History of Fasting

Theory of Fasting

The Technic Of Fasting

The Hygiene Of The Fast

Natural Therapy


As mentioned, disease and cure are a unity. The former may not be suppressed lest the latter fail of attainment. In order that a clear conception of the substance of the text may be obtained, a short explanation of the meaning of the thought expressed in the first sentence and of the principles upon which the efficacy of the fast in the treatment of disease is based is essential. It is also necessary, for the purpose of defining the distinction that exists between fasting and starvation, to discuss later on the physiological changes developed in the progress of the latter phenomenon, since, in the popular mind, fasting is invariably confounded with starvation.

Fasting is defined as follows:--the voluntary denial of food to a system which is diseased, and which, because of disease, neither demands nor desires nourishment until, rested, purified, and with hunger in evidence, it is again able to resume its metabolic processes. Then, and not till then, is food supplied; then, and not till then, does starvation begin.

For the purposes of the text starvation is defined as the denial of food, by accident or design, to a system needing and demanding sustenance. Hunger, true desire for food, indicates the want and calamitous consequences ensue when its call is denied.

Relieving physical unbalance by voluntarily withholding food is based upon the logical conclusion of the argument herein that, disregarding the variously designated symptoms by which disease is manifested in differing subjects, always there is present one predominating morbid phenomenon--an impure blood current. And the cause of impure blood is primarily faulty nutrition.

An important distinction in condition here needs exposition. Organic disease, whether inherent, or the result of continued functional disturbance, or of physical shock, is that in which one or more of the organs of the body is deformed, undeveloped, or otherwise structurally disabled so as to interfere with its work, a state comparable to that of a machine with a defective cog.

Functional disease is that in which the vital organs in general are in condition to do their work, but certain of them have become unable partially or wholly to function by reason of congestion and irritation, the result of food chemically changed into noxious substances through causes later to be related in detail. In this state fermentation and putrefaction occur in the intestinal canal and elsewhere, and toxins are produced that enter the blood, thus impairing its quality and deranging the vital processes. Extra labor is also entailed upon other organs, since they are not only stimulated in unwonted degree by the presence of substances harmful to their action, but are also compelled to perform, in so far as they may, the work of their disabled allies.

Organic disease is a cause in itself of faulty nutrition, for, when it is present, the organs affected are always partially crippled in function. While this form of disease is usually beyond the hope of recovery, its harmful results may be reduced to a minimum by means of judicious application of the fast at properly regulated intervals; and a combination of abstinence from food with corrective dieting will lengthen the life of the sufferer to the degree to which a defective organism will permit vitality to operate.

Functional disease and its ultimate consequence, functionally caused organic disease, are the results of nutrition impaired by incorrect methods in feeding, by improper selection of food, or by a supply beyond the power of the metabolic processes to handle. The latter include those operations by which on the one hand dead food is converted into living tissue, and on the other by which living matter is broken down into simpler products in a cell or organism. In any of the circumstances poisons are produced that injure the system, until finally the condition becomes general and disease is apparent. The subject cannot have been ignorant of disturbance for some time previous to actual disability, for minor aches and pains have given ample warning. Mild preventive steps, taken when symptoms first appear, will obviate by anticipative action later drastic measures, but natural resident power of contending against bodily abuse is limited only by individual characteristics, and these may permit of extended transgression of hygienic law. Usually a positive halt is not called until the physical machinery has been well nigh obstructed with food waste and its products .

It is possible that at first sight the principles here set forth may not be fully apprehended, hence, as important premises to the argument, they are again enumerated for reference by the student in connection with the body of the text.

In disease, whatever abnormal conditions are present, whatever the nominal symptom, an impure blood stream is always discovered.

Impure blood is caused primarily by impaired nutrition.

Impaired nutrition results from

(a) Taking into the body food wrongly selected in kind or in quantity, wrongly prepared, or wrongly masticated.

(b) Taking into the body food that may have been correctly selected, prepared, and eaten, but that in quantity is greater than is needed for the repair and growth of tissue.

(c) Nerve force inhibited at its source, at some point in transmission, or by reflexive stimulus, irritation, at its termini.

(d) Mental perturbation, such as worry, fear, jealousy, anger, and the like.

Any of these causes being operative, food ingested fails of complete digestion, ferments and putrefies, generating circulating poison that creates and continues disease until the producing cause can be eliminated.

Inherent or congenital organic disease and functionally caused organic disease in its later stages embody defects in form, size, or cell structure of any one of the vital organs. Except in rare instances through surgical intervention, such structural deficiencies are beyond the hope of repair, but a carefully selected dietary combined with judicious application of the fast and its accessories will afford relief and prolong existence.

In disease that is purely functional in cause the vital organs are normally developed and are physically perfect in structure, but are obstructed in action by food-excess and its toxic products. Functionally caused disease is a condition that always admits of full recovery, and cure is a certainty when natural law is permitted its course.

Any symptom of disease is evidence of poison circulating in the blood. The conventional method of treatment invariably aims at the suppression of the symptom rather than at the removal of its cause. On the other hand, the natural manner of handling the situation recognizes disease as health perverted, and far from attempting to suppress its symptoms it aims at still further uncovering the condition by assisting the action of the very evident eliminative process in operation. And oftentimes this assistance of the eliminative function results in an aggravation of symptoms, in an apparent increase in the severity of disease. This is a purely logical and salutary consequence of natural curative phenomena. Disease in itself being but a process of the elimination of toxins from the system, nature, given free rein, thus expresses herself in determined effort towards the restoration of health, the normal state of physical existence

Hunger and disease cannot exist simultaneously in the animal body. This is a truth that cannot be too strongly emphasized. When hunger is absent because of disease, food is required neither for cell rebuilding nor for strength, and all animate creation, save man, obeys the primal law of abstinence when the physical scale no longer balances. Knowing that disease arises from a single source, natural therapeutics knows as well but a single means of relief--rest for organs overworked, and prompt removal by natural aids of substances deleterious to health.

To revert to the symptoms of disease--the function of digestion is generally regarded as an extensive and complicated process, and it is so closely related to the functions of other parts of the body that it is difficult to describe the bounds, if any, beyond which digestion has no influence. The digestive apparatus is commonly spoken of as including the alimentary canal and those important glands that contribute secretions to the successive processes involved; but, as absorption and assimilation, on the one hand, and formation and withdrawal of waste products, on the other, are so nearly related to preliminary digestion, it is impossible to form a clear conception of disease of the digestive organs, for instance, without observing the state of other and contributory parts of the body. While it makes for simplicity of description to exclude those organs not commonly grouped with the digestive apparatus, this does not result in a correct understanding, and therefore, if an explanation is to be found, not only for a disturbed physiological state, but also, in instances, for structural changes in the digestive organs, the field must be widened, and study be directed to the nervous system, including its physical manifestations, to the fluids of the body, to the rebuilding and breaking-down of tissue, and to the eliminative functions as well. Unconsciously a great part of the importance of this general view is perhaps recognized when it is assumed that good digestion depends upon restful sleep, fresh air, sunlight, physical exercise, and activity of the bowels, kidneys, and skin. But, disregarding these essential matters, it is difficult to apprehend the nature of digestive disturbances, or to prescribe for their relief. It may truly be said of an individual that, in a sense, his digestive ailment arises in the brain, in the lungs, in the heart, or in the kidneys, but the distinctions and differences stated must be clearly kept in mind lest the idea of the unity of disease and cure be clouded. It must be fully understood that the study of disease of the stomach is not limited to that organ, that the symptom expressed is merely that of disturbances that may be widely distributed throughout the body. Medicine has sought to give disease names that are specifically classified, names based upon the locality of expression of the symptom; but this, it is seen, is only a relatively justifiable conception. There are no symptoms referable solely to the kidneys, to the heart, to the blood; the man is sick from a single cause; his illness appears here or there, but his body is sick as a whole.

It is surprising to discover that the disturbances of the functions of the human body should not long since have been traced to their single source. Long ago should pain and other distressing symptoms of illness have been recognized as benevolent warnings, sharp reminders of a condition, not perhaps yet fully developed, but as warnings that in themselves should compel the repose that is necessary, and that should forbid admission into the body of substances that are injurious.

The doctrine of unity in the cause and cure of disease as set forth in the text of this work has been carefully and earnestly investigated by the author through a period of more than thirty years. Thousands of cases have been treated upon this basis, and each instance has but confirmed the conviction that the principle involved is absolutely sound. It has stood all tests. When death during a fast has occurred, the autopsy invariably revealed organic deficiency, inherent or acquired through years of continuous functional abuse. But in all cases of disease purely functional in cause, proper application of the method led to complete recovery.

So far as may be accomplished in a work of this size, the fast as a therapeutic agency, with its effects both upon the body and mind, is fully discussed. What is asked of the reader is that he lay aside prejudice and approach the subject without bias, keeping before the eyes of his mind the words of the apostle:--"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."

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