5 Suggestions for Palming

Palming is the first thing Dr. Bates taught for vision improvement.  I’ve compiled a summary here of the ‘how to’ basics that I’ve learned along the way.

how to palm

First, warm up a bit – do anything that will get circulation to your hands and deepen your breathing.  I’ll go into this more in my next post.

position: lie down or sit. The palms of the hands lightly cover the closed eyes.  The hands don’t touch the eyes, but softly close around the eyebrow and cheekbone. The elbows should be supported comfortably.  Position the back and chest so that the breath is as free as possible.  As you palm, make very small adjustments now and then with your fingers, hands and arms.  This keeps the blood flowing and relaxes the muscles.  In this way, palming is calm, but not rigid.

5 suggestions for palming

This week’s book club is the April 1927 Demonstrate: Palming article.  this article is not on central-fixation.com.  Clark Night offers a very low cost digital version of the Better Eyesight magazines.  I will summarize the points of the article here, mixed in with my own suggestions:

1.  When palming is successful the visual field is dark.  After palming the vision is improved.  If your vision is not improved after palming, then use some suggestions here to change the way you palm.  If it still doesn’t work for you, then don’t do it.  There are many more relaxation techniques that Dr. Bates taught, which I also discuss on my blog.  After your vision has improved in other ways, then consider palming again.

2.  Demonstrate that remembering something imperfectly while palming does NOT improve the vision.

3.  The conclusion is then:  If you use the memory of an image while palming, remember something that comes easily and can be remembered perfectly.  Dr. Bates uses the example of a letter ‘O’, but you can use any pleasant memory  – from any of your senses.  You can always test if you did it correctly, because your vision will then be better after palming.  If not, then you know you need to do something different.

4.  Palming becomes successful by the things that are not done.  This is an important statement!  Don’t try, don’t strain to remember something, don’t try to imagine something difficult, don’t do anything! Just rest, let go.

5.  Demonstrate the improvement you gain after palming for 2 minutes.  Then palm for 5 minutes, then for 10 minutes, then for 15 minutes and so on.  Everyone has a different ‘optimum’ amount of time.  Discover what is best for you by trying out palming for different lengths of time, and at different times of day.

when to palm

In various articles, Dr. Bates wrote the following suggestions to guide his patients on how much to palm.  Note!  He never wrote all of these suggestions in one single article, I’ve simply compiled them here.  Start with one option from the following list.  Once that is a habit, add a second option.  If palming improves your vision once, then consistent practice is a great way to make that benefit permanent:

5 minutes every hour
30 minutes before sleeping
upon waking
30 minutes after practicing with the Snellen chart
before and after working

I go through phases when I’m more or less disciplined with palming.  I’ll admit, my most disciplined palming phases only last a week (with fantastic results).  So I should rather say: I usually only palm now and then.  My goal is to make it a consistent habit, like my habit of reading the Snellen chart and going for walks every day.  I’ll start with doing it consistently before and after work, that is the most realistic for me right now.


21 thoughts on “5 Suggestions for Palming

  1. Hi Sorrisi!

    This is a very well written article on palming.
    It is very important to do palming consistently (if it works for you) every day and many times a day, if it is possible. For the last few days, I didn’t had the time to palm much because I wake up without alam clock and I woke up later, giving me no time to palm and let’s say that when I come back at home from school at 8:30 pm, I don’t feel like I want to palm. So, all this to say that I didn’t had much clear flash in the last days because conditions were unfavorable and because I didn’t took the time to practice…

    Also, it’s important to remember that you should accept that some times, when you palm, it might not work and at other times it might work very well, so even if you think that palming doesn’t work, try it, try it!

    Have a nice day of improvements!

  2. Sorrisi ,
    thank you for the summary
    It really feels great each time after palming,

    but it’s hard for me to palm b4 going to bed at night since I feel too refreshed to sleep

    hope all you guys still get to sleep fast after palming!


    • Hi nako,

      it’s funny you mention it – I do feel very alive and refreshed after palming and sometimes it is hard to fall asleep because I have so much energy! Lately I’ve been palming in the morning to wake up. It’s amazing how I can feel much more refreshed after 20 minutes palming than 8 hours sleeping!

  3. I find it relaxing to palm in a dark room. I have always been doing it in a dark room and feel very relaxed. Also, I find spending time looking at the distance very good for my eyes.

    • sketch gurl – both of your suggestions are good! I also prefer palming in a dark room and looking at the far distance clears my vision as well.

  4. Hi
    About imagination…when a person has good imagination for improved eyesight, is the image as real as when the eyes are open? Is the image right their in your head or do you “see” it as if its out there as in you imagine the plant over there on the shelf where it actually is? I don’t know if that makes sense. Thanks for now.

    • Hi Zanna,

      when my imagination is good, then what I imagine is as real as if I see it. But I never get a good image by ‘trying’, it just happens. So don’t try too hard to get an image. If something comes easily, or if you enjoy thinking of an object, then do that and see if the image pops out naturally, otherwise relax by remembering something dark (that is also positive for you, like dark chocolate, or a favorite dress, or a paint color). Sometimes I imagine the room I am in being painted blacker and blacker. Also, if you find yourself dozing off, then take a more active role in paying attention to your breathing. Imagine the breath flowing all the way to your fingers and toes. When I do this right, I feel really invigorated after palming instead of sleepy.


