I reviewed some online literature on eye massage to add to my repertoire of things to try for slowing / reversing myopia. As an acupressure layman, I found the acupressure points and techniques seemed to vary just enough from site to site to confuse me initially. Finally, I cobbled together some basics.
(Note: there are also eye exercises and acupressure points on other parts of the body that directly affect the eyes. I think I will have to review those thoroughly another time.)
My basic takeaway
- The theory is that eye massage improves the blood circulation to the eyes and relaxes the eye muscles. Tight eye muscles are understood to eventually contribute to myopia.
- Eye acupressure is practiced regularly in schools in China, but studies haven’t been conclusive about their benefits on myopia and I’m not sure that any studies could ever be conclusive. After all, how could they really know if the kids were doing the massage correctly? Plus, there are so many other factors that may also affect myopia progression.
- You have to be able to do this pretty regularly for some duration to judge whether there is any benefit to you.
- I don’t get the feeling that eye massage could slow myopia down significantly on its own but perhaps it would be helpful as a supplement to other methods like myopia control.
Acupressure points for myopia
I cross-checked the acupressure points that children were taught to use in some of the myopia and acupressure studies with some other articles that I found about acupressure for improving vision and eye health. Below are the points (and diagram of what) I found. I listed all the variations in naming that I came across:
- BL2 / Zan Zhu / Cuanzhu / 攢竹 – located on the inner end of the eyebrow
- EX-HN5 / Tai Yang / 太阳 – located on the flat sides of the temple
- BL1 / Jing Ming / 睛明 – located in the inner corner of your eyes
- ST1 / Cheng Qi / 承泣 – located directly below the pupil between the eyeball and the intraorbital ridge. A questionable source, Dr. Deborah Banker identified this as the access point for the ciliary muscle. Although her credibility is unclear, the ST1 point is indeed frequently mentioned as an important acupressure point.
- ST2 / Si Bai / 四白 – located on the depression of the infraorbital foramen below ST1, about where the nostrils begin
- Tianying / Ashi – I could only find mention of this point twice, but I included it because it was mentioned in articles that were specifically dealing with myopia. It seems to be located vertically between BL2 and BL1. It is also the first point referred to in this video by Dr. Grace Tan, whose credentials seemed legit (if you are open to TCM). The Dr. Banker article stated that this point could manipulate the superior oblique muscle which is a muscle that can cause the eye shape to change.
- Series of points covered by scraping along the eyebrow and just below the lower lash line, points which were included in both of the studies of Chinese students and also an easy to follow video of Dr. Grace Tan performing the massage:
- ST1 (see above)
- TE-23 /Sizhukong / 丝竹空 – located on the outer end of the eyebrow
- BL2 (see above)
- EX-HN4 / Yuyao / 鱼腰 – located in the middle of the eyebrow in the hollow, directly above the pupil
- GB1 / Tongziliao / 瞳子髎 – located on the outer corner of the eye
How to do acupressure on the eye points
For each of the points, there were different recommendations for what to do – it seems that you could do either a circular massage or a press and release:
- Circular motion – This is a circular kneading motion on the point with your fingers. Apply gentle pressure at the same time as kneading.
- Press and release – Press at a 90 degree angle for 10-30 seconds and slowly release. Do this for a couple of minutes for each point. If you prefer a more precise time prescription, you’ll just have to make it up as I found a range in my review of the literature.
- Scraping – Apply light pressure and sweep your fingers along your brow line and below your bottom lash line. This encompasses stimulation of multiple points around the eyes.
Research on whether eye exercise or massage can be helpful:
- https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0117552 (reduced accomodative lag, includes diagram of acupressure points used)
- https://bmccomplementmedtherapies.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6882-13-306 (includes diagram of acupressure points used)
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15676881/ (no beneficial effects found)
Identifies different eye acupressure points and talks about the specific eye problems that they may address:
Explains how to do the acupressure:
Videos that show how to do eye acupressure:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6nO4aCa2K8 (talks about points BL1, BL2, EX, SB, with good info about how to find the points and what to do)
Thoughts? More info? Better info? I’m all ears. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.