Updated: Jul 12
In our fast-paced and technology-driven world, finding moments of calm and relaxation is essential for our overall well-being.
Our eyes, in particular, often bear the brunt of our busy lifestyles, leading to eye strain, tension, and fatigue. Fortunately, there's a simple, natural and delightful way to help alleviate these issues - Eye Pillows!
These small yet powerful tools have gained popularity for their ability to promote relaxation and provide therapeutic benefits.
Small, soft pillows, typically filled with flaxseeds (unscented) plus added lavender (or chamomile buds) for a relaxing scented option.
They offer a soothing experience that not only rejuvenates tired eyes but also promotes a sense of tranquillity throughout the body.
So - Let's delve into what eye pillows are, how they work with the body, and the wonderful advantages they offer!
What are Eye Pillows?
Eye Pillows are small, soft and comfortable pillows specifically designed to rest over your eyes, creating a gentle pressure that soothes and revitalizes.
They are typically made of soft, natural fabrics and are filled with a combination of flaxseeds and lavender. These natural ingredients work in harmony to create a calming and therapeutic effect on the mind and body.
The flaxseeds, known for their malleability and ability to retain heat or cold, provide gentle weight and contour to the shape of your face. Lavender, a fragrant flowering herb cherished for centuries, provides a delightful scent and possesses calming properties.
When it comes to how eye pillows work with the body, the concept is remarkably simple yet incredibly effective.
The gentle pressure exerted by the pillow stimulates acupressure points around the eyes and temples, promoting relaxation and reducing tension.
This pressure creates a subtle massage-like sensation, encouraging blood flow and easing muscle strain. The gentle weight and pressure on the eyelids creates the ‘Oculocardiac reflex’ (OCR) - a natural reflex that occurs when pressure is applied to the eyelids. This reflex leads to a decrease in heart rate, which further promotes a state of relaxation, providing a calming effect on the body and mind. The OCR also stimulates the ‘Vagus’ nerve; an essential part of the parasympathetic nervous system playing a significant role in regulating our body's relaxation response. Activation of the vagus nerve also helps slow down the heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and enhance the overall state of relaxation.
As well as the above, the flaxseeds within the pillow can be warmed (microwave or placed on radiator) or cooled (leave in freezer for 30mins ish) , allowing for the temperature to further enhance the experience.
The warmth helps to soothe tired eyes, relieve headaches, and alleviate sinus discomfort, while the chilled coolness can reduce puffiness and alleviate eye strain – also great for migraine relief!
Benefits of Using Eye Pillows
Using eye pillows regularly offers a multitude of benefits, making them a must-have addition to your self-care routine.
Here are some of the health benefits you can expect to enjoy:
1. Relaxation and Stress Relief: The gentle weight and aromatherapy properties of eye pillows induce a state of relaxation, helping to calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and relieve stress. Whether used during meditation, yoga, or simply before bed, they create a tranquil environment that encourages deep relaxation.
2. Relieves Eye Strain & Fatigue: Eye pillows provide much-needed relief for tired and overworked eyes. By applying gentle pressure, they help reduce eye strain caused by prolonged screen time, reading, or exposure to bright lights. They can also alleviate dryness and fatigue, leaving your eyes feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
3. Improved Sleep Quality: Incorporating eye pillows into your bedtime routine can enhance the quality of your sleep. The relaxation induced by the gentle pressure and lavender scent can help you unwind, promote deeper sleep, and alleviate insomnia.
4. Headache and Migraine Relief: The combination of acupressure and temperature therapy can be especially beneficial for those suffering from headaches or migraines. Placing a cool eye pillow on your forehead can provide soothing relief, while the gentle pressure aids in reducing pain and tension.
5. Natural Stress Relief: The aromatic properties of lavender have long been associated with relaxation and stress reduction. When combined with the therapeutic effects of gentle pressure, eye pillows offer a natural and holistic approach to managing stress. The soothing scent of lavender can create a peaceful ambiance, aiding in stress relief and promoting a more restful state of mind.
6. Natural Aid for Meditation and Mindfulness: Eye pillows are widely used in meditation and mindfulness practices. By blocking out external stimuli and creating a serene environment, they enable you to focus inward, enhance concentration, and achieve a deeper sense of calm.
Also note that the choice of natural ingredients in eye pillows (flaxseeds and lavender), ensures a chemical-free and eco-friendly experience. These materials are sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable, making them an excellent choice for those conscious of their environmental impact.
Eye pillows offer a simple yet effective way to relax, unwind, and rejuvenate. By harnessing the power of acupressure, temperature therapy, and natural ingredients like flaxseeds and lavender, they provide a multitude of benefits for your overall well-being.
Whether you seek relaxation, use during meditation or savasana/yoga time, relief from eye strain, stress reduction, headache relief, or improved sleep quality, incorporating eye pillows into your self-care routine can make a noticeable difference.
So, treat yourself to the soothing embrace of an eye pillow and embark on a journey of relaxation and revitalization.
Your eyes will thank you!
Ali Iles is a Complementary Therapist based in Bristol, UK.
A project that began whilst not working during the Covid 'Lockdowns' and has now blossomed into a creative outlet, Which In her spare time enjoys getting her sewing machine out and making ‘A Little Calm’ Eye Pillows so people can use them to unwind and relax!
Many bought individually for personal use as well as being bought as gifts for friends & loved ones.
They have also proven to be popular with fellow local therapists who also love to use them with their own clients so often place requests for several to be made for themselves.
"Passionate about supporting the wellbeing of my clients, helping to improve their wellbeing plus their mental & physical health".
Visit 'A Little Calm'