“Fasting is the greatest remedy –the physician within.”
For a decade or more, fasting, cleanses, and detox diets were all the rage. Nutritionists and medical professionals downplayed the benefits, but today research shows that periodic fasting can be useful for a wide range of issues from weight loss to mitigating the effects of chemotherapy. Recent studies suggest that a three day fast may even regenerate the entire immune system. Not only is fasting good for the body, it can have profound effects in many areas of our lives.
Fasting for the body
The human body is capable of miraculous feats of healing and regeneration. Fasting jump-starts the body’s healing capabilities, and though there is no one-size-fits-all prescription, nearly any ailment may show improvement after a fast. Fasting appears to be particularly beneficial for asthma, autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, skin conditions, digestive disorders, and even cardiovascular disease. Modern eating habits keep our bodies in a constant state of overload, and fasting allows the body to catch up and begin to clear out built-up toxins.
Fasting, particularly intermittent fasting, may promote weight loss; but more than that it creates a break in eating patterns, allowing us to take a step back and take a clear look at our relationship with food. Clarifying why we eat what we do, and when, can help create new and healthy patterns.
Fasting for the mind
Fasting promotes focus and clarity of mind. On a more physical level, there is even evidence that it may protect against neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and depression, and against age-related degenerative brain diseases.
Fasting can also help improve concentration, reduce anxiety levels, and promote better sleep. One of the perils of modern life is feeling the need to rush through everything; fasting allows us to slow down, focus inward, examine our motivations and responses and recalibrate our minds along with our bodies. Old patterns or blockages may be more easily released or reshaped.
Fasting for the spirit
Nearly every spiritual practice advocates some form of fasting. Because it teaches us to focus inward, it demands that we become quiet and listen. Fasting is akin to a physical form of meditation. When we become still and listen, when we quiet the chatter of the body and the mind, we are able to subtly separate ourselves from mundane reality, and become attuned to higher realms. Meditation or prayer become easier, messages or guidance received clearer. Balance becomes attainable.
Fasting can be a tool for transformation, both physical and psychological. For body, mind, and spirit, it may truly be the simplest and the greatest remedy.