The long standing swing is arguably the most important single practice in the Bates Method. It teaches overall relaxation and helps break the weaker eyes habit of staring fixedly at a point. Swinging produces the illusion that objects are moving. Repeated exposure to this phenomenon of apparent movement will encourage a sense of free mobility and improved vision.

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Be sure to wear comfortable supportive shoes. Allow your arms to hang naturally at your side. In one movement, turn your upper body from the waist so that you are facing to one side. This is a 90 degree turn of the body. Keep your head and neck aligned with your shoulders. Eyes are always looking straight ahead. Immediately twist back to starting position, and then to the other direction. As you swing, shift your weight from one foot to the other. The movement should not be greater than ninety degrees from the straight ahead position, and may be less if the full movement causes discomfort.

Swinging Photo Gallery

A slight variation on the simple swing is to use the thumb as a reference point. To do this, follow the directions above, but hold your arm in front of you with your thumb up. Look at your thumb while doing the swing. This will enhance the sensation of apparent movement as your thumb appears to stay still while the background is moving.


Swinging is highly effective in helping persons with ARMD learn to focus on the details of an object or figure by providing them with the conscious experience of the illusion that objects move when we move the head or body. It is also very helpful in improving coordination and balance.


Focusing on your thumb while swinging is one of the most effective ways to train your eyes to see objects against a background.

This exercise must be tried before its power can be experienced.

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