Therapeutic fasting is about both physical and mental cleansing. Unlike diets, the goal is not to lose body weight. In the long term, it can have healing effects. This is done by temporarily avoiding solid food. Read here how therapeutic fasting works and what you have to pay attention to.
What does therapeutic fasting mean?
Many people avoid unhealthy substances such as sugar, chocolate and alcohol during Lent. If you want to do a lot of good for your body in the long term, you can go on a “professional” fast. Therapeutic fasting goes back to the physician Otto Buchinger, but is also part of many ancient healing methods, philosophies and religions, so it is not an invention of the modern age. It should cleanse the body, mind and soul and thus protect against chronic diseases and strengthen the psyche. Here, you abstain from food (almost) completely. Withdrawal is intended to allow the body to recover and cleanse the intestines and other organs. At the same time, you need to drink plenty of fluids. Light exercise (e.g. walking in nature) and relaxation also support the process.
How does therapeutic fasting work?
Before you start the actual fasting, you have a “relief day” on which you only consume 1000 calories and from this point at the latest you also give up caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. Eat digestible foods like rice and steamed veggies. On the first day of fasting, you will do a colon cleanse: Mix one liter of water and 30 grams of Glauber's salt and drink it within 20 minutes. After 30 minutes you give your body a liter of water or, if you wish, tea. Then you must not consume more than 250 to a maximum of 500 calories and no solid food per day. Instead, you drink plenty, for example water or unsweetened herbal tea. There are many herbs that support the cleansing process. During therapeutic fasting (up to a maximum of 40 days), the menu consists of liquid food, for example:
- Vegetable broth.
- Fruit juices (be careful, lots of sugar!).
- Vegetable juices.
- Herbal teas.
You shouldn't fast longer than seven days without medical supervision, although I confess that I myself have fasted for much longer without medical supervision. In my opinion, it also depends on how you feel about it and no doctor can tell you that. If I feel good during the cure, for me personally I see no problem in fasting for a longer period (my max. is 17 days). I have also stopped fasting after a couple of days, since I didn’t feel well during the fast. Trust your body, trust your instincts.
To finish your fast, you initiate three build-up days to get the metabolism and digestion used to food intake again.
For your body, the lower calorie intake is initially a challenge. Various "withdrawal symptoms" or "detoxification symptoms" can occur, such as:
- Low blood pressure.
If you are interested in it, you can also look into the Herxheimer reaction to understand what is happening in the body during detox.
What are the advantages of therapeutic fasting?
Fasting can stimulate the body's self-healing powers and eliminate stored harmful substances. Therapeutic fasting can have a positive effect on various health complaints and illnesses, for example:
- Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatism and arthritis.
- Metabolic disorders.
- Intestinal and skin diseases.
- High blood pressure.
- Cardiovascular diseases.
- Psychosomatic disorders.
- Chronic pain such as migraines.
Fasting can also help to strengthen the body's defenses and prevent chronic diseases. For many, it is the start to a healthier diet. Therapeutic fasting is not suitable for everyone. Pregnant women and chronically ill people, should refrain from using it, although therapeutic fasting can potentially be of great help to the chronically ill in particular. In this case, talk to a doctor who has competence and experience in this area to find out whether fasting is an option for you.
The body and soul can be cleansed through therapeutic fasting or the temporary renunciation of solid food. It can help alleviate and prevent ailments and diseases, such as metabolic disorders and cardiovascular diseases. In addition, therapeutic fasting can support weight loss and positively influence the mood. At the end of the fast, plan three build-up days to make the transition back to normal eating. For many, it is the beginning of a sustainable change in diet and a more conscious lifestyle.