Fasting is probably the oldest form of healing known to man. Even animals go without food when they are not well. Nature’s logic is flawless: if calories are not available from the outside, they must be taken from the body itself, but “optimized for survival” as we are, our bodies have the ability to selectively “eat” body waste and cells that are no longer in prime health. If we hold this to be true, then the Eat Stop Eat results reported make perfect sense.
For this reason, fasting is beneficial to the body and to the mind. Paul Bragg wrote in his book, The Miracle of Fasting:
Fasting works by self-digestion. During a fast your body intuitively will decompose and burn only the substances and tissues that are damaged, diseased, or unneeded, such as: abscesses, tumours, excess fat deposits, excess water, and congestive wastes. Even a short fast (1 to 3 days) will accelerate elimination from your liver, kidneys, lungs, bloodstream and skin.
Fasting and Ayurveda
Ayurveda is the traditional Indian healing practice that has been used for over 10 thousand years. The three main principles of good health are: good sleep, good digestion and good elimination. Fasting is considered a healthy practice as it stimulates the digestive “fire” (called Agni in Sanskrit) which allows the body to burn the calories more effectively, producing less toxins for the body.
The Ayurvedic system divides the patients into 3 “Doshas” or constitutional types, namely: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Out of the three constitutional types, only the Vata are told to be cautious when attempting to fast. The Vata constitutions are thin, cold and dry. They have a lot of “air element” and fasting could leave them feeling week and spaced out. Vata constitutions are about 20% of the population as the remaining 80 percent are Pitta, Kapha, Vata-Pitta or Pitta-Kapha.
Fasting and Traditional Chineses Medicine
There seems to be no support for fasting in Traditional Chinese Medicine since the “cleansing” of the body is prescribed by eating vegetables. Thus a “fast” in traditional chinese medicine would be the equivlant of eating only vegetables for a week. Fasting was frowned upon in communist China as it was widely used in Buddhist and Taoist rituals.
Fasting and Homeopathy
Fasting can be used as part of a homeopathic cure. It is advised to fast for not more than 3 days if you are not in the habit of fasting. In homeopathic fasting the use of fruit, vegetable juices and soups is allowed. It is advised to drink water during the fast and to have normal daily activities.
During a homeopathic fast it is advised to refrain from a sedentary lifestyle, from spending time in poorly aerated rooms, from taking medications, smoking or drinking alcohol. It is considered very important to break the fast with juices first, and the with light, oil fee meals for the first day or two.
Fasting in Naturopathy
In naturopathy, fasting is often prescribed to cure obesity, fever, constipation, headache, asthma, skin disorders, gastric ulcer, sinusitis, hypertension, common cold, anaemia, arthritis, menstrual disorders and stress.
Short fasts of 24-36hrs are initially advised, which are then extended to 3-4 days. Long fasts of 7-10 days are possible, and these can be extended to 40 days or more, but only under expert guidance.
In naturopathy you can continue the fast until you observe that your body is completely detoxified. Signs if this are that your breath is fresh, your skin is shiny, your tongue is no longer coated.
Naturopaths will advise you to sunbathe during fasting and also to take enemas. Different from the homeopathic fast, the naturopathic fast advises you to reduce all physical and mental activities to a minimum.
Fasting and Holistic Healing
Holistic healing is a name for all healing methods that look for the root causes of an illness outside of the strictly biological. Holistic healing can be attempted side by side conventional healing or any traditional healing method. During a holistic healing diagnosis a person’s emotional well-being, mental health and religious beliefs are given as much importance as the actual biological problem.
Holistic fasting is advised as it is a practice that has the threefold function of creating a new balance in the body, in the mind and in the spirit. Holistic practitioners will say that during a fast you are allowing your “inner healer” to emerge.
The Detoxification Symptoms of Fasting
During a fast the body rapidly eliminates toxins. People might feel that the fasting is bad for them because they are feeling some minor side effects. What they must understand is that the side effects are caused by the toxins they are eliminating from their bodies and not by the fasting in itself.
In an intermittent fast like the one suggested by Brad Pilon, these side effects are very minor, if present at all. In fasts that are longer than 3 days, the symptoms could be all the symptoms of intoxication, from nausea to diarrhea, bad breath and coated tongue, muscle aches, skin rashes and headaches.
The more intoxicated you are prior to beginning a fast, the more you might feel discomfort. For most people it is wise to do some preparation prior to a long fast and not eat fatty foods, smoke or drink for at least 3 days. They should also primarily eat fresh fruit and vegetables.
People that are not intoxicated will not feel any symptoms because the body is built to function well without food for several days and be strong and healthy. If it were not so, mankind would never have been able to hunt it’s food right up to the modern age!
Increase your metabolism, lose weight and improve your clarity of thought
Brad Pilon’s book covers all the “nuts and bolts” of effective fasting and also provides useful medical information. There are other books available on intermittent fasting, but in our opinion he is an authority on the subject and his specific method is carefully and cleverly constructed to be safe and easy to follow.
Another perk to this book is that you get a “lifelong membership” that keeps you updated on all the new research that has been done around the world. Read our full review, or