Fasting therapy is often used in Integrative medicine programs, Ayurveda, Yoga and Meditation therapy.
Many religions involve the custom of fasting. Jesus Christ fasted for 40 days in the wilderness. Moses fasted for 40 days on Mount Sinai and Buddha Shakyamuni meditated and fasted for 49 days. Muslims fast from dawn until dusk during the month of Ramadan, Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus also traditionally fast on designated days during the week or calendar year. Fasting is defined as abstinence or reduction of food, drink over a period of time.
Fasting is an important therapeutic practice in Ayurveda, Yoga and Meditation as they correct many imbalances. According to Ayurvedic practice which is over 5,000 years old, fasting rekindles the digestive fire which affects the functioning of other organs throughout the body and further results in improved mental clarity. Complementary and Alternative Medicine research is now uncovering scientific data that short controlled periods of fasting can provide numerous physical health benefits. However, conventional science has yet to develop the technology for effectively measuring emotional changes. Fasting in the traditional and religious sense is a form of natural body and mind detox.
According to yogic philosophy, fasting therapy is similar to meditation; it is about creating a void /space in the body which then allows for rest and recuperation. Moreover, fasting helps clear the toxins from the nadis (the network of energy channels) thus improving the flow of prana. As the nadi network extends to the body and the mind, the increased flow of prana or chi helps remove blockages on the physical level and helps clear the negative emotions from the mind.
Many yoga and meditation ashrams/retreats have fasting programs for the purpose of rejuvenating the body and bringing the mind and senses under control. Unlike dieting, the purpose of fasting according to the science of yoga and meditation is not about losing weight but to purify the body and the mind.
Modern science has now shown that fasting can improve biomarkers of disease. Complementary and Alternative Medicine studies have revealed that:
• Periodic fasting can reverse multiple features of the metabolic syndrome
• Enhances insulin sensitivity
• Stimulates lipolysis
• Reduces blood pressure
• Reduce body fat
Many integrative medicine programs incorporate fasting as part of their treatment regime. According to Ayurveda, you should fast according to your primary biotype/constitution. There are various types of fasting such as juice fasting, liquid protein fast, partial fast, intermittent fast, religious fast, yogic fast and more.
Fasting is the world’s most ancient and natural healing therapy for healing disease and rejuvenation, but it is important to consult your integrative medicine doctor or Complementary and Alternative Medicine practitioner if you have a chronic ailment, so they can advise the appropriate fasting regime.