The other day I soaked my eyes in oil.
But why in the world would I do such a kooky thing? Here it goes:
The sense organs are your window to the world.
Because you have senses you experience life. You taste, feel, see, touch and hear things. The sum total of everything you take in through the senses ultimately makes up your perception of life.
The simplest way to realize the importance of sense organs is to imagine not having one.
For today let’s stick with the example of the sense of sight. Imagine if you lost it all of a sudden. Imagine how your life would change. You wouldn’t be able to drive a car, see beautiful flowers and trees. It wouldn’t make sense to watch a movie or go to the theater. You couldn’t see the eyes of your beloved (if you have one) or your children. You’d have to learn to keep your house mega organized so you could find things, you would have to learn braille and on and on.
Our senses give us so much, yet we give back so little in return. When is the last time you did something loving for your eyes, ears or nose? Sense organs are kind of like a servant turned slave. When they are young we take them for granted, and when we get older we fret about them getting worse.
The eyes are one of those sense organs I really don’t want to live without. I love seeing things properly.
Earlier this year…
I was working on an intense project, putting my first wellness class Body Joy online. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time on the computer. I often worked late into the evenings and got up early to get the project moving forward. You can imagine, my eyes were strained big time.
I often had pressure behind my left eye, felt sort of like a headache. My brain felt foggy, cloudy and overworked. The true remedy, of course, would have been to stop whatever I was doing that caused the eyestrain. No question. But the project felt too important to compromise so I chose intentional imbalance.
Once the project was done, my eyes got better, but they didn’t just go back to being totally happy. They cried out for nourishment and rejuvenation!!! So I turned towards an ancient treatment for the eyes called Netra Basti and turned it into a home spa experience.
What is an eye oil bath?
Bathing the eyes in oil is called Netra Basti in Ayurveda. It is an ancient Ayurvedic practice where the practitioner makes a dough damn out of flour and water, shapes it like a doughnut, and seals it to the skin around the eyes of the client. The practitioner then fills lukewarm ghee (clarified butter) into the dough damn so that the eyes and eyelashes are totally covered in ghee. Yep, your eyes will be submerged.eyes oil bathing Netra Basti This is kept for 40 min while you gently open and close your eyes to allow the ghee to penetrate the eyes. It feels way nourishing and relaxing.
Why do an eye oil bath?
Well, so many reasons. In my example, above I did it to nourish my eyes and counteract the strain from screen work. And it works magically.
It soothes the nervous system. When you receive netra basti, you drop into a deep state of relaxation and when you do the body and mind have the ability to rejuvenate and heal on a deep level.
Many people develop dry eyes as they get older. Do oil bathing and you can ditch those chemically produced eyedrops you get from the pharmacy. It also counteracts drooping eyelids…. we gotta love that, makes us look younger and avoid surgery later. I have an older friend in her 90s who is very much into natural healing but decided to have that surgery because her drooping eyelids prevented her from seeing properly.
It also helps with increased pressure within the eyeball, causing a gradual loss of sight. Glaucoma bye bye.
If you prefer a quick list, here are the benefits in short:
- Soothes the nervous system
- Reduces tension in the head region and soothes migraine headaches
- Soothes dry, itchy, eyes
- Improves vision
- Increases concentration and mental acuity
- Combats eye strain from TV, computers, and smartphones
- Relieves eye socket tension twitches, and squinting
- Erases wrinkles and dark circles around the eyes. Yeah!!! Looking younger made easy.
- Helps with or prevents drooping eyelids
- Slows the natural degeneration of the eyes
- Improves refractive errors which are optical imperfections that prevent the eye from properly focusing light, causing blurred vision. The primary refractive errors are nearsightedness and farsightedness. You will know if you got it.
Seems like those are plenty of good reasons to go for it.
Getting Netra Basti from a practitioner is awesome. I can highly recommend it. If feels so nourishing, relaxing and rejuvenating on so many levels. But what if you don’t want to spend the money or there are no Ayurvedic practitioners near you that do such therapies? Do not fret, you can do a home spa version just like I did.
How to do a home spa version?
- Buy some swimming goggle from your local sporting good store. Choose a pair that feels comfortable rather than the cheapest pair.
- Prepare a soothing space where you can lie back and chill. That can be on the eyes oil bathing home spa floor or a flat surface like your bed or a massage table.
- Put on some soft music, turn down the lights, burn a candle. In short, make the space spa like.
- Fill the google with lukewarm!!!! ghee. Just warm enough so it is melted. Do not make it too hot. You will burn the delicate skin around your eyes. Besides, the eyes are a fire organ and they like to be cooled not heated.
- Press the goggles onto your face, put the strap on your head and lie back. Slowly open and close your eyes to allow the ghee to penetrate into your eyes. Relax for 20 – 30 min. Remove the google and pat the area around your eyes dry with soft tissue paper.
Best to do this in the evening or on a weekend when nothing else is going on. You won’t’ be able to see clearly for a while as the oil will coat the eyeball. Definitely, don’t read afterward, watch any type of screen or drive. And… don’t panic, it will just take a couple hours and your eyes are back to normal.
P.S. Please don’t tell me I look goofy in that picture, I know I do. Sometimes you gotta compromise your beauty for your health… temporarily that is.