With increased screen time and computer use, patients are noticing eye strain and headaches. Acupuncture is a great treatment to relax the nervous system and relax facial and neck muscles to counter the effects of computer use. We can also prescribe Chinese herbal treatments that can help.
Here are some lifestyle practices to integrate into your day:
-Eye rest: rest your eyes at regular intervals by taking your eyes off of the screen and look across the room. Gently and slowly scan your eyes back and forth across the room and up and down.
-Eye blinking: Notice if your eyes are dry when looking at a screen for a long time. If so, increase blinking to help lubricate the eyes. If that’s not enough, gentle eye drops can be helpful.
-Qigong for the eyes: Rub the palms of your hands together until the friction creates heat. Place the palms over the eyes and take some deep breaths. You will feel the warmth of your hands which can relax the muscles around your eyes. You can repeat this a couple of times.
-In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we recommend resting the eyes for 15 minutes between the hours of 1-3PM. This is a time to close the eyes and allow your eyes to rest (with an eye pillow if that works for you, or simply a light towel so that you can block out some light). I know this may not be possible for everyone, but if you have the opportunity, give it a try.
-Biomechanist Katy Bowman offers a gentle and natural approach to “exercising” the eyes. She recommends to go outside and look at distant objects in order to increase eye movements. She suggests looking at the tops of tall trees and seeing the silhouette of birds. I think we can all benefit from going offline in our free time and looking and listening to nature, whether it’s a small city park or a nature trail.
-Katy Bowman has a great video to show proper neck and spine alignment when working on a screen. This blog post advertises the stickers she sells on her website, but watch the short video which offers a valuable demonstration of how to position your head when looking at a phone or device. https://www.nutritiousmovement.com/techneck/
Here’s another video that Katy Bowman offers for head ramping: https://vimeo.com/392299826