The Benefits Of Fasting
Fasting has been practiced and promoted worldwide since antiquity by physicians, therapists, religion founders or followers making this practice one of the oldest treatments and the most effective ever known!
Fasting is an action of willing abstinence from certain or all food for a period of time with the purpose of valuable self-transformation. Many people consider that fasting simply means refraining from food while others consider it a direct way to control their basic instincts...
Today the medical community agrees that, if done wisely, fasting is an effective, powerful mean of self-healing!
All religions and belief systems integrate fasting as a spiritual practice, not necessarily in an unitary form ... even within the same religion the fasting requirements may differ from one geographic area to another. Thus, there are many types of fast all around the world, some of them being quite difficult to accomplish.
The most accessible type of fast restricts only the consumption of animal flesh while the most challenging, the complete fasting, restricts all kinds of food and drink, except water, for several days or weeks. During this challenge the body mobilizes huge dormant resources making possible for some people (religious mystics, monks) to carry on complete fasting over several years.
For instance, the mythology of Ayurveda (“the divine science of revelation”), says that its entire healing system has been given by revelation following many years in fasting and prayer.
Although there are many similarities between fasting and dieting, a very neat distinction should be made between them. There is no unanimity in differentiating between a simple diet and any form of fast. However, whether a diet is aimed only at overcoming a situation causing physical suffering, fasting seeks to eliminate the root of suffering by triggering a complex process of transformation at all levels.
In other words, if the objectives of a regular diet are strictly related to the body, fasting addresses beneficial influences of the human being as a whole (body, mind and soul). Fasting has the power to act on every aspect of the human being and is an opportunity for physical, mental and spiritual cleaning.
Fasting may be used in many ways and for many purposes ... For instance, it may be an effective solution for preparing the body for natural remedies ingestion. In a regular diet flow herbal remedies will be harder to spot because of their subtle action, and may be lost in the mass of substances ingested daily. If the diet is purified and contains light food, easy to digest, with minimal toxicity and a capacity of stimulating internal transformation processes than the natural remedies may act quickly and efficiently.
There are many types of fasting, many of them being really hard to carry on... we may speak of 7 main difficulty levels.
Abstaining from meat (including fish)
Abstaining from meat, eggs, milk (including milk products such as butter and cheese)
Abstaining from meat, eggs, milk and oil
Abstaining from all foods and beverages except bread and water
Abstaining from all foods and beverages except water for one day
Abstaining from all foods and beverages for one day
Abstaining from all foods and beverages except water for several days
This classification has a Christian Orthodox filiation, but many other combinations are practiced around the world (i.e. abstaining from all foods and beverages except bread and water just to name one). The Christian fast is based on an annual cycle comprising several fasting periods when the meat and products of animal origin are excluded, which alternate with normal diet periods.