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F
asting
 
Fasting for Health and as an Anti-Aging Strategy

© Leon Chaitow ND, DO, MRO

Fasting is arguably the most natural and effective health enhancing measure available - or at least it was. Lengthy fasts, up to 100 days, used to be carried out regularly with spectacular results and usually following a predictable pattern.

Because of the accumulation in the fatty tissues of almost everyone on the planet of toxic debris from petrocarbons to dioxin and DDT fasting may not be such a safe option any longer, or at least lengthy fasts which produce an uncontrolled delivery of the toxic debris into the bloodstream may no longer be safe unless under strict supervision.

There are arguably only three broad strategies which can offer a beneficial change to the inevitable decline in health caused by biochemical, mechanical (posture etc) and emotional stressors impacting anyone's defense systems:

  1. Removal of causes (improved nutrition, exercise patterns, relaxation) so reducing the demands being made on the adaptive, repair and defense capabilities of the body.
  2. Improvement of the adaptive, repair and defense capabilities of the body by methods which enhance immune and repair functions.
  3. Treatment of the symptoms - either in a way which causes no new problems (the ideal) or in ways which mask symptoms and actually create new problems, depending upon which model of health care you follow.
Natural Healing Objectives
Unlike the use of medication and much surgical intervention which impose solutions, or which makes forced alterations to particular situations, natural healing methods have a respect for the self-healing (homeostatic) potentials of the body.

This is sometimes referred to as 'vis medicatrix naturae' or the 'healing power of nature'. In German texts it is often referred to as 'awakening the physician within', and in more scientific terminology as 'enhancing homeostasis'.

Such methods appear to work by allowing space, giving a healing opportunity and doing the opposite of forcing a solution, which may offer only short term benefits.

Fasting sits at the centre of such approaches, along with relaxation and meditation methods, the use of relaxing hydrotherapy methods (such as the 'neutral bath'), the use of non-specific bodywork ('wellness massage' and aromatherapy relaxation methods for example) and employment of techniques which have a balancing, harmonising, normalising influence - including some herbal and acupuncture methods. None of these methods, in themselves, is 'curative', but all allow a healing potential to operate more efficiently because they offer the body-mind complex physiological rest,essential time, space and reduced demands which encourages normalisation and recovery, irrespective of whatever is wrong.

This is not to say that such methods can produce absolute remedies in all cases, since in many instances pathology will have created so much change, so much damage, that the best that can be hoped for is that matters do not get worse, or that there is a marginal improvement. This is nevertheless an infinitely better outcome than a steady decline into ever more ill health.

Trevor Salloum ND describes the benefits of fasting,

"Decreased weight, clearer skin, increased elimination, tissue repair, decreased pain and inflammation, increased concentration, relaxation, plus spare time and savings in the cost of food.Perhaps the greatest benefit is the satisfaction that you are taking a major role in improving your health."(1)
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About The Author
A practicing naturopath, osteopath, and acupuncturist in the United Kingdom, with over forty years clinical experience, Chaitow is Editor-in-Chief, of the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. He regularly lectures in the United States as well as Europe where he instructs......more
 
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