Fasting refers to complete abstinence from food for a short or long period for a specific purpose.
The word is derived from the old English, ‘feastan’ which means to fast, observe, be strict.
Fasting is nature’s oldest, most effective and yet least expensive method of treating disease. It is
recognised as the cornerstone of natural healing. Dr. Arnold Eheret, the originator of the
muscusless diet healing system, describes it as " nature’s only universal and omnipotent remedy
of healing" and "nature’s only fundamental law of all healing and curing. "
The practice of fasting is one of the most ancient customs. It is followed in almost every religion.The Christians,
the Mohammedan, the Buddhists, the Hindus and many others have their periods of strict
fasting. The saints of medieval times laid great stress on this method.
Fasting indisease was advocated by the school of natural philosopher, Asclepiades, more than
two thousand years ago. Throughout medical history, it has been regarded as one of the most
dependable curative methods. Hippocrates, Galen, Paracelsus and many other great authorities
on medicine prescribed it. Many noted modern physicians have successfully employed this
system of healing in the treatment of numerous diseases.
The common cause of all diseases is the accumulation of waste and poisonous matter in the
body which results from overeating. The majority of persons eat too much and follow sedentary
occupations which do not permit sufficient and proper exercise for utilisation of this large quantity
of food. This surplus overburdens the digestive and assimulative organs and clogs up the
system with impurities or poisons. Digestion and elimination become slow and the functional
activity of the whole system gets deranged.
The onset of disease is merely the process of ridding the system of these impurities. Every
disease can be healed by only one remedy – by doing just the opposite of what causes it, that is,
by reducing the food intake or fasting.
By depriving the body of food for a time ,the organs of elimination such as the bowels, kidneys,
skin and lungs are given opportunity to expel, unhampered, the overload of accumulated waste
from the system. Thus, fasting is merely the process of purification and an effective and quick
method of cure. It assists nature in her continuous effort to expel foreign matter and disease
producing waste from the body, thereby correcting the faults of improper diet and wrong living. It
also leads to regeneration of the blood as well as the repair and regeneration of the various
tissues of the body.
The duration of the fast depends upon the age of the patient, the nature of the disease and the
amount and type of drugs previously used. The duration is important, because long periods of
fasting can be dangerous if undertaken without competent professional guidance. It is, therefore,
advisable to undertake a series of short fasts of two to three days and gradually increase the
duration of each succeeding fast by a day or so. The period, however, should not exceed a week
of total fasting at a time. This will enable the chronically sick body to gradually and slowly
eliminate toxic waste matter without seriously affecting the natural functioning of the body. A
correct mode of living and a balanced diet after the fast will restore vigour and vitality to the
Fasting is highly beneficial in practically all kinds of stomach and intestinal disorders and in
serious conditions of the kidneys and liver. It is a miracle cure for eczema and other skin
diseases and offers the only hope of permanent cure in many cases. The various nervous
disorders also respond favourably to this mode of treatment.
Fasting should, however, not be restored to in every illness. In cases of diabetes, advanced
stages of tuberculosis, and extreme cases of neurasthenia, long fasts will be harmful. IN most
cases, however , no harm will accrue to fasting patients, provided they take rest, and are under
proper professional care.
The best, safest and most effective method of fasting is juice fasting. Although the old classic
form of fasting was a pure water fast, most ofthe leading authorities on fasting today agree that
juice fasting is far superior to a water fast. According to Dr. Rangar Berg, the world -famous
authority on nutrition, "During fasting the body burns up and excretes huge amounts of
accumulated wastes. We can help this cleansing process by drinking alkaline juice instead of
water while fasting … Elimina tion of uric acid and other inorganic acids will be accelerated. And
sugars in juices will strengthen the heart … juice fasting is, therefore, the best form of fasting. "
Vitamins, minerals, enzymes and trace elements in fresh, raw vegetable and fruit juices are
extremely beneficial in normalising all the body processes. They supply essential elements for
the body’s own healing activity and cell renegeration and thus speeding the recovery. All juices
should be prepared from fresh fruit immediately before drinking. Canned or frozen juices should
not be used.
A precautionary measure which must be observed in all cases of fasting is the complete
emptying of the bowels at the beginning of the fast by enema so that the patient is not bothered
by gas or decomposing matter formed from the excrements remaining in the body. Enemas
should be administered at least every alternate day during the fasting period. The patient should
get as much fresh air as possible and should drink plain lukewarm water when thirsty. Fresh
juices may be diluted with pure water. The total liquid intake should be approximately six to eight
A lot of energy is spent during the fast in the process of eliminating accumulated poisons and
toxic waste materials. It is, therfore, of utmost importance that the patients gets as much
physical rest and mental relaxation as possible during the fast. IN cases of fasts in which fruit
juices are taken, especially when fresh grapes, oranges or grapefruit are used exclusively, the
toxic wastes enter the blood -stream rapidly, resulting in an overload of toxic matter, which
affects normal bodily functions. This often results in dizzy spells, followed by diarrhoea and
vomiting. If this physical reaction persists, it is advisable to discontinue the fast and take cooked
vegetables containing adequate roughage such as spinach and beets until the body functioning
returns to normal.
The overweight person finds it much easier to go without food. Loss of weight causes no fear
and the patient’s attitude makes fasting almost a pleasure. The first day’s hunger pangs are
perhaps the most difficult to bear. The craving for food will, however, gradually decrease as the
fast progresses. Seriously sick persons have no desire for food and fasting comes naturally to
them. The simples rule is to stop eating until the appetite returns or until one feels completely
Only very simple exercises like short walks may be undertaken during the fast. A warm water or
neutral bath may be taken during the period. Cold baths are not advisable. Sun and air baths
should be taken daily. Fasting sometimes produces a state of sleeplessness which can be
overcome by a warm tub bath, hot water bottles at the feet and by drinking one or two glasses of
There are several benefit of fasting. During a long fast, the body feeds upon its reserves. Being
deprived of needed nutrients, particularly of protein and fats, it will burn and digest its own
tissues by the process of autolysis or self-digestion. But it will not do so indistriminately. The
body will first decompose and burn those cells and tissues which are diseased, damaged, aged
or dead. The essential tissues and vital organs, the glands, the nervous system and the brain
are not damaged or digested in fasting. Here lies the secret of the effectiveness of fasting as a
curative and rejuvenative method. During fasting, the building of new and healthy cells are
speeded up by the amino acids released from the diseased cells. The capacity of the eliminative
organs, that is, lungs, liver, kidneys and the skin is greatly increased as they are relieved of the
usual burden of digesting food and eliminating the resultant wastes. They are, therefore, able to
quickly expel old accumulated wastes and toxins.
Fasting affords a physiological rest to the digestive, assimilative and protective organs. As a
result, the digestion of food and the utilisation of nutrients is greatly improved after fasting. The
fast also exerts a normalising, stablising and rejuvenating effect on all the vital physiological,
nervous and mental functions.
Breaking of Fast
The success of the fast depends largely on hos it is broken. This is the most significant phase.
The main rules for breaking the fast are : do not overeat, eat slowly and chew your food
thoroughly ; and take several days for the gradual change to the normal diet. If the transition to
eating solid foods is carefully planned, there will be no discomfort or damage. The patient should
also continue to take rest during the transition period. The right food after a fast is as important
and decisive for proper results as the fast itself.