  5. Hi Sorrisi

    I’m finally starting to get into palming, just short bursts here and there at the moment, but for the first time I am noticing how it relaxes the eyes, and occasionally it is the only thing to do when you feel your eyes straining. It’s instructive to notice how when you are palming you might feel the urge to do something else, so it’s a big help in alerting you to what’s going on in your mind and getting clued in to what you are doing, how you are letting yourself get stressed etc.

    • hi Sean, that’s great. Now that you can gain some relaxation from palming, the only thing you need to do to make the benefit permanent is be consistent with the practice. I know this is easier said than done, I don’t palm as much as I would like!

  6. And here’s a strange thing I’ve noticed. When, even after a very brief session of palming, I look up and open my eyes I find that the relaxation doesn’t ‘kick in’ for about 5 seconds – I feel a slight tingling in my eyes.

    Actually, I just tried it again there now after 1 minunte – a slight tingling immediately rising to max. intensity aftr about 5 secs. I’ll see if the pattern changes with practice.

    • Hi Sean,

      I get something like that (if I understand you correctly). Sometimes my eyesight doesn’t improve right away, but a few minutes later. I don’t get the tingling, more like a refreshing feeling.

  7. Hi Sorrisi,

    Wanted to ask whether you’ve experienced ticks in the eyes while palming, small physical sensations, like jumps, muscular probably. I get them a lot while palming, and often while doing other things too, but palming triggers them the most.

    • Hi fuoco,

      I have noticed that in the past, but not anymore. It seems that during the first 5 minutes, my eyes would jump around a bit until they calmed down. Now I think they are more calm in general. Do they go away for you after a while or get worse? Pay attention to what you are thinking when your eyes are jumping around. Are there any patterns? see if calm thoughts and happy memories help the movement go away.

      did you get to see Meir Schneider after all in Israel?

      Happy new year!

  8. Happy new year!!

    I did get to meet Schneider in Israel, but it was a bit disappointing, for a number of reasons. First his price for a session with him was so high in the sky that I couldn’t afford even one. Fortunately they offered me an option to come to their training workshop they do for “healers”, so they can practice on me (free of charge for me). But I felt rather like a guinea pig there, and the women assigned to treat me had obviously much less understanding, experience and knowledge regarding the Bates method compared to me. It felt to me very mechanical; do this, now do that, he said do that so or so etc… Not my idea of the Bates method. In the beginning he told them to check my eyesight, and that was odd because I knew the chart, and I was on a good day so everything jumped in and out. He concluded I had 20/40 or close to that, which I really don’t think is true. Or at least he told them that in a couple of month I get to 20/40 and then I have to work to get 20/20. That sounds good. He then explained to the students that with a case like me in 5 sessions he solves the problem completely – again that sounds great, but what should I make of it, that I’ve been dealing with the Bates method for at least 2 years seriously now, and I’m still not a solved case….
    On the other hand at the hand of the treatment they massaged me, and he also massaged around my eyes for 2-3 minutes, and that was really amazing.
    Bottom line, I believe he can be very very helpful and special, but I don’t think I appreciate his way of passing on mechanically the exercises for better vision. But maybe I’m wrong, and maybe someday I’ll know better.

    In any case, back to palming:
    If you remember I’ve always claimed that palming doesn’t help me and even make me strain more. Something pushed me a few days ago to palm again, and since then I’ve been doing it quite often, sometimes for a bit longer and sometimes for a bit shorter, and it feels great. I feel like it’s relaxing me eyes more than anything else, and if I do it long enough the relaxation sticks afterwards for sometime, and maybe even the vision is somewhat clearer. I believe also in general I’m suffering much less from my neck in the last few days – but it’s maybe too soon to tell.
    I think it’s much like you say, in the beginning mostly I often get these tons of jumps around in my eyes, very strong physical sensations, I now believe to be release of tension, or rebalancing/reshaping/repositioning after being held in place by strain. And indeed after something like 5 minutes it can stabilize and feel more relaxed.
    I’m definitely going to keep palming more and more, I hope this is going to help me more than anything else so far.

    Happy new year!

    • Hi Fuoco, I’m sorry to hear of the disappointing guinea pig experience. I can imagine it would be awkward to be treated by teacher trainees with less experience than yourself with the method. I found the price for the private lessons with Meir excessive as well, I also did not take a lesson for him for this reason (the price of the all day workshop was actually less expensive than a one hour private lesson).

      On a more positive note, it sounds like this experience has validated your understanding of the method to yourself (does that make sense?) I had a similar experience with a Bates teacher a few months after I started, and again at Meir’s workshop – both times I realized that I already know what to do to help myself, I simply have to do it. It sounds like you are in a similar situation, especially after reading the second part of your message about palming.

      Keep going with that palming practice! After a month, perhaps your eyesight will be better than ever! The biggest mistakes I’ve made have been discovering something that helps me, and then stopping after a week or so of practicing it.


  9. Pingback: Benefits of Warm Hands « Seeing Beauty

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