It is important to have purpose in life, to act on your purpose, and to feel that you positively change your life and other people’s lives for the better. Volunteering for a goal you believe in, creating something new in your life that you feel will make a difference, and acting on it regularly can make a big positive change for you.

The term Blue Zones has been used to describe places where people live long and healthy lives. What exactly does it take to live a long and healthy life? What is the science and the secret behind longevity and life extension? In this series, we are talking to medical experts, wellness experts, and longevity experts to share “5 Things You Need To Live A Long, Healthy, & Happy Life”. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Meir Schneider.

Meir Schneider is the founder of San Francisco’s famous School for Self-Healing. Born blind to deaf parents, Meir taught himself to see with revolutionary vision exercises. Now he spends his time helping people overcome debilitating health problems and teaching his method to dozens of Self-Healing Practitioners.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

My name is Meir Schneider, and I taught myself to see.

I was born blind from congenital cataracts to deaf parents. When I was a child, after five unsuccessful surgeries for my eyes, I had trouble integrating with other children. I was reading Braille, so it was not easy to follow the curriculum like other kids in school. I was rejected many times and even physically attacked. Sometimes I was very lonely, but I always stood up for myself despite my disability. I was even nearly expelled from school when I defended myself against other children.

I also did many things that my educators and parents did not like. For instance, I rode a bicycle without seeing what was in front of me. I would hit trees and people but kept going anyway. I would fall down stairs and get hurt. I would play with other kids in unfinished buildings, and once I fell from the second story into a ditch. At the same time, I was one of the best students in my class.

These trials built my character. When I was introduced to eye exercises, I spent a tremendous amount of time practicing because all the energy I had as a child transferred to the positive work of improving my vision. The person who showed me the eye exercises was very young. My family did not support my work and was very worried that I was being misled.

My friends and my teachers did not support my work either. So, I was very tense when I was doing my work, but eventually, I relaxed into my exercises and support started to come my way. The young person who taught me to work on my vision was helped by an old librarian that taught me the art of movement. My progress was immense.

I was a very weak child, but I became a very strong teenager with the exercises, especially the ones I did on the beach of Tel Aviv and the ones I did in my home. I met other teenagers who worked on themselves and improve dramatically from their condition, and we influenced each other and encouraged each other to work on ourselves. In three months, my vision improved from 1% to 4% and rose to 20% within two and a half years.

In my late teen years, I began to work with a beautiful young woman who was afflicted with polio and a handsome young man who was afflicted with muscular dystrophy. The three of us formed an institute of self-healing in Tel Aviv.

Very soon, it was filled with clients, including the chief of staff of the Israeli army. From there, I came to San Francisco and formed a non-profit organization that trained thousands of people in my work.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Once, a seventeen-year-old indigenous teen came to see me with her parents. Her father was the chief of the Indian tribe in Alberta, Canada. She was born with deficient secretion of her pituitary gland, and due to that her optic nerve was badly damaged. Her right eye was blind, except it had light and color perception and her left eye was legally blind with only 20% vision, or 20/200 which was uncorrectable with glasses.

At first, I was chatting with the mother and the teenager until she became very relaxed. When she looked at the chart, her vision was 20/100, or 40% of normal vision. Her mother was surprised, and she said, “We went to all the top specialists in Canada and she never saw that well.”

I explained that it was the power of relaxation. When you relax, you see better. I took her to a dark room where her mother, my two assistants, and I witnessed a miracle. I put a patch on her better left eye and I had a blinking red light.

First, she saw it simply as light. Then she saw the color red, which was not a major surprise. Three minutes later, she saw the shape of the lamp. Then she saw my face, her mother’s face and my assistants’ faces. That was the first time in her whole life, and everybody was surprised.

I took her to the backyard and ask her to bounce on the trampoline with the patch still on, meaning she could only see with what was considered her blind eye. She was very athletic but did not feel comfortable bouncing with what was considered her non-seeing eye. However, she realized she was able to see us and even catch balls.

We walked up and down city streets with her, reading big signs. It was then clear to all of us that her so-called blind eye was not blind, but lazy, and that her brain suppressed the vision. The difference between my exercises and the standard tests is that I waited five minutes with the light blinking. The others shined light in her eye and showed her fingers that she didn’t see.

The result of the light stimulating her eye was the brain’s awakening. Then, the brain started to look at details through the right eye. We discover that her vision was 5%. She could see general objects and large letters with that eye. We also discovered that when her right eye saw what it could see, out of relaxation and relief, the left eye was able to improve to 60% of normal vision. She came again the year after with her parents to work on fusion, or eye teaming. Her vision improved even further.

