The gift of calm and relaxation, benefits of using an eye pillow
Eye pillows are a simple, powerful and accessible healing tool which can trigger deep relaxation and tranquility. Made up of a small cotton pillow filled with buckwheat and lavender, they can be placed over the eyes and forehead. Research shows that using an eye pillow for just 10 minutes a day can significantly reduce levels of stress and help calm the body.
The buckwheat filling contours to the shape of the face and exerts a gentle pressure on the eyelids. This stimulates the vagus nerve, sending calming signals down the back of the neck towards the shoulders, chest, heart and stomach, allowing the mind and body to let go and relax.
Being part of the parasympathetic nervous system, research shows that vagus nerve stimulation has a huge number of benefits. It can help regulate mood, encourage rest and relaxation, improve quality of sleep, balance the nervous and digestive systems and help with both depression and anxiety. The vagus nerve also plays a part in our tend and befriend system which enables us to reach out and build meaningful connections with others. This is a crucial factor in long time stress resilience and therefore happiness.
Eye Pillows also have the added bonus of blocking out all light. Cutting out this visual stimulus sends a signal to the brain that it is time for the mind to be calm and still.
When used as part of yoga or guided meditation the use of an eye pillow can allow you to go deep into your practice and give more awareness of self. Just 5 or 10 minutes during Savasana at the end of your practice can be enough to connect, expand and allow for deep relaxation.
It is possible to further intensify these experiences by using the eye pillow either warm or cold. Used cold they can help soothe headaches, help insomnia and relieve irritated eyes caused by constant exposure to screens and blue light. When used warm eye pillows can rejuvenate tired eyes, relieve facial tension and help to regain clarity and a fresh mindset.
Often eye pillows contain an additional herb, and because of its healing properties I have chosen to use lavender. Research shows lavender can help reduce stress and anxiety, ease the nervous system, sooth migraines and release muscle cramps. Inhaling this particular scent can also influence the brain chemicals involved in controlling sleep.
In a world full of stress and technology it can be very difficult to switch off and relax. Using an eye pillow for just 10 minutes a day, can help you stop, breath and allow for a moment of calm.