This morning I finished reading Restoring Your Eyesight: A Taoist Approach by Doug Marsh. When I was halfway through the book I almost stopped reading it because it felt like a rehash of everything I’ve read so far (revieing fundamentals already outlined in Relearning to See by Quackenbush). But I decided to finish the book and I’m happy I did.
It is structured around the principles of Taoism and the most valuable lesson I took away is a reminder of how our vision and our entire being is a “Whole-istic” system. Every part of our being affects other systems, especially our vision. He offered some interesting insight into how many people with inner-ear problems have blurred vision (I found this interesting as these problems are prevalent in one side of my family). Also, he outlines many alternative therapies that have been used for natural vision improvement (NVI) – so in this sense it would be a good reference for knowing the names and founders of these different methods.
I enjoyed the last part of the book best as it was a treatise on the politics and science of vision care. I enjoyed reading this section because it was well researched, many good sources were referenced, and it reflects my own conclusions about the state of the scientific community. He outlines why NVI has not become mainstream and why many people are scared into not practicing NVI (intimidation by the medical/legal/scientific community) etc. This was one of my favorite quotes:
pg. 176 “NVI is commonly charged with being unscientific. (Actually anything is unscientific if scientists refuse to study it.) That’s enough to raise skeptical concerns and deter many people from taking it seriously.”
Of course we all know this and I’ve read it in other places, but I really liked how blatantly he pointed out that anything unstudied by scientists is deemed unscientific… this is so true and well put. He goes on to point out that we have been conditioned through time to rely so heavily on the findings and opinions of scientists and medical doctors that we stop relying on our own senses, experience, and opinions and solely rely on the thoughts and opinions of “the professionals”. Otis, who posts comments on this blog, has always underlined the importance of testing your visual acuity for yourself and I think he is wise to push this. If a doctor or anyone with a PhD states something, we as a whole assume it must be true. In my own life I had already begun to realize this in the last year and it has hit me like a brick wall in the last six months how many things I was taught through my life that are completely untrue — YET, they are well published and supported by medical associations, doctors, and scientists. This unsettling realization has led me to begin questioning everything I encounter and while it was extremely unsettling at first, I now feel much more control over my health and I have taken control of my own well being and no longer rely on the opinions of doctors to guide my lifestyle. This obviously extends itself to taking control of my own vision care.
Overall, I didn’t learn anything new per se about NVI from this book but found it to be a well written documentation of his opinions on NVI and it contains many good references to the many alternative NVI forms available — he mentions the Eyebody Method and the Alexander Technique, but dozens of others as well. His review made it very clear that most holistic healing methods will also help the vision system as our bodily functions are so interconnected. Throughout the book however, he does always go back to Bates himself and it reiterates the importance of Bates’ original research and experience and points out all of the new methods that have been developed since his time that compliment the Bates Method.
Overall, the book has increased my motivation for publishing my own results in a scientific journal when I finish (if it would ever be accepted); but if you’re looking for a book to guide you through NVI this is not the place to start. I think this book would be more beneficial for people partway through the process who have already read Bates’ material and “Relearning to See” by TRQ. Also, I would recommend Margeret Corbett’s book to be read before this one. However, keep in mind I have already read the “Tao Te Ching” by Lao Tzu so much of this was redundant to me. If you have never read the Tao Te Ching however, perhaps it would be insightful. It may also be interesting to read both of these together to tie together the principles of Taoism as they relate to NVI. Overall, an optimistic and motivating book that really convinces the reader that NVI works and that many forward-looking people are starting to move in this direction.