One of the clients I like the most was a 101-year-old named Jacob. He became legally blind after his daughter died at the age of 62. As a result of a session with me, he was very encouraged and was able to become and remain sighted again until his last day of life at the age of 109.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Because the results that I had working with myself and my clients were enormous, a spiritual teacher told me that I must write a book about the experiences. It was the first time that my work was exposed to many thousands of people.

My book Self-Healing, My Life and Vision sold 40,000 copies. When it went out of print, the book Movement for Self-Healing replaced it. It sold 11,000 copies in English.

Movement for Self-Healing was a kind of second edition of Self-Healing, my Life and Vision. The book was translated into many languages. Hundreds of thousands of people read it in different parts of the world.

A key person that helped me with the book was a wonderful young lady by the name of Maureen Larkin. The big thing here was that I felt that my truth came to the world in writing. Maureen was able to downsize and edit my dictations of the remarkable process of recovery. It helped me feel that I was able to bring the world a new understanding of how movement, imagery, and exercise are the best tools to improve us physically and emotionally.

I love the fact that the book is still in print 45 years after it came out. It opened many peoples’ minds and hearts to the existence of my method. After the publication of that book, I wrote several books with other editors. Still, I am especially grateful for her skills and the push that she gave me to express myself in a way that the world can understand.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

For one, I have a lot of faith in my work, and because of that, I can share it with the world without hesitation. It takes an enormous amount of strength to withstand the criticism and resistance of conventional people who cannot stray outside the box of convention.

I had to deal with family that opposed my work, media attacks, lack of acceptance, and with attacks from the medical board. I won all those battles.

My family ended up trusting my work. I won all debates on the media. I never got negative press, although some people decided not to write about me. I found that district attorneys and state attorneys trusted me more than the medical board, and they decided not to intervene on the medical board’s behalf.

I also learned that laws have changed. Partially because of my involvement, there is much more freedom for holistic health in California than there was in the ’80s and early ’90s. A politician I influenced ended up creating the changes.

Secondly, I have a lot of perseverance. We formed a wonderful school by the beach in a residential area, though many neighbors opposed it. My staff and I had four years of political fighting and then building blues. We were able to win in every hearing even though many people told us that we will lose.

Finally, I am also very disciplined in a soft way. My practice takes time and attention and I have a very busy schedule, but the time that I work on myself is the happiest time of my life. My own self-work is a daily commitment, and through it, I feel I engage with the whole universe.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview about health and longevity. To begin, can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fields of health, wellness, and longevity? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

I have helped many people to see better. My book Vision for Life contributed to the sight of many people, both literally and philosophically. It is in print in 18 languages.

Many people thank me for the improvement they have doing this work. I have helped many paralyzed people become more mobile, and sometimes the work has prevented them from becoming wheelchair bound. Sometimes it helps people get out of their wheelchairs. That program is written in my book Movement for Self-Healing.

I have helped many people prevent or overcome the common problems of stiffness and tension and prevented cases of arthritis and headaches. This work is expressed in my book Awakening Your Power of Self-Healing.

I am also lecturing in many countries and different states in this country. I feel that my advice can be very helpful to most people. Many health practitioners looked up to me and my advice.

Seekers throughout history have traveled great distances and embarked on mythical quests in search of the “elixir of life,” a mythical potion said to cure all diseases and give eternal youth. Has your search for health, vitality, and longevity taken you on any interesting paths or journeys? We’d love to hear the story.

From the very beginning of my work, I have learned that the secret to healthy life and longevity is within every one of us. Subtle movements, deep breathing, and awareness of the body always lead to positive change. I have learned that having a deep awareness of the body prevents injuries.

What I am seeking is to teach many people in the world that truth, so I have traveled to many places and learned different ways to teach many people how to improve their life and their health.

Based on your research or experience, can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Live A Long & Healthy Life”? (Please share a story or an example for each)

The first thing to live a long and healthy life is to believe that you can and will. Only sixty years ago, people died and expected to die in their late sixties. It was not unusual if somebody died at sixty years of age. Humanity thought it was a great achievement that people live that long.

Today, people expect to live much longer. The French government wants retirement at the age of sixty-four. Many in Israel want retirement to start at the age of sixty-seven. Personally, I believe retirement should start in one’s seventies. These days, the average age of someone’s death is seventy-eight or seventy-nine, but many life insurance companies insure up to the age of one hundred. In fact, there are millions of people who live until their mid-nineties and hundreds of thousands of people who passed at the age of one hundred.

Belief creates reality. If you believe that you will live past the age of one hundred and take steps in that direction, there is at least some chance that you will.

Secondly, it is important to have purpose in life, to act on your purpose, and to feel that you positively change your life and other people’s lives for the better. Volunteering for a goal you believe in, creating something new in your life that you feel will make a difference, and acting on it regularly can make a big positive change for you.

For example, a widow from the Second World War waited for her husband who never came back. She became very interested in nutrition and, in spite of the anxiety about the war, taught nutrition to many people. At the age of one hundred and six, she finished a manuscript on nutrition. When she finished it, she felt she was ready to die. Then she did.

Many people go to the university and college in their sixties after retirement. The result is that they develop more skills, study subjects that they always wanted to know and feel that their life is fulfilled at their older age. That gives them a good taste for life. The opposite is what leads to a problem.

I remember how much I tried to convince my wonderful grandmother, whom I dearly love, to volunteer and do things she likes to do, but she said that she lives for her kids and grandkids. She died at the age of eighty-nine, but I believe she would have lived much longer if she did things that she loved to do.

Many times, we don’t do what we want to do in life and when we retire, we have the chance either to do it or do something similar. We have to take that chance, so our life will feel complete. That’s how we live longer.

Thirdly, we also have to exercise. You can’t take what you had in your twenties for granted in your eighties. Walking to your place of work, walking to school, or other activities that maintain muscle tone may be less given in your later years. You have to become very deliberate about how you walk, how far you walk, and how much effort you make.

Measured vigor is key. It’s a mistake to think that the exact same exertion you did in your forties is possible in your sixties. At the same time, you have to exercise and increase your capacity daily.

When you are in your twenties, you can spend two or three months doing nothing for your body and then recover rapidly by doing activities. In your eighties, it’s much harder to recover from inactivity. So, the complexity here is that we must be active, but in a measured way.

The worst example I can give you is the famous senator Harry Reid who was the head of the US Senate for several years. He used to be a boxer, and when he retired from the Senate, he injured himself with a vigorous exercise. That caused his death.

In my teens and twenties, I swam in the Mediterranean Ocean. I heard of some people who swam and, when they returned to shore in their seventies, died from a heart attack. In Québec City, we hear time and again of old people who shovel the snow with the same vigor that they did in their early age and die from a heart attack shortly after. So, working on kinesthetic awareness, working on your breath, feeling what your body desires to do and following your inner self becomes very important from your sixties to your early hundreds.

My best example is myself. I used to bathe in the fifty-two degrees San Francisco Ocean four times a week in my thirties, forties, and fifties. At the age of sixty-seven, I felt that my body no longer could take the cold the way it used to. So, I still run in the wind with only my bathing suit on, but I bathe in the ocean when the days are warm — there are only a few of them in San Francisco.

When I visit Israel, I swim in the sea in the winter at sixty-five degrees. Most Israelis would not even get close to the sea at that time, because they are used to eighty-five degrees. However, these days, three times a week with warm clothes I walk for 50 blocks in Golden Gate Park. Last year, I ran with my twenty-nine-year-old daughter at the same pace and speed for five kilometers.

While I am in a good shape, I modify my activities to fit my capacity. The result is I work long hours, travel the world, and teach in many places, and not for a moment do I feel old or even middle-aged.

Finally, knowledge of the importance of kinesthetic awareness and subtle movements is essential to our longevity. Oxygen and good circulation are the most important key to longevity. We normally breathe shallow breaths and our breathing doesn’t expand our abdomen and lower back enough. If we breathe deeply and slowly and allow the movement of life to expand and contact our body, we then can feel what stops us from deep breathing. For example, it’s often abdominal tension, waist tension, and lower back tension.

As we develop more subtle movements, we start to feel all that is restricted in our muscles when we sit, lie, or walk. Our job then is to release this restriction. When we do, we allow more circulation and more oxygenation of our cells, and we prevent arthritis, back pain, and neurological illnesses. Reducing our stiffness daily leads to more life and vitality for the body. Strengthening our weakest muscles alleviates the tension in our strongest muscles.

That balance is the secret to vitality. We need to spend at least one hour a day exploring movements that we don’t know exist for us. That’s why I wrote my book Awakening Your Power of Self-Healing with more than six hundred exercises, and why I taught many classes and workshops online and in-person. If people learn about the importance of subtle movements, exploration, and kinesthetic awareness, they will live much longer lives.

I will give you six essential points instead of five. We can also remember negative thoughts harm us very much. A secret for a long life is to be as neutral as you can be. Allow things and events to pass through you, stay neutral about them, and live your life with peace.

Now, there are extreme cases. Sometimes, we cannot completely forgive someone, but we can neutralize our thoughts about them and maintain our distance. Good sense needs to be applied, but that’s the case with any knowledge worth its weight.

I met a wonderful woman in her mid-nineties. We worked on several challenges that she has and progressed with her health. She told me that in her 70s she was diagnosed with a malignant cancer, was on her death bed and was told that she has three months to live.

Then she decided to practice a very powerful mental exercise. She forgave all the people she was upset with and forgave herself for being upset at them.

Within a month, her cancer disappeared. I worked with her twenty years later.

She is a fantastic example to all of us. How many people do you meet without grudges against the closest people in their lives — their parents, spouses, and best friends? They carry those grudges to their grave and they get there earlier than needed to.

Can you suggest a few things needed to live a life filled with happiness, joy, and meaning?

We all need to know how great our potential is.

The medical profession tells us that once we see the worst, we can never see the better. I have proven to many people the exact opposite.

A man at the age of ninety-two was diagnosed with macular degeneration. After seeing me for a few sessions, he went to other physicians who told him that the diagnosis was wrong. I was joking that we might change our name from the School for Self-Healing to School for Spontaneous Remission.

When we don’t believe in permanent prognoses, we don’t suffer from other people’s opinions about our health. We are free of the fear that is being pushed on us and we are free to live our life the way we want to. My grandmother told me that when she was a nurse in the Second World War, a physician told her that the best medicine is smiling and laughing. It is so important for us to reject a diagnosis that is not true with a smile, to accept the diagnosis that is true with neutrality, and to always love life.

Smiling and laughing are very important for us. Unfortunately, these days we are not allowed to laugh as much as we laughed in the past, and sometimes for a good reason. We should not insult other people, but sometimes we laugh less because other people try to control us and tell us how to think. Our goal is to be happy, joyful, and productive, and to feel good about ourselves and our surroundings.

Some argue that longevity is genetic, while others say that living a long life is simply a choice. What are your thoughts on this nature vs. nurture debate? Which is more important?

There is no question that genes have a lot to do with our faith in life. However, our lifestyle and our actions will determine a big portion of our destiny. If we learn from our errors in life and use discipline to take care of the ill results, then we are destined to live as long as our genes allow us to live.

If we do not learn from our mistakes, then we will live a much shorter life. Some of our mistakes include, but are not limited to smoking, drinking alcohol, using recreational drugs, over-consuming medical drugs, and having unnecessary surgeries. All those could shorten our lives, even if we are destined to live long.

As an example, once a reporter asked Georges Bernard Shaw how he’d lived a long life. He died in his nineties, back when most men died in their sixties. He took the reporter to an attic in his house and showed him shelves upon shelves of medication and told him: “This is all the prescription drugs given to me that I never took.”

On the other hand, if you find a way to quiet your mind, exercise, and eat a balanced diet, you will live longer. That is not a cliché, it is the truth elucidated by medical practitioners, naturalists, and the generally good-sensed since the time before time.

Life sometimes takes us on paths that are challenging. How have you managed to bounce back from setbacks in order to cultivate physical, mental, and emotional health?

When we have purpose in life and life is very important to us, we may pass through a very challenging time, and we may feel depressed or even destroyed, but we bounce back softly and gradually because we value our own purpose.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Life is movement and movement is life.” I was destined to be a blind person, and I was even good at it. I read Braille quickly with great comprehension. Yet I decided to break the cycle of disabilities. My parents were deaf and learned how to deal well with their deafness, but I never accepted my blindness. Right now, I am celebrating having a driver’s license for forty years, which is a huge accomplishment in my life. As a result of transforming my life, I learned a method to transform other people’s lives for the better.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The most important thing for people to learn is that nature is very generous and very helpful. While we can definitely be helped by conventional medicine at times, most of the time we should resort to nature’s power. In many ways, it means to be open to our inner forces. We can reach them through subtle movement, slow breathing, clarity of mind, and dialogue with ourselves and our capacities.

It prevents and resolves most difficult situations, it can often prevent blindness, arthritis, neurological problems, and others, and it can help us survive hard and unsolved problems.

We should never give our power away to others and always investigate what is good for us. When we feel expanded inside, we no longer need conflicts and wars because we don’t need to expand to other’s territory. We don’t need to control others. All insecurity no longer exists. We have an all-new feeling of life. We live long and we feel present and happy most of our moments.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

Contact the Meir Schneider’s Center and School for Self-Healing.

You can look at our website ( and call us at (415) 665–9574 or email us at [email protected] to set up an appointment.

Our YouTube channel contains a lot of free videos, interviews recordings, explanations of my method, and exercises:

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.


  • Savio Clemente

    Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Media Journalist, #1 Best-selling Author, Podcaster, and Stage 3 Cancer Survivor

    The Human Resolve LLC

    Savio P. Clemente is a Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), media journalist, #1 best-selling author, podcaster, stage 3 cancer survivor, and founder of The Human Resolve LLCHe coaches cancer survivors and ambitious industry leaders to amplify their impact, attract media attention, and make their voice heard. He inspires them to get busy living in mind, body, and spirit and to cultivate resilience in their mindset.

    Savio has interviewed notable celebrities and TV personalities and has been invited to cover numerous industry events throughout the U.S. and abroad.  His mission is to provide clients, listeners, and viewers alike with tangible takeaways on how to lead a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle.