History of Fasting

Theory of Fasting

The Technic Of Fasting

The Hygiene Of The Fast

Natural Therapy



ONE of the most serious obstacles to general acceptance of the fast as a therapeutic measure by both the public and the medical profession is the innate subconscious element of fear engendered by orthodox dicta that nourishment must be supplied lest vitality fail. Man must eat, sick or well, "to keep up strength." The degree to which this conception is fallacious may be gathered from the text; yet very recently medical science has "discovered" the efficacy of "short fasts" in the treatment of diabetes and in the reduction of obesity. Prediction is made that eventually all of the information gathered upon the therapeusis of the fast by those who, like the author, have devoted years of service to the task, will be adopted and claimed as original by the dominant cult.

It is unfortunate that enthusiasm produced by the beneficial effects of personal trial of abstinence from food for the relief of disease has caused the recipients of these benefits to rush into print, detailing their experiences and advising other sufferers to go and do likewise. In greater part the articles and books referred to have been written by men incompetent of understanding more than the mere results obtained in their own individual cases; and the consequences of such ill advised essays into unfamiliar fields are obvious. Regardless of the rationale of the method, and ignorant of the physiological changes that the administration of a fast involves, other inexperienced hands undertake the treatment without guidance, with the result that in many instances harm to the patient succeeds, with consequent unmerited adverse criticism of the method.

In the milder instances of functional illness no possible harm can result when food is omitted for one or for several days, provided the needful aids to elimination are employed. But protracted fasting in the absence of skilful, scientific guidance is, as indicated, fraught with the probability of injury to one who has the temerity to undertake the experience acting upon his own impulse.

If human bodies continued to exist from birth in the usually normal organic condition they then possess, the fast applied when functional disturbance occurs in all probability would proceed to its logical end without difficulty. But, through constant wrong living, through chronic abuse of the vital processes, through lowered muscular tone and consequent impedence of nerve force, and through the effects of symptomatic suppression by drug dosage, the average adult acquires defects in organic structure.

In infancy, when functional disease develops, a drug is given for the suppression of the symptom, and virtually always nourishment is supplied. Two errors in treatment are here noted--the administration of a substance reputed to possess properties that will remedy, that is, suppress, the symptom leaving the cause of the disturbance to take care of itself; and the ingestion of food by an organism which, because of disease, is incapable of digesting the same. The results are that in many instances the children die; in others, functional paralysis of portions of the alimentary tract is caused; in still others, the resistive powers of the infant are such as to permit it to survive, despite both dosage and the administration of food. Yet in the latter event harm rather than benefit derives, and, since the evil is done during the growing period, retardation of organic development occurs, and in future years disease symptoms arise at the points affected in infancy.

Careful observation of thousands of fasting subjects gives proof that a scientifically conducted fast will result in the correction of all ailments that are functional in cause, but that it can never, either through the effects of itself or of its auxiliaries, wholly overcome organic defects. However, the fast will do this--it will uncover the condition of the system, and, if defects or deficiencies exist, it will cause their nature to be clearly displayed. It is in effect an infallible diagnostic expedient.

One whose organs are functionally equal to the requirements of elimination undergoes a period of abstinence from food with no severe distressing symptoms. And, when unusual manifestations occur, it is virtually certain that in some degree defects in organism lie within the body. Post mortem examination of subjects who died while a fast was in progress has given convincing evidence upon this point, and it has further demonstrated that in these cases death would have happened whether the patient were fasting or feeding. To this may be added the observation that, because of lessened organic labor, life in the instances referred to was for a time prolonged. But there are cases in whom distressing symptoms appear as results of organic deficiency which has not yet progressed to an incurable state. These cases may, under proper guidance, hope for relief that may prove permanent.

A drug with regard to its effects upon the animal body may be said to be any substance that will influence metabolism--the continuous process by which living cells undergo chemical change. Hence a drug also influences the functioning of the vital organs. According to this definition foods, even though they be excellent in quality and reasonable in quantity, react as drugs upon the organism. That is to say, food both influences metabolism and the functioning of the vital organs. But food is not necessarily poisonous in its effects as are all substances ordinarily classified as drugs; yet it is easily seen that, if taken in too great quantity, if not properly combined, if ingested when hunger is absent or when emotion is aroused, or if it be unwholesome in quality, food will act as poison upon tissue and upon organic function. In like manner substances formed within the body from the process of tissue waste may act as do drugs upon living cells. This occurs when elimination is inadequate, and hence arise the auto-toxins, through the effects of which systemic resistance, that is, immunity from disease, is reduced, and the way opened for the large group of so-called infectious maladies.

It cannot be fairly assumed that, upon dissecting a body after death, lesions that are present in any organ are due solely to previous drugging. Where two such agencies as disease and drugs have been simultaneously acting upon a living organism, it is difficult, in the absence of a standard, to decide whether a specific result is due to one, or to the other, or to both. But it is a significant fact that, in every instance of death occurring during a fast as recorded in the writer's experience, each of the subjects, with but a single exception, had been drugged in early life, and that the effects of this dosage upon vital organs and tissue, as shown in arrested development and in structural change, were precisely such as could and would have been caused by an active poison. Preponderance of evidence gathered from the findings of these autopsies makes for the presence at some period previous to death of some toxic substance, some active noxious agent, that permanently and harmfully affected tissue structure.

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