Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time, The word is derived from the old English , ‘Feastan’ means to fast, observe, be strict. In Sanskrit ‘Vrath’ means ‘determination’ and ‘Upavasa’ means ‘near to God’. A fast may be total or partial and may be prolonged or intermittent as to the period of fasting. Fasting is an important treatment modality for health preservation. In fasting, mental preparedness is an essential pre- condition. Prolonged fasting should be done only under the supervision of a competent Naturopath.
The duration of the fast depends upon the age of the patient, the nature of the disease and amount and type of drugs previously used. It is sometimes advisable to undertake series of short fasts of two or three days and gradually increase the duration of each succeeding fast by a day or so. No harm will occur to fasting patient provided they take rest and are under proper professional care.
Methods of fasting are water, juices and fruits. During fasting, the body burns up and excretes huge amounts of accumulated wastes and uses the reserved fat. Thereby it corrects the metabolism and achieves the optimum health.
When we are fast the vital force will fully concentrated on repair and healing of the cellular components of the body. The energy utilized for digestion is fully transformed for the curing mechanism of the body.
The total liquid intake should be approximately six to eight glasses. A lot of energy is spent during the fast in the process of eliminating accumulated poisons and toxic waste materials. It is therefore of utmost importance that the patient gets as much physical rest and mental relaxation as possible during the fast.
The success of the fast depends largely on how it is broken. The main rules for break in the fast are do not over eat, eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly and take several days for the gradual change to the normal diet. During fasting complete physical mental and sensory rest is needed.