- Training the VOR reflex.
- Stabilize vision when the head is in motion.
- Optional progressions and regressions.
- Training the VOR reflex.
Today we’re going to look at a simple tool and how the letter A and eight lines can change your life.
If you’ve watched the Z-Health Balance Gym you know that we actually are very interested in the function of your inner ear and how the inner ear relates to control of your eyes and how all of that plays into dealing with spinal problems, core issues, and how that manifests with low back pain, mid-back pain, and then everything related to movement in life.
That may sound a little bit grandiose, but I’m telling you, your inner ears, your eyes, and how they function together is super important, which is why we created a whole product around it.
We’ve done some blogs in the past on training the inner ear. One of the things we want to do is continually make it easier for you. What we’ve done is create a simple, little chart with the letter A, and I know in my intro I said how that letter A could change your life, it can be any letter, just so you know.
What we did is create a simple chart and what I want you to download this or draw it up on a whiteboard or something, because what we found is that when we teach people how to do some of the inner ear exercises related to what’s called the vestibulo ocular reflex, it’s often hard for them to figure out the movements.
This chart is going to save you, it’s going to actually fix those problems for you.
The basics of what we’re dealing with, first of all, as I said, is called the VOR or the vestibulo, which means inner ear, ocular meaning eye, reflex. This is one of the most important reflexes in the human body because it stabilizes our vision while our head is in motion. If the camera lens was the letter A, the VOR basically works like this. I’m looking at the camera lens, I turn my head, and my eyes stay focused on the camera lens and it doesn’t get blurry.
That’s the most important part.
What we’re going to have you guys do is take the chart, print it out, and I want you to stick it up on the wall at about head level. Just paste it up there. You can tape it; it doesn’t have to be pasted. Put it up on the wall and the idea is that you’re going to stand about three feet away from it.
You’re going to look at the A. That’s the most important part. I want you to make the A as clear as possible, which means if you need to move forward, you need to move back. It doesn’t really matter. I just want you to make sure that the A is clear.
Now, once the A is clear, and for this blog I’m assuming that the camera lens for me is the letter A. I’m going to look at it and then all that I have to do to do the exercises correctly, is I have to move the tip of my nose along one of those lines. I’m going to have you do it three times while your eyes are staying fixated on the A. The rule here is that you’re only going to move as far and as fast as the A can remain clear. If it starts to get blurry at that speed, you need to slow down.
If it starts to get blurry when you go that far, you need to not go that far. It could like this … in the beginning. It doesn’t matter to me. Our job is to do three to five repetitions moving the tip of our nose along each of the eight lines.
Again, the camera lens is the A that you’re looking at. I’m going to go up keeping my eyes forward. Down keeping my eyes forward. I’ll go left, right, and then I’m going to take my nose up and right, down and right, up and left, down and left. The paper and the lines are just a great reminder. It is a simple way to know exactly how to make the motions happen in order to get the most out of the drill.
I’m doing this standing. You have some different options. Sometimes when people start doing this exercise, they get a little bit dizzy and they’re often surprised by that. If you get dizzy, you can do the same exercise seated. You just take the chart, you move it down the wall, you sit down in your chair, and you repeat the same exercise.
If you are awesome at this and you go, okay, I can go really fast and it doesn’t change, that’s great. Now you want to make it harder. How do you make it harder? Right now I’m standing in a pretty comfortable wide stance. I could stand with my feet together. I could stand as if I’m on a two by four, with one foot directly in front of the other. I could stand on one leg.
I can make it as hard or as easy as I need to, but the main thing we want to make sure, is that we’re doing each of the lines individually and seeing which one’s difficult. If I go through all eight lines and I figure out that when I look at the camera lens and I take my nose up and left on that line, it gets really blurry, that may be something that I really need to focus on and make it improve.
This seems like a very simple drill and it should be. This shouldn’t be hard for you, but over time what you’ll figure out is the more you do it, your vision should improve, your balance should improve.
Ultimately, because of how all of this influences muscles all along the spine, it should help with your posture. It should also help with back pain and also core strength in performances of the athlete.
There’s so many benefits to doing this. This is just a little sample of, like I said, stuff that we’ve done in our balance gym, but if you will focus on this one drill, work on it daily, because we’re only asking you to do three to five repetitions, you’re going to see some big benefits.
Last thing, if you want to progress it, you go faster and you go across both lines. The progression for me, let’s say I’m doing great at this, I’ve got my feet together, and I’m looking at my A, now I may be doing this.
I’m actually going back and forth. Then I’m going up and down. Over time you’re going to increase the speed. You’re going to go across both lines. In the beginning, make it small, make it simple, make sure it makes you feel better.
All right guys, so this is the VOR chart. If you have any questions about this let us know. Otherwise, good luck.