Natural Vision Solutions and Seeing Beauty in the World
Interview with Kimberly Burnham from Good and Green Radio with Susan M. Davis, August 17, 2012.
Susan: How did you come to natural health-care and environmental issues?
Kimberly Burnham’s Vision Recovery Story.
My father grew up in the dry red rock desert of Southern Utah. He taught me to love nature and science, swimming in Lake Powell, camping in the Rocky mountains, traveling to game parks in Africa.
When I was eight years old, near a waterfall in a Colombian jungle my father helped me catch a blue morpho butterfly. Its huge, iridescent wings were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. A few years later I was photographing lions in Ngorongoro crater in Kenya, looking at works of art in the Louver with my mother who is a painter. Then a great horned owl in Shinjuku park in downtown Tokyo.
My life was about enjoying the beauty of this incredible world and capturing it in photographs and my mind’s eye.
In my early twenties I lived in Japan. The attention to cultural designs, the pageantry of religious festivals and the richness of the natural landscape makes Japan an incredible place to be a photographer. I came home with literally thousands of images captured on slides and in my mind’s eye.
By the time I was 28, I was working as a professional photographer and journalist in Toronto, Canada, which has amazing visual and cultural diversity.
And then everything changed.
I found myself in an ophthalmologist’s office with a diagnosis of Keratoconus, a genetic condition of the eyes.
Arrogantly, coldly in his white coat, he painted the bleakest possible picture of my life, of my future, of my eyes.
“Kim, you should consider how your life will go if you become blind,” he said, pushing me towards despair.
He encouraged my hopelessness saying, “It is genetic, so there is nothing you can do.”
“Your corneas can rupture at anytime, leaving you blind,” he said, scaring the sense out of me. And for a time I believed him.
Life is about moments of impact and who you choose to believe.
A few years later I entered massage school, in part because I knew I could do massage therapy even if I went blind.
In massage school, I had a wicked bad migraine, while taking a test. I literally had to move my head from side to side so I could see the test questions around the big black spot in the middle of my vision.
There was a big black hole in the middle of my vision and I had to move my head from side to side in order to be able to read the massage therapy test questions. I took the subway home with my head in my hands and laid down in a dark quiet room, gently pressing on the back of my neck.
That was the day I said to myself, “You know what? This is not okay! There has to be something I can do. I have to find a solution to the migraines and to the vision loss. Five or six severe migraines a year for ten years is too long.”
From that moment on I decided I going to do something.
Susan: What kind of solutions did you find for yourself?
Kimberly Burnham: About finished with massage school at Sutherland-Chan, one of the best massage schools in Canada with a 2200 hour program, I started taking CranioSacral Therapy and SomatoEmotional Release classes from John Upledger at the Upledger Institute; Cranial Therapy from the Milne Institute, plus Cranial Osteopathy classes in the Canadian College of Osteopathy’s five year Toronto, Ontario program. I studied Specific Osteoarticular Adjustment & Soft Tissue Technics with Harold I. Magoun, Jr. His father is famous for his book Osteopathy in the Cranial Field.
I studied other things too like, Lymphatic Drainage from French Osteopath, Philippe Druelle, DO; Process Acupressure, Endermologie, Paul Chauffer’s Mechanical Link and Visceral Manipulation with Jean-Pierre Barral, Frank Lowen and Sharon W. Giammatteo and then hundreds of hours of Integrative Manual Therapy classes with Sharon W. Giammatteo, Tom Giammatteo, Kris Albrecht, Carol Gordon, Nancy Ortolani, George Giannoni, Frank Gentile, David Berenbaum, Sue Leger, Kris Godiksen, and many other wonderful instructors.
One year, 1999, I literally spent 100 plus days in class, but the studying, training, self-treatment, manual therapy treatment exchanges with friends (and my friends have amazing hands), has totally been worth it, because in the last 12 years, I have had one migraine. And that one, was four years ago so I have invested thousands of hours of training, tuition dollars and treatment costs but ……. migraine-free — priceless.
Along the way, I learned about nutrition, about Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupressure, Reiki, Matrix Energetics, Craniosacral therapy, Tibetan eye exercises, qigong exercises.
I learned that the liver and gallbladder meridian from acupuncture flows along the side of the head and around the eyes. Improving liver and gallbladder health can improve vision. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the liver and gallbladder are associated with the emotion of anger.
Imagine at one point is vision / eyesight, another point is the liver and the third point is the emotion of anger. By improving one of the three you can improve the other two.
I studied nutrition and learned that essential fatty acids can help vision as well as memory and brain health.
I even studied things that many would say is crazy stuff like, Matrix Energetics. When I came back from my first Matrix Energetics class my friends asked me what it was like. I said, “you know that scene in Mary Popins. The one where the uncle is laughing and floating up to the ceiling. Right and then the kids start laughing and floating up. It was pretty much like that for three days.” But you know, Matrix Energetics is a kind of Information Medicine that I have used to improve my own vision and the eyes, brain and nerve of my clients.
That is how far I have gone in my search.
Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clark said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Matrix Energetics and a lot of energy medicine is advanced technology based in quantum physics.
Encoded in the pages of my story, my books and coaching program is the magic that has enabled me to see you today.
What have you done to help other people improve their vision naturally?
For ten years I was the director of vision services for a large complementary and alternative medicine clinic. I would tell people, “I am the director of vision services because no one can tell me it doesn’t work.”
Thousands of hours of alternative medicine, education and treatment later, I was the director of vision services, for a large clinic, because no one can tell me it doesn’t work.”
I have dedicated my life to those things that no can tell me don’t work. I know in my body, in my eyes.
Today, I have better vision than when I was 28, with a diagnosis of keratoconus or what my friends, now call “carrots and begonias”. All because of a choice I made to seek answers, I have better vision than that day, 47 year ago, when I caught a beautiful blue butterfly.
Is there an easy exercise that listeners can do right now to improve their vision?
I got the idea for this exercise from Nike. They have a pair of specialized goggles, that elite athletes use in order to speed up their perception and increase their ability to take in information.
First look around your room and notice the light, the colors, different shapes and how you feel in your body. How do your head and eyes feel?
Now start blinking as you look around.
For this exercise you are going to blink your eyes but as you do so have a question in your mind, like What do I see that is red? What do I see that is round? How many books do I see?
Keep blinking and really looking at the colors, the shapes, the items.
The reason you are asking yourself these questions is that otherwise your brain gets tired and disconnects. The questions are a way to keep your brain engaged even though you are making it more difficult to see.
It is like weight training for your eyes and brain.
When you stop blinking, you makes it easier for your eyes and you have stronger eyes.
Now look around normally again and notice what has changed in your room, in the light, in the vibrancy of the colors and in how your head and neck feel.
Susan: How is your message connected to sustainability in our natural environment?
Kimberly Burnham: I have fought for my vision of the world. In Pebbles in the Pond I talk about the people I have help improve their vision
More of my story is in my chapter in The Eyes Observing Your World in Christine Kloser’s Pebbles in the Pond: Transforming the World One Person at a Time and at my website
I believe that we try to preserve what we see as beautiful.
In 2011, I wrote a messenger mini-book entitled Our Fractal Natural, a Journey of Self-Discovery and Connection.
Fractals, which I write about in my messenger mini book, Our Fractal Nature, a Journey of Self-Discovery and Connection as well as in my chapter in Jack Canfield’s Pearls of Wisdom, 30 Inspirational Ideas to Live Your Best Life Now!
Fractals are shapes — the branching shape of a tree, the networks in your brain or pathway of your blood vessels. Even your eyes have a fractal patterned shape.
Susan: Is there an easy way to understand what a fractal is?
Kimberly Burnham: A fractal is a mathematical description of an irregular shape. A tree has a fractal shape.
One of the characteristics of a fractal is a self-similar pattern. A tree for example has branches coming off the trunk and branches off of those branches. Even the veins of a leaf have a branching pattern that is similar but much smaller than the branches off the trunk.
Susan: What is the value of understanding fractals?
Medical research has shown that just looking at and recognizing fractal patterns in nature makes us healthier. People in hospitals whose window looked out on a natural scene heal faster, use less pain medication and stay in the hospital a shorter time. Part of this is that our eyes are designed to pick up the pattern and notice what is new, unusual or doesn’t fit the pattern. When you recognize the pattern you feel more comfortable, more relaxed and can heal faster. This seems to work even when you are looking at a painting of a natural environment.
Quote from Science: Fractal Art and Complexity
“Visual complexity has been known to be a significant predictor of preference for artistic works for some time. The first study reported here examines the extent to which perceived visual complexity in art can be successfully predicted using automated measures of complexity. Results also suggest that when color is removed from an artistic image observers are unable to make meaningful judgments as to its beauty. “
―Forsythe, A., M. Nadal, et al. (2011). “Predicting beauty: fractal dimension and visual complexity in art.” Br J Psychol 102(1): 49–70. [Medline Abstract].
Susan: What do fractal have to do with our eyesight and the brain?
Kimberly Burnham: Our brain has a branching fractal pattern as does our blood vessels. Our healthy heart pumping blood to the brain and eyes also has a fractal pattern of peaks and valleys.
The healthier our eyes are the better we can recognize the patterns and respond to life in a more robust and relaxed way.
Also the more in tune we are with our heart beat, the more we can recognize the pattern and feel relaxed or do something that makes us healthier. It is like a feedback system.
“The intuitive notion that a healthy organism is characterized by regular, homeostatic function has been challenged by observations that a loss of complexity is, in fact, indicative of ill-health. Research supports the proposition that the brain maintains a state of self-organized complexity.
―Suckling, J., A. M. Wink, et al. (2008). “Endogenous multifractal brain dynamics are modulated by age, cholinergic blockade and cognitive performance.” J Neurosci Methods 174(2): 292–300.
Susan: Are there other ways fractal are used in complementary and alternative medicine?
Kimberly Burnham: Acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, any system that uses reflex points is based on fractals in the structure and function.
What I mean by that is for example the liver.
We each have a liver located behind the rib cage on the right. It is responsible for many thing, including detoxification and immune function.
In acupuncture, practitioners talk about the liver meridian. This is a line through the body that is like the liver and helps the body detoxify and supports your immune system. needling or pressing these points is seen to stimulate or calm the liver so it can do its job better. Each point along the meridian is like a little liver. As well every cell in your body has the capacity to detoxify and has a tiny immune system.
Autoimmune problems where self attacks self begin with the cells, organs or individuals not recognizing themselves, not seeing that the thriving of the larger individual is dependent on the thriving of the smaller fraction or fractal image of the whole.
This is true from the atomic level to the universal level.
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
―John Muir, Naturalist
Originally Published on Good and Green Radio with Susan M. Davis on August 17, 2012.