[The following is the full transcript of this video blog. Please note that this video, like all of Dr. Chiu's blog videos, features Dr. Chiu speaking extemporaneously– he is unscripted for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!]
Hey, my friends! I am Dr. Titus Chiu and this is The Modern Brain. In this video, I'll be sharing with you three simple moves to relieve eye strain and headaches from too much screen time.
Because of the current healthcare crisis that we're finding ourselves living in, many of you are spending much more time at home these days than before. And it's interesting.
Some of you I've been hearing from are actually feeling better. You have fewer symptoms, headaches, or less anxiety and stress overall, and that's wonderful.
But many of you I've been hearing from are actually feeling worse. Maybe it's because you have a lot more you need to juggle and coordinate.
Prior to this global health crisis, you just go to work, focus on that, and then come home. There are more rituals and more distinctions with your day to day schedule. Because of the shift of everything going online these days, maybe you had to readjust your schedule.
It's a lot to take on and I totally get that.
Having Headaches, Feeling Anxious, or Can't Sleep? It's the Screens.
Many of you I hear from are actually feeling worse. Maybe your headaches are worse, maybe you have more stress and anxiety and you're not sleeping well.
I found that, across the board, the number one reason for that is a lot more screen time.
Outside of just limiting the amount of screen time, there are actually other things that you can do to relieve your eye strain or headaches that you're experiencing. And so I'm going to be sharing those three things with you in this video.
The first move is the soft gaze.
When we're either doing things on a computer or other electronics, we're looking at things up close.
Our eyes have to engage and move closer together in what is called convergence. When your eyes come together, it requires a lot of brainpower, energy, and straining of your eye muscles.
By practicing soft gaze, you could go a long way towards relieving any eyestrain or headaches you're getting from too much screen time.
Look Far and Wide Every 20 Minutes
Every 20 minutes, if you're on the computer, reading something, or even watching TV, what I want you to do is take your gaze away from the computer, TV or phone. Just gaze off into the distance.
Nature scenes are the best for this. For example, if you have a window beside you with a view of a tree, that's a great place to start. Just gaze out the window at the tree and practice your soft gaze.
This move releases the strain on your eyes and allows your eyes to relax as you're staring off into space, a tree, or even a blank wall at your home.
I'm actually practicing it right now. I'm bringing my awareness to my peripheral gaze and vision. Right now, I'm looking at the camera right here, but I'm bringing my awareness to my peripheral vision. Doing this disengages your eye muscles and it creates what we call a soft gaze.
Practicing soft gaze can really be a powerful way to give not only your eye muscles a break, but also your brain. The first move to relieve eye strain and headaches from too much screen time is the soft gaze.
The second thing I recommend is acupressure.
Acupressure refers to meridian points found all throughout your body. This is based on the observations of the ancient Chinese many, many years ago in a practice that we now call acupuncture.
The great news is even if you're not trained as an acupuncturist there are things you can do by taking advantage of those meridian points. These channels of energy found throughout your body can be activated just with the tips of your fingers.
Acupressure is a great way to relieve eye strain and headaches from too much screen time.
Stimulating the Seven Major Points
If you wear glasses obviously you want to take them off.
There are seven major points surrounding your eyes as well as one on your forehead. Gently massaging these points can help relieve eye strain and headaches from too much screen time.
The best way to approach this is to take the pads of your fingers. You can either use your index finger or your middle finger and just place them along these seven points surrounding your eyes.
So there's a point right on the inside of your eyes at the bridge of your nose. Just gently press in there and do these gentle circular massages.
The pressure should be very, very light as if you're pressing on your eyeballs. That's the same amount of pressure you want to apply to these seven points.
Seven Point Walkthrough
So there's one point right here. There's another one right here. And a third point right here. And on some of these points, you can actually feel a little indentation.
This is what we call the supraorbital notch where a supraorbital nerve comes out. That's one of the ways these points actually work.
When you're pressing on these acupressure points, you're helping to relieve tension that's located in the nerves surrounding your eyes.
Another point is right over here at the tip of your eyebrows.
Again, just use gentle swirling motions, gentle massage just do what feels good to you. You might feel a little tenderness or pain and you could kind of dive a little deeper in there, but again, don't put more pressure than you would put on your eyeballs.
And then another point right here is right on the outside of your eyes. Same gentle circular massages.
You can take deep breaths as you do this, and I do recommend when you're doing just close your eyes gently.
The sixth point is right here. So if you imagine your iris right there in the center of your eyeball, you just drop right down, and right there, you'll feel another little indentation and maybe a little sensitivity.
Just gently massage that again with your eyes closed.
And finally, the seventh point is right up here, about half an inch above the top part of your eyebrows right at the center. You can just gently massage this point while taking deep breaths.
Massaging downwards like this, really gently, is a great way to help move the energy that you've released from the tension surrounding your eyes.
So that's the second way: acupressure points, located around your eyes.
Releasing Pressure from Three Major Nerves
Again, the way it works is great because you have these three major nerves that provide sensations to the skin around your eyes.
These are what we call the:
When you massage these seven acupressure points, you're helping to relieve tension in the nerves as well as improve circulation within these channels of energy found within Chinese medicine.
So there you have it. That's the second move to relieve eye strain and headaches from too much screen time.
And finally, the third way to relieve eye strain and headaches from too much screen time is palming.
Palming is a practice that was originally developed by Tibetan Yogis, and it's a fantastic way of relieving irritation on your optic nerve.
Your optic nerve is what we call Cranial Nerve 2. It’s the nerve that brings in light and brings in all your visual senses to be perceived by your brain.
Optic Nerve = Cranial Nerve 2
So for example, if you're watching me, the way you're able to see me is by the light coming into your eyes and then being perceived and transmitted to your brain by your optic nerve.
If you're on your phone all the time, or if you're on Zoom calls a lot or using a webcam, as well as just a lot of screen time or TV time, you're going to have a lot of tension built up in your optic nerve.
Palming is a fantastic way of relieving that tension. Here’s how you do it:
You start by rubbing your hands vigorously together to generate some energy. In Chinese medicine, we call that chi.
For those of you who are about my age, you might have seen Karate Kid back in the day. This is a move I got from Mr. Miyagi lol.
So you just rub your hands vigorously together and you're gonna start to feel a little bit of energy, some warmth coming.
You're going to take that energy, gently close your eyes, and then gently place the palms of your hands on your eyeballs. And you don't want to put a lot of pressure.
This is a gentle contact with the fleshy part of your palms right here onto your eyelids. Do that with your eyes closed, and take a few deep breaths in, as well as out.
This is a great move because it helps relieve irritation found in the optic nerve or Cranial Nerve 2 that processes all your visual sensations.
Activating Your Vagus Nerve
In addition to that, if you put gentle pressure on your eyeballs using the palm of your thumb, you actually activate another cranial nerve we call Cranial Nerve 10, or your vagus nerve.
This is the nerve that helps to put the brakes on your stress response.
This simple move was created by Tibetan Yogis thousands of years ago and passed down to me by Mr. Miyagi lol.
You see this simple move helps to neurologically reset your optic nerve, as well as Cranial Nerve 10 or your vagus nerve, the one that puts the brakes on your stress response.
Just do this for about 30 seconds.
Practice With a Peaceful Mind
While you're doing it, to really deepen the experience, bring your attention to the darkness that is in front of you when you have your eyes closed.
A lot of times when we close our eyes, our minds race and we are not present to the actual sensations going on.
In this case, I really encourage you to bring your awareness to the darkness. The lack of light and vision right before you really helps to reset that optic nerve.
Again, bring your awareness to the darkness here and take deep breaths for about 30 seconds.
And then when you release, just gently open your eyes again and give yourself a few seconds.
Practice that soft gaze again that we talked about, the first move to do to relieve eye strain.
Practice the soft gaze, when you open your eyes after palming. That will help bring you back to the world as you know it - the world of lights and colors and vision.
So practicing those three moves. Number one, a soft gaze.
Number two, acupressure and finally, number three, palming can be a wonderful way of relieving eye strain and headaches from too much screen time.
If you found this video helpful, please share in the comments and let me know how your experiences are trying this out.
If you know someone who's struggling right now, who's feeling more symptomatic, or is feeling stressed out, or anxious, or has a lot more headaches and just feeling overwhelmed, it could be due to the eye strain from too much screen time.
These three simple moves could be a great way for you to show your care for them. Send it to them, and it could be a game-changer for them.
When you apply these things intentionally, it could be a small practice you develop over the next few weeks and months to come, especially if you find yourself on the screen a lot more than normal.
It could be a great way of resetting your nervous system and preventing eyestrain and headaches from too much screen time.
If you want to know the exact location of those seven acupressure points then feel free to check out on my website there's a download for you, showing the seven acupressure points to help relieve eye strain, as well as more tips and tricks in terms of these three simple moves that you can go deeper with this practice.
I hope you found great value from this video and let me know in the comments how it goes for you with these three simple moves to relieve eye strain and headaches from too much screen time.
My name is Dr. Titus Chu and this is The Modern Brain, we'll see you soon.