FEATURE: Fasting for Health

There is no product; no food, drink or remedy, including so-called natural remedies, which can give you a helping hand back to health. It is only your infinitely wise body which knows how to achieve this, and only your body can lead the way forward under favorable conditions. Fasting is the most favorable condition for this to take place.

You may have heard a little about the tremendous health benefits of fasting before now, but perhaps you do not know very much about it. In this article, I will seek to explain to the reader about the main points surrounding the issue of fasting, and discuss how fasting allows the body superior healing and detoxification.

What is a Fast?

The word ‘fast’ is often used very misleadingly. People often say that they are on a ‘juice fast’ when they are living on juices for a set period of time. If they were truly on a juice fast, they would not be partaking in any juices! The true meaning of the word fasting is actually ‘to abstain from’ something. Fasting, therefore, in its true sense, means abstaining from food. We must always bear in mind, of course, that water is very much a necessity to life, and must always be consumed whether an individual is fasting or not, in some form or another. The purest water is distilled water.

The History

Fasting was introduced by the earliest natural hygienists (hygiene meaning health – derived from the Greek Goddess of Health, Hygiea). Fasting has been practiced for many thousands of years. In fact, is has been reported that Jesus believed very much in fasting and aided in the fasting of others. Even those before him were reported to have fasted. Many of you will, of course, have observed your own companion animals fasting (refusing to eat) when they have been unwell. This is natural and instinctive behavior – something which unfortunately many humans are far removed from nowadays! In the wild, animals will instinctively fast when they are not feeling well.

Why Fast?

A true fast, when we only take pure, distilled water into our body, enables our body to enjoy a complete physiological rest. During this time our bodies are able to conduct a much faster healing process than at any other time because we are saving energy by not consuming foods. During the processes of consumption (ingestion), digestion, assimilation and absorption of food our bodies work very hard (with some food items bearing a much heavier burden on the body particularly meat, fish, fowl and animal products). So, in the normal process of events in our everyday lives, our bodies do not have the available energy, nor the opportunity to conduct advanced house-cleaning and it is often enough for it to carry out the functions necessary to life itself.

During our time of fasting we need to rest in bed to allow the most superior healing to take place on all levels – we rest ourselves mentally, physically, physiologically and emotionally. This can only be obtained in a stress-free and peaceful environment, a place far away from the interruptions and disturbances of modern living. Emotional poise during the fasting period is of utmost importance. It is only under these conditions that we can maximize the benefits of the fast and allow enhanced cellular functionality.

Indications for Fasting

The following are a few points which may indicate your need to fast:

  1. Do you generally wake up feeling tired in the morning?
  2. Do you have problems digesting raw, natural foods?
  3. Does eating leave you feeling tired or in pain?
  4. Is your skin spotty, dry, over-oily or otherwise not in perfect condition?
  5. Do you often have a runny nose or a cough?
  6. Do you have bad breath?
  7. Are your bowel movements often smelly or too runny?
  8. Are your bowel movements infrequent or constipated?
  9. Do you often feel depressed?
  10. Have you been getting a lot of headaches just lately? (This could mean other things, apart from internal toxicity)
  11. Do you feel uncomfortable when you miss a meal?
  12. Are you overweight or underweight? (In some circumstances fasting can heal the very conditions which are preventing people from gaining weight)
  13. Do you suffer from acute or chronic disease?
  14. Do you have an important decision to make in your life, but feel unable to do so? (Fasting is an amazing way of clearing our heads and allowing us more clarity of thought.)

Answering yes to more than one of these questions does indicate that a fast may be in order.

What Does the Body do During a Fast?

During a fast our body will often take a much-needed opportunity to catch up on the elimination of toxic debris which has inevitably accumulated in different areas of our body, in particular, our liver (this process is called detoxification). Detoxification will be speeded up heavily during a fast, in fact, more so than at any other time. Your body will heal and repair itself generally, working on the most important ‘repair jobs’ there are. It may heal and remove scar tissue from around the gastrointestinal tract, or plaque material from the intestines, it may rid itself of blood clots, heal bodily organs – in fact, there is no end to what a body can do during a fast! Often, shortly after a fast a person will feel very invigorated and ‘high’ – quite euphoric in fact. They will often look and feel years younger! The body will take every opportunity to gear itself toward health on every level; it just needs the right conditions to do so.

Fasting is a good way of healing many and varied disease conditions including most digestive disorders such as colitis, gastritis, ileitis (Crohn’s disease), ulcerative colitis, many skin and respiratory disorders, allergies, addictive behavior patterns and emotional disorders as well as depression, anxiety, etc., certain heart and circulatory disorders, certain cancers, certain liver and kidney disorders, etc., etc.

A competent, trained fasting supervisor must always be obtained for a fast of longer than one and a half days duration. This is imperative as various bodily activities must be monitored during a fast. Please note that there have been people in the past who have fasted themselves and ended up killing themselves through lack of bodily awareness and knowledge! Do not attempt to fast yourself unless you are very skilled and experienced in this process and indeed properly trained in its supervision (even then it is often advisable to also have somebody on hand should any emergencies arise).

As mentioned, I do not in any way advocate people fasting on their own aside from very short fasts. Also, and for proper therapeutic fasts, I am of the opinion that it is not necessarily profitable that people who have certain cancerous conditions, chronic heart conditions or other severe degenerative conditions fast. If you do intend to fast, you are strongly recommended to seek the services of a qualified and skilled fasting supervisor such as the author who will need to have full details of your medical and dietary history.

Dr Gina Shaw DSc MA AIYS Dip Irid Dip NH is a health and nutrition consultant and Doctor of Complementary Medicine, iridologist and fasting and detox plan supervisor. Gina has helped people recover from a plethora of acute and chronic diseases and has appeared in The Times after healing a client of Ulcerative Colitis. She has been on local radio and has lectured around the country. She is the author of several health books and offers personal and group detox and fasting retreats both in the UK and in Europe.

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