WHEN AND WHY TO FAST
TO FAST IS WHEN ONE IS ILL:
FASTING is indicated only when illness impends or is in actual evidence. No need exists in health for the employment of measures for the alleviation of pain and distress for these signs are non-evident when physical balance is the rule. Remedial means are necessary only in illness, impending or actual, and then alone should the fast and its accessories be applied.
In disease nature is in process of purifying the body--is casting out its waste, thus cleansing the system in preparation for active, healthy rebuilding. The fast as an eliminative measure is comparable to no other agency known, but before entering upon a period of abstinence from food, the subject, whether under guidance or conducting his own case, should fully comprehend the details of the truth that physical lack of balance is due to a single cause. The symptoms that then are present, or that may arise thereafter during the fast or upon a dietary regimen, need occasion no alarm, for their source is understood and their meaning is rightly conceived as therapeutic in character. Omission of food permits the eliminative organs to act unhampered by intake, and in this omission and in the employment the essential hygienic accessories is discovered the sole means of assistance that will assure permanent relief. Alleviation of symptomatic distress may, however, be accomplished locally through simple measures--dry heat, hot fomentations, cold applications, sunlight, fresh air, body manipulation, vertebral adjustment, and the baths and the enema.
Illness never occurs at the convenient moment. Its warnings may develop in any season of the year, and they should promptly be heeded regardless of personal inconvenience or of climatic situation. To wait until disease develops locally is always disastrous, and in the therapeutics of nature diagnosis is unnecessary, for natural measures for relief in any and all illness are identical in essence, varying only in minor details. During a fast, because of the absence of food stimulation, of the heat-producing chemical reactions normal to health, the body is easily chilled, hence it is at times suggested that the fast wait for the warm weather of summer. But, again, the time to fast is when ill, and one should never be deterred from undergoing treatment because the season is not propitious. Artificial means of maintaining indoor temperature are always available, and the needful hygienic requirements may be utilized with equal facility and success whether outer air be warm or cold.
It is to be noted that the winter season is nature's time of rest and recuperation. Then trees and plants are dormant, many animals hibernate, and all nature prepares for the growing period, the resurrection of the spring. Man, because of artificial environment and custom, and with the thought that the body heat is derived solely from fuel consumed, from food ingested, eats more heavily in winter and approaches spring with a system overloaded with waste. Spring fever and spring tonic are reciprocating terms, and epidemic disease is more prevalent then than at any other season.
The symptoms by which disease is exhibited may be specifically named and classified--it may be said that the subject suffers from Bright's disease, from eczema, from diphtheria, or from small-pox, but behind the symptom lies the cause, and, as before stated, the body is not to be thought of as ill in a specific locality or in an individualized organ. It is sick as a whole, though the signs of physical unbalance are more visible, more severely expressed, in one part or another. Illness results when equilibrium no longer exists between nutrition and elimination, resulting in a blood current vitiated at its source, powers of resistance lowered, and soil for germs produced. One remedy alone may cope with this condition, and it is that which nature indicates and employs--elimination of the toxins that cause disease, and rest for organs that have been functioning under stress.
Nature inevitably focuses her efforts at cure upon the point or points of least resistance, upon those outlets of the body that are least able to withstand the pressure exerted to expel material noxious to the system. In health the latter is discharged through those channels that are especially designed for the purpose. The simplest forms in which illness is manifested are colds, headaches, and rashes that appear upon the skin. Because of injudicious feeding, of congestion and overwork, the digestive organs are hampered in function. Elimination through bowels, kidneys, lungs, and skin is naturally continued to the limit of the power of these organs. When any one of them is overtaxed, a portion of its labor is necessarily thrown upon the others. They respond, and in responding they too show distress. When the skin is thus called upon for work beyond its limitations, pimples or rashes appear on its surface. Likewise when the breathing apparatus labors with excess of toxic matter, the latter appears as a discharge from the mucus membrane of the throat and the nose, and, if these organs are unable to cope with their unaccustomed task, the lungs in turn are called upon, and, unless speedily relieved, they become clogged and inflamed, a condition dangerous in the extreme. Normally equal balance should exist among all of the organs of elimination. Each should perform its allotted task proportionately with the others. The arms of the scale of intake and outgo should constantly remain at level, and this they do when health is the rule.
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