Fasting guidliness

Fasting guidelines by eminent homeopathy doctor - Dr S. Chidambaranathan B.H.M.S, MD. Madurai, Chennai

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Advantages and disadvantages

Recreation and holidays refresh everyone. Usually, we take rest during the weekends. Sometimes we go on holidays to give more rest to the body and mind. Ultimately every one needs rest. The stomach too. But we don’t give rest to the stomach even during recreation or holidays. Really holidays for the stomach – fasting – is refreshing for the stomach. Everyone finds that digestion is better after fasting. From olden days, fasting is practised at different periods and on different occasions throughout life.
Because of the lasting effect of fasting, it was made part of religion. Christians fast for 40 days during Easter, Muslims fast for 40 days during Ramzan, Hindus fast often, i.e. every week Friday or Tuesday or during the days of Sashti (7days) and during Navarathri festival (9 days). Apart from God’s grace, fasting helps us in many ways. One among them is making the stomach energetic and healthy.
Stomach is the most commonly overstrained or misused part of our body. In this era of fast foods, we give less importance to fasting. We do not care for the quality of food. Also we skip regular breakfast or meals and take oily chips, pizza, burger, canned or bottled soft drinks, etc. Even in regular meals, we use more meat, chillies, spices, pickles, salt, etc., which are supposed to strain the stomach and intestines. Eating has nowadays become an addiction. We eat whatever we like in large quantities at any time. We have started giving more importance to the tongue than the stomach.
Usually, we get energy and growth from the digested food. If the stomach is not properly maintained, then there won’t be good digestion or absorption and there will be lack of energy. The stomach is able to grind food particles with acid secretion to form a pasty chyme. In case of any mental strain, acid secretion will be more, eroding the stomach lining, causing ulcers. So, overeating, tension-filled life and sedentary habits lead to many stomach disorders.

FASTING – literally means avoiding foods or drinks. EAT TO LIVE AND NOT LIVE TO EAT is a popular saying. Nowadays, this saying and fasting is followed only by obese persons to reduce weight. Everyone fasts overnight and ends it with break-fast. Fasting is also most liberally practised by many, in different types i.e. with juices or water or natural foods or after sunset or during daytime. Fasting with taking just juice is usually best for the stomach, since juice supplies essential nutrients and acts as a cleanser. Also it is safer and easy to practice, compared to fasting with just water.
Fasting can be considered as a process of cleaning or healing. It magically refreshes each and every cell of our body. The entire alimentary canal is swept clean by fasting. It is usually prescribed with rest from olden days for betterment of fever, any acute illness, indigestion, etc. It is also said to be the “best of all medicines”.
If you have fever or any acute illness, first advice from any doctor will be to avoid solid foods and to take easily digestible liquid foods. Fever or any acute illness is supposed to be a suffering of different parts. Then, in what way restricting stomach in foods is related to curing the disease? Also, everyone needs more energy during while fighting a disease. But while adopting fasting and deprivation of foods and energy, it eliminates or eradicates the disease process. How is it possible? It is miraculous but fasting heals the disease condition. Even animals that need to cure themselves fast. The reason behind this condition is not very well understood. It is presumed that fasting detoxification (i.e. elimination of the toxic substances from the body) helps better than getting energy at that time. The same thing can be noticed in food poisoning where fasting clears toxins.

“Let likes be treated by likes” – is the principle of Homeopathy. “Every action has its own equal and opposite reaction” – is universally accepted Newton’s law. Peptic ulcer is usually caused by delayed meals, irregular meals, meals skipped and a tension-filled life without concentrating on the quality of food. If we go by the principles mentioned, ulcer can also be cured with fasting and taking food at regular intervals thereafter. The ultimate cause for peptic ulcer is increased acid secretion or stored acid secretion. So ulcer complaint usually worsens with delayed meals or during the initial period of fasting. But with continuous fasting with a relaxed mind, the brain will usually withdraw its stimuli for secretion of more acids. So in course of time, the ulcer will get healed. For these types of patients taking juice while fasting will be very helpful. But – severe ulcer patients will not able to tolerate the initial fasting periods and their condition will become worse. So, it is better to avoid fasting if you have ulcer.

Medicines themselves will not cure all the cases. Fasting can also make dramatic improvement or changes when all hope is given up in many disease conditions. One of the excellent results of fasting is that it will make the patient feel more energetic. Patience and gentleness are the greatest powers required for healing with fasting. Right treatment means improvement in the physical and mental state. Fasting works on both planes.

People may ask whether avoiding oral foods and taking IV (intra venous) drips can be considered as fasting – No, it is not so. Since IV drips contents (glucose and minerals) bypass the digestive tract to give