Introduction to Water Fasting
“The best of all medicines are rest and fasting” – Benjamin Franklin
(Therapeutic) Water Fasting- is defined as the complete abstinence from all substances except pure water in an environment of complete rest. When properly conducted, therapeutic fasting is one of the most potent tools available for helping the body in healing itself. However when abused or applied injudiciously, it can also harm.
Going without food even for a few days while working, exercising, worrying is not therapeutic fasting. A noisy, high stress environment will not provide the body the opportunity to maximize the self-healing mechanisms. To maximize the benefits of therapeutic fasting, complete rest is essential.
Eating only certain foods or drinking only juices is not therapeutic fasting. The physiological and clinical impact and benefits are different.
Proven throughout history for physical, mental and spiritual rejuvenation, fasting promotes cleansing and healing; helps normalize weight, blood pressure, cholesterol; rebuilds the immune system; and helps reverse the aging process.
If we are to get these poisons out of our bodies we must fast. By fasting we give our bodies a physiological rest. This rest builds vital force. The more vital force we have, the more toxins are going to be eliminated from the body to help keep it clean, pure and healthy.
The people who are propagating fasting say: “It has been too long to feed the sick on the theory that the sick must eat to keep up their strength”. In modern times the medical profession has taught the sick that they must eat to keep up their strength and that if they do not eat their resistance will be lowered and they will lose strength. The thought behind all of this is that unless the sick eat they are likely to die. The reverse of this is the truth, the more they eat, the more likely are they to die.
When animals are sick they refuse food. They fast themselves. Only when they are well, they resume eating. Food takes a tremendous amount of energy to digest. When you stop eating, your digestive system rests, and all the blood and energy can be put to heal you.
Records of fasting are found among almost all peoples in both ancient and modern times.The aims of fasting fall for reasons of spiritual enlightenment, self-discipline and health.
It is estimated that fasting for the alleviation of human suffering has been practiced uninterruptedly for 10,000 years. It has been employed from the time man first began to get sick. Fasting was part of the methods of natural healing. Hippocrates, the mythical Greek “Father of Physic” prescribed total abstinence from food while a “disease” was on the increase.
Fasting is the world’s most ancient and natural healing mechanism. Fasting triggers a wondrous cleansing process that reaches every cell and tissue in the body. Within 24 hours of reducing food intake, enzymes stop entering the stomach and travel instead into the intestines and into the bloodstream.
There they circulate and gobble up all sorts of waste matter, including dead and damaged cells, metabolic wastes, and pollutants. All organs and glands get a well-deserved rest, during which their tissues are purified and rejuvenated and their functions balanced and regulated.
It is in the fasting state that the body is given the opportunity to purify its tissues, to eliminate undesirable tissue accumulations, growth, etc. It also allows the body an opportunity to let stressed and abused tissues heal. By rebuilding immunity, health is naturally restored and disease disappears.
Almost all diseases begin in the digestive track. This includes diabetes, asthma, cancer, alzheimer’s, heart disease, memory loss, MS, etc. Your intestinal track is the origin of disease, and it is also the origin of your healing.
Where to Fast:
It is essential that the person who is going to undertake the fast should be placed in an environment conducive to complete rest. The body needs to adjust to the fasting physiology and the importance of rest should not be underestimated. The patient should have 24-hour access to a doctor trained and experienced in the use of fasting.
Before therapeutic fasting begins, a pre-fasting evaluation has to be done: the complete patient health history which include: an evaluation of previous illnesses, injury and treatment.
How Long to Fast:
Once the evaluation has been completed the next step would be to establish the duration of the fast. The fast itself is an important diagnostic tool in determining duration. The signs and symptoms that occur during the fast for each individual patient would provide the experienced practitioner with important information about the length of a fast needed.
Breaking the Fast:
As with all aspects of fasting, proper termination of the fast is a highly individual matter. The decision to terminate a fast is based on an evaluation of numerous factors, including the patient’s history, symptomatic presentation, examination results, laboratory results, as well as their psychological state and personal circumstances.
One of the characteristics of therapeutic fasting is the healing crisis. It is important to understand the healing crisis and avoid interfering with this necessary and productive process. We always try to terminate a fast during a period of stability. Most fasts will be terminated with fresh fruits or vegetables or their juices.
After the Fast:
The most important period of the fast is the initial time after completing fasting. Too rapid return to food and activity can be disastrous. Improper feeding or activity after the fast can seriously disrupt this process. The body must be given an opportunity to develop a preference for whole, natural foods, appropriate physical activity, etc.
The greatest contraindication to fasting is fear. A lack of understanding of the fasting process can present some problems.
Extreme weakness in various diseases associated with muscular wasting
There are numerous medications that can complicate the fasting process.
Certain types of cancer
Severe kidney disease
With proper supervision and careful clinical monitoring, therapeutic fasting is safe and effective.
However, anyone contemplating a therapeutic fast should get in touch with a certified professional who is trained and specialize in the supervision of therapeutic fasting.
Therapeutic fasting means taking pure water while ensuring complete physical and emotional rest. This unique process maximizes the healing potential of the body, allowing it to “clean house” and quickly restore a state of higher health.
Therapeutic fasting should be supervised by a properly trained hygienic doctor and should be followed by appropriate dietary and lifestyle modifications. When properly implemented, therapeutic fasting is extremely effective in creating an internal environment in which the body can heal itself. This article is contributed by Barbara Tomasik.
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