Bates Method International

What is Relaxation?

Relaxation is the term used in the Bates method to describe the free and natural response of the eye to light. It is normal and natural for the eye to see, to be interested in the world, to engage with it and respond to visual experiences. When the eye responds to light in this way it is working in accordance with its design and so is relaxed.

The relaxed eye regards the world in depth and detail, but without strain. People with normal sight experience this without trying: people who have had trouble seeing tend to apply effort in order to relax. Such attempts are of course counter-productive and learning to distinguish the difference between effort and effortlessness is the essence of the Bates Method.

It is as natural for the eye to see as it is for the mind to acquire knowledge, and any effort in either case is not only useless, but defeats the end in view.
W H Bates: Perfect Sight Without Glasses 1920 pg 106