Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The eyes have it.....

This also follows on from Sunday's seminar.

One of the things I had read about concerning zhealth was that it makes a big thing of eye movements, the visual system.

We spoke about the nervous system acting in terms of THREAT or NO THREAT. One of the ideas of the threat state was that the body will seek to fold in on itself - to go into a foetal position to some degree. As Rannoch said on sunday - you try to protect the soft sensitive parts with the hard bony bits. You curl up and bring your arms in front of you as you flinch, protecting your face, gut and genitals with your shoulders and arms.

In that post on Sunday I also talked about Rif / Chek's take on this:

  • going foetal is basically about flexion - everything flexes: biceps, abs, hamstings, pecs.
  • The opposite is going erect - the extensors work - the quads, the lats, the triceps, the lower back, the glutes. It is about extension.

Now another thing that mc mentioned on Sunday was about the impact of your eye direction, where you are looking. She goes into this more in a post today

eye movements connect with actions: up for extension; down for flexion.

If you are performing an extension - a push, a press for example - you will be stronger if your eyes - not your head - look up. If you are flexing - a pull, curl, row etc - you will be stronger if your eyes look down.

Try it for yourself, experiment. Strangely it works

Think about it in terms of posture. When people are threatened and they start to curl up - where do their eyes go? They look down, they look submissive, it accompanies flexion..... Confident, fully extended people are look up. The actions naturally go together. When you go with what is natural, you are reinforcing things perhaps?

Just some rambling but it all seems consistent.


BCR said...

Um... Evidence? Tried it double blinded? (That's not even that hard to do in this case)

If you tell someone this is the case, and then "test" it, in front of other people who have been told it is the case... Guess what outcome you're going to have?

I don't want to be labeled as anti z-health, but I really feel that it's claiming a lot without much (any?) evidence.

Chris said...

Placebo. Interesting thought

Anonymous said...

I'm curious BCR. Are you questioning the role of vision and the eyes on movement patterns or the extent to which ZH has emphasied their role?

Mike T Nelson said...


You can do a similar experiment yourself and/or on other athletes. While not double blinded, you can have them do a lift with eyes or without.

Most of the time (not all), I find eye movement to help. Again, it is individual also.

Rock on
Mike T Nelson PhD(c)
Extreme Human Performance

BCR said...

Anonymous - I'm questioning the way z-health states it's concepts as facts without any evidence.

As with some of the other things, i think that this could be a very good coaching cue, even if it has no direct physiological impact. If you tell someone to look up/down with their eyes, they will keep their head in a more neutral position as a side effect.

Mike - I could also do a double blinded test with other athletes very simply.

Get 2 people.
Give person 1 some instructions (maybe written) which explain the test to be done (without explaining the theory or the expected outcome or any of that).
Have them perform it on person 2.
Have them note the results.

I'm just wondering if this has been done. By anyone?

Mike T Nelson said...


Yes, you are correct and this has been done informally at the I Phase cert.

As part of it, everyone tests the other persons eye movements without knowing what the outcome was before.

It seems to match quite well.

Is this a formal academic study, nope. Not even close. Would I love to see one--YES! I've spent many many years in academia and as much as I love research, it is normally behind what practitioners are currently doing. This does not mean what they are doing is good or bad, it just means that at times we don't have much evidence to state EITHER way. We must take what we have now and extend it to its logical conclusion in the meantime.

I know that in many more difficult cases I have had to use eye testing to get a result.

Athlete came in just the other day and we could not get his left glue to fire up really well (done via manual muscle test). I tested his eyes and found that for him, if he did some joint mobility work while holding his eyes closed and up, the glute would then fire up much much better. The same drill done before withOUT eye movement did not have the same effect.

Of course this is not a formal study and I would LOVE to see one; but my duty is first to the athlete to get them an amazing result in the safest, fastest manner.

If you want to do some research, look up "oculomotor" and you find some pretty cool stuff.

I hope that helps a bit. I would be interested in what you find.

Rock on
Mike T Nelson PhD(c)
Extreme Human Performance