I would always chuckle to myself when my Mother called for volunteers to help her demonstrate muscle testing, and the biggest, burliest guy in the seminar would stand up. It was both amusing and educational to see this tiny five foot tall woman reach up and bring down an arm like a tree trunk with a swish of her hand down the central meridian and two fingers pressure on his forearm. It would give the audience a stir and bring quite an abashed look to the big man’s face. (Of course he was always greatly reassured when she ran her hand up the meridian and he could hold his arm up again!).
Growing up the daughter of Dr. Janet Goodrich (1942 – 1999), watching her teach people how to improve their eyesight and see clearly without glasses or surgery, has been a thread of inspiration in my life and is now my career as well. Kinesiology has been an important part of Janet’s eyesight improvement method since the 1970s. Janet was an acquaintance of Dr. John Thie in Pasadena, California when he first wrote ‘Touch For Health’. During that same period, Janet had expanded her studies of the Bates Method of eyesight exercises into a whole person approach to refractive error. She found muscle testing and Touch for Health to be invaluable tools in her practice.
Integrating the principles of Wilhelm Reich, John Thie, her studies in psychology and more, Janet found a way to access and alter not only the physical visual system issues, but also the emotional and energetic aspects of visual blur.
In this article I will illustrate some of the ways that, in addition to Emotional Healing and Vision Games, Janet Goodrich Method Vision Instructors use muscle testing and Touch for Health principles to strongly support the process of eyesight improvement. We will explore how the emotional issues inherent in each meridian can affect eyesight, allowing a choice of approaches to helping people shift their habits of physical tension and emotional patterns.
Before we begin, I must emphasize how sometimes language can be an obstacle to eyesight improvement. In medical and lay circles, eyes and eyesight are always expressed as being either ‘weak’ or ‘strong’. However where refractive error is present, it is in fact a case of the muscles of the eyes being too tight. This chronic tension both holds the eyeball in its elongated or shortened shape, and does not allow the flexing of the eyes necessary to accommodation (focusing at different distances).
It is when the eye muscles and visual system relax, and regain mobility, that eyesight becomes ‘stronger’. Therefore of course one of the prime goals of all vision-related activities is to assist the eyes and brain to relax and move!
The tension in the eyes and visual system is a result of stress, said Dr. William Bates back in the 1930’s. Janet found that this stress was in great part the result of past events creating emotional patterns that were locked into the physical body. This concurs with Reich’s perceptions that vision is a flow of life force. Where the body and emotions are ‘armoured’ the life force is blocked and visual acuity is lost.
There are a variety of stress elements involved, but in general myopia (short-sightedness) is related to suppressed fear, hyperopia (long-sightedness) to suppressed anger, astigmatism to suppressed pain and anger. Differences in right and left eyes can also be traced to parental issues, right of course being the father eye and left related to the mother.
Even presbyopia (‘old-age’ reading blur), while more a physical stress than emotional stress issue, has it’s thought pattern of “I’m too busy (being responsible for others) to take time for myself” (Hearing this gets a rueful chuckle out of every presbyope I meet.)
Vision improvement games always begin with some basic support activities, to get the eyes and body in their optimum state for seeing clearly. One of these activities is Self-Massage. The muscles we teach students to massage themselves, regularly and consistently, are the trapezius and neck flexors. Naturally we discuss the reflex of physical tension from these muscles in proximity to the eyes, but the issues go deeper than that.
From the emotions relating to each visual problem described above, we can see how myopes can have a lot of blockage on the kidney and spleen meridians. The myopic personality is an introverted and strongly anxious one, constantly on the guard against any mistakes or exposure to embarrassments, and dependant on the armour of their glasses against the external world. Myopes are excellent worriers, and addressing emotional statements of the spleen- positive: Assurance and confidence “I relax and do my best” and –negative: Worry “If I don’t worry I’ll die” are clearly vital to their ability to change their way of seeing. Kidney is also very important, part of the self-empowerment needed to change internal habits – positive: Decisive (Action Taking) “I love being alive” (enthusiasm and life energy flow) and –negative: Fear Phobia Procrastination “I am afraid of being alive”.
When we move onto the neck flexors, we look at the ability to be content and satisfied as necessary to the process of relaxation and self-nurturing so important to good vision. Quick saccadic movements (small vibratory movements of the eye) are required for visual clarity. If we strain to see we lose that relaxed quality of receiving visual input necessary for these fast saccades to occur. Hyperopic students can have an overabundance of extroversion and need to protect themselves from anything getting too close. Many vision students must address their issues of trust to access the stomach meridian’s –positive: Contentment “All my needs are satisfied” rather than being stuck in the –negative: Anger Discontentment Critical Disgust Greed Frustration Disappointment “My needs can never be satisfied.”
In an article in the 1988 TFH International Journal, Janet wrote: “Because I am a psychologist trained in Reich’s theories of neuroses and armouring, I have always been fascinated by the mental and emotional attitudes which become locked into the body and nervous system. It was the difficult vision students, those who don’t do the program, those who feel guilty about not doing what is good for them, that led me to working with the history that gives rise to myopia, hyperopia, turned eyes and even the supposedly inevitable old age sight or presbyopia.”
Often vision students love the idea of doing vision games but will resist and avoid doing them, or will do them with such precision and tension that they are all but useless. Thus quickly identifying and resolving the sub-conscious blocks to clear vision becomes important to help a student move these resistance’s and use the programme to its best effectiveness.
Here applied kinesiology is of great benefit to the Vision Teacher. By offering an entry point to the armour/imbalance/subconscious habit or thought pattern, kinesiology allows the student to go directly to the point of strongest blockage.
Once a key thought pattern had tested weak, Janet utilized a transmutation process which involved recalling an event with all the senses- sight, hearing, body sensations etc. Janet said, “The long-term memory aspect of the right hemisphere is closely linked to good vision. When this memory function is suppressed, sight is also suppressed.”
The transmutation process requires a conscious act of acceptance and cessation of self-judgement. By both accepting and releasing the physical/emotional crystallization, or blockage, we eliminate the built-in short-circuiting mechanism in the student, which activates on an unconscious level to sabotage the urge towards change and integration.
Eyesight is very much in the brain, its function strongly affected by sub-conscious habits and conscious thoughts, feelings and responses. Rather than attempt to immediately rebalance the body, Janet preferred to allow the whole story, with its concurrent suppressed emotions, to be expressed. Janet says “In this way the students are themselves given the responsibility to choose, reveal and transmute their own life’s experiences with as little preconceiving as possible.” Value is given to re-creation, with the therapist’s input being more of facilitation then action. The affect of this alchemy in group settings is the arousal of a resonating wave which causes many people in the group to muscle test strong for the evocative thought pattern even though only one person’s story has been recreated.
The key thought patterns which we test for in Vision Students are those which specifically block the students relaxation with and motivation towards the Vision Games and eyesight improvement principles which are most relevant to them. These include:
Word Pattern: Relevance to Vision Improvement
It’s OK to move – I can do saccadic movement encouraging vision games
It’s OK to integrate – I can use both hemispheres of my brain
I love the blur – I can accept where I am now in order to change it
I love the light – I can do Sunning Games to stimulate the retina
I love the dark – I can do Palming Games to rest the retinal cells
It’s OK to see – I don’t have to fear (and resist) what my eyes receive
It’s OK to fuse – I can use both of my eyes together
It’s OK to change – I can embrace the unknown, change my habits, choose
If a student tests weak on any of these statements then we know we must work more closely on that area, first with the emotional blocks. Then the physical blocks will respond well to the physical activities, as the student will have removed their sub-conscious resistance to taking beneficial action that will result in clear vision.
We also look at the importance of the central and governing meridians, as these of course are vital for brain and eye function. Making use of right brain learning principles and the theories of “fun makes learning stick” Janet and her team have written numerous ‘vision game songs’. One of the most popular, “the Lion Song” uses the lifting of the central meridian energy as a key movement. Each verse begins “It’s cool to be a lion” as the student brings their hand up the central meridian. Then the each verse continues with words and movements to activate stretching, yawning, swinging and deep breathing as preparation for more specific activities.
The brain, a useful item in many ways, is half the tool kit for eyesight. While the eyes receive the visual input in the form of light, this information is sent to the visual cortex for processing into useful information. The images from each eye separate into two parts, one each side of which crosses over to the opposite side of the brain for processing. (See diagram.) However this is not the only reason why we need our whole brain switched on for eyesight.
More people have become familiar with the qualities of the two sides of the brain, however our students are often surprised to discover those qualities relating specifically to eyesight. When these are discussed, it becomes very clear why myopes are switching off their right brain, as are presbyopes. Hyperopes on the other hand, switch off their left brain. The qualities in the hemispheres they do use then tend to become personality traits in these students.
Myopes are generally great at language, numbers, time, worry, judgement, and competition. They love their left brain vision qualities of close clarity, detail, and accuracy. This fits well with their distance blur, and their difficulty in imagining distance and ‘out there’ images. Of course what these students need is the music, movement, imagery, deep belly breathing, muscle relaxation, comfort with long-term memory and the ability to just ‘be’ that the right brain would give them.
Those right-brained Hyperopes are the opposite, they love to do the movement games, visualizations and wild fun activities that help restore life energy to a sluggish visual system. They love their right brain vision qualities of distance clarity, spaciousness, large movements through space and taking in ‘the big picture’. However along with their close up blur and dislike of imagining or letting things/people close to them, their ability to access those left brain qualities of control, alertness, repetition and ‘staying with it’ is hindered.
Clear vision in both eyes requires the abilities of both sides of the brain working together. For all our students whole brain integration, using the Cross-Crawl, (and repatterning and the Dennison Correction where needed,) is another one of the four preparation activities done prior to any vision games for specific problems.
Janet Goodrich Ph.D. (psychology) educated thousands of people around the world on eyesight improvement. Her two books “Natural Vision Improvement” (international bestseller) and “Help Your Child to Perfect Eyesight Without Glasses” are published in more than 7 languages. Her daughter Carina Goodrich continues her work. If you would like more information on Natural Vision Improvement products, courses or Instructor Training contact Carina on +61 7 5494 4888 or visit our website at www.JanetGoodrichMethod.com
By Carina Goodrich