The product being reviewed in this article was kindly gifted to me. I have not been paid to promote this product and the opinions I convey in this article are entirely my own. For more information please visit my disclosure page.
An Aid to Mindfulness
A couple of weeks ago I decided to broaden my horizons and venture out into some new facebook groups. Initially, the aim of the exercise was to meet people who practice mindfulness and to get some inspiration for content.
Then I stumbled across a group where people shared their products for self care, mindfulness and other alternative therapies. I had definitely heard of some alternative therapies, but never considered them as something which would aid in mindfulness practice. Curious to see how some of these products may aid with my practice, I decided to reach out to some companies.
How Eye Pillows Work
I contacted the lovely Chrissie, who runs ‘Bags of Lavender’. We discussed at some length how her eye pillows aid mindfulness meditation. In particular, they “stimulate the vagus nerve and elicit the oculocardiac reflex”. Even with my medical background, I wasn’t entirely sure what this meant. After a little bit of investigating I found out the following:
The Oculocardiac Reflex (OCR)
By stimulating the vagus nerve, the light pressure on your eyes triggers a reflex that lowers your heart rate and regulates your mood. This reflex puts your body and mind at rest.
Chrissie’s company title is a wonderfully deceiving. You can actually choose from a range of aromas (Lavender,Peppermint,Camomile,Sweet Orange or Rose). She even asked me what colour material I would like! Having a bit of an aversion to lavender after being subjected to it heavily by the school nurse, I opted for another scent. I chose peppermint and my favourite colour is purple so that is what I received a few days after our conversation.
Using The Pillow
On receipt of my minty pillow (haha), I found I had also been given information on how to use, why it works and what particularly peppermint works for. I was pleased to read that peppermint is good for headaches and migraines. Both of which I do suffer from.
Preferring the idea of using the pillow cold (you can do either hot or cold and instructions are included for both) I popped it in the freezer. Later on at bedtime I placed it over my eyes. It was a very soothing feeling and I certainly liked the fresh smell of the peppermint. I dropped off to sleep very quickly that night.
A few days later, Mike was complaining of a headache. I gave him the eye pillow straight from the freezer. Being the sceptic that he is, I half expected him to try it for five minutes and give up. Instead, not only did his headache dissipate, but 10 minutes later he was fast asleep!
Of course, the main reason for the eye pillows was to see if they aided in meditation. I chose to trial the eye pillow on a particularly warm summers evening, when I was planning to meditate out in the garden. Although I wasn’t feeling particularly tense, the eye pillow helped me to relax and focus my attention on the birdsong around me. I felt a lot calmer afterwards.
Chrissie’s Eye Pillows are certainly something I am glad I have been able to try. It will be a vital part of my meditation, bedtime and first aid routine.
I did notice the smell wasn’t as intense after a week or so, but Chrissie accounts for this in her instructions. A quick shake up and it was revived to its former glory.
Overall I think the eye pillows are great. They really help with meditation, enabling the user to relax and be in the moment. I have also found they work well for tension headaches and to aid in calming down before sleep. I would definitely recommend!