial arts and meditation. I did various trainings such as massage school and hypnotherapy certification. I became self-employed as a consulting engineer so that my time would be more flexible. I was getting quite a bit of practice teaching subtle martial art, which has a lot in common with learning to relax the eyes. I found myself signing up for a Bates Method teacher training program, and became a “Certified Natural Vision Teacher”.
Everyone I know who is a Bates Method teacher has had success with their own eyesight and loves sharing that experience with others. There are different titles for practical and legal reasons, but virtually all of us are Bates-centered in our approach, and deeply grateful to Dr. Bates for his discoveries. I have been teaching and certifying others for several years, with the credential of “Natural Vision Coach”.
I want to mention that most Bates Method practitioners use complimentary approaches to help clients dissolve emotions or “cellular memories” that contribute to their poor vision. These methods range from breathing techniques, to yoga, to chi gong, to Feldenkrais, and many others. My personal favorites are EFT “tapping” and guided visualization.
C&J: What eye conditions can the Bates Method help with?
GREG: Dr. Bates originally had success with nearsightedness (or shortsightedness). Before long he was having success with farsightedness, presbyopia (reading glasses), and astigmatism, and more. But it took him a while to realize, through patient successes, that his methods could also work for so-called “eye diseases” such as cataract and glaucoma.
Gradually over the years, I’ve seen people have success in most of the above mentioned areas, plus lazy eye, crossed eyes, dry eyes, and more.
The Bates Method has helped people w/ shortsightedness, “reading glasses”, crossed eyes, dry eyes & more
However it’s important to note that a very strong prescription takes a lot more creativity and persistence than a mild one. And an advanced cataract is much more challenging than catching the first hint of a cataract.
C&J: Is it normal to expect our eyesight to get worse as we age?
GREG: Dr. Bates believed that virtually all eye conditions are caused by mental strain, which translates to physical strain in the eye muscles. This strain contorts the eyeball and squeezes the incredibly tiny blood vessels within the eye, and makes it very hard for the eyes to receive necessary oxygen and nutrients. Dr. Bates said that this strain comes from thought patterns, which today we might refer to as emotions.
Virtually all eye conditions are caused by mental strain, causing physical strain in the eye muscles
Our thoughts and beliefs are so powerful! It’s amazing how many people I meet who had their up-close vision fail on the very day of their 45th or 50th birthday.
Likewise, I have interviewed many people with cataracts. When I asked them if they had a difficult loss or a hard time in the months before they were diagnosed, usually they will say something like, “Yes! It was right after my husband died”. Sometimes just that awareness will help them realize they really do want to jump back into their life again.
Although the eyes certainly do have some changes as we get older, Dr. Bates maintained that our vision has abundant checks and balances to maintain clear and vital eyesight.
C&J: Are computers responsible for worsening eyesight?
GREG: Computers are surely not ideal for our eyesight. When we sit at them for hours our eyes may not get the movement they need. We may be committing ourselves to a day of less than optimal lighting, and probably a host of other “bad things”.
However, I’ve come to believe that an even bigger problem is the attention that we put on how bad the computer is for our eyesight. It becomes law of attraction. If we obsess about how bad our computers are, we are likely attracting whatever dire outcome we are fretting about. If I am going to spend several hours tomorrow, and the next day, and many days thereafter at my computer, if it’s already a certainty, then I want to bring positive thoughts to those days.
At my workshops, we do a visualization where we close our eyes and behold our workplace setting or home computer setting, and “bless” it. We pause to appreciate all the good things that computers can do for us. We imagine ourselves unlocking our neck, looking around the computer, smiling, and being happy. This is really the Bates Method in a nutshell.
C&J: We heard the Bates Method doesn't support the wearing of eyeglasses or lenses - why is that?
GREG: Here’s a perfect analogy. Imagine that you injure your leg and the leg doctor tells you, “I’m prescribing this leg brace and I want you to wear it every waking hour”. Would your leg ever recover? Probably not, if you are unable to really use it through its full range of motion because of the brace. Full strength glasses create the same kind of roadblock for the eyes.
When Dr. Bates was younger he insisted to most patients that they “throw away” their glasses. He softened on that stance.
Today’s Bates Method teachers urge their clients to go without glasses when they can, and otherwise use a reduced prescription. Of course, a person must have at least the legal minimum of 20/40 correction for driving. In rare instances such as night driving, a person may truly require 20/20 correction to feel safe.
So, it’s a sort of “dance” to always use the lowest prescription possible. This may sound scary at first to someone with a very high prescription. However, after an initial period of “befriending the blur”, most people begin to notice for the first time how unpleasant the strain of the full strength glasses really is.
Also, many people notice wonderful side effects such as headaches disappearing, clearer thinking, and relaxation through their neck and shoulders when they stop subjecting their eyes to the full strength glasses.
Many people notice wonderful side effects such as headaches disappearing, clearer thinking, and relaxation through their neck and shoulders when they stop using full strength glasses.
Read Part 2 of this interview next week to find out:
- Whether corrective surgery is necessary.
- Some incredible case studies of people getting their vision and life back after using the Bates Method.
- How to avoid reading glasses at middle-age.
- How quickly and where you can learn the Bates Method.
About Greg Marsh
Greg Marsh is a Certified Natural Vision Teacher and Wellness Coach with over 30 years experience in this field. He has helped thousands of people improve their eyesight through his CD programs, workshops, and personal Vision Coaching.
Greg is a fun and inspiring instructor. He uses an encouraging, sincere, yet playful teaching approach. Greg has a degree in Chemical Engineering, experience in technical writing, teaching martial arts and mediation for 25 years and various alternative health approaches including massage, hypnotherapy, EFT, and EMDR.
Find out more and start improving your eyesight with Greg’s programs here: http://bettereyesightnow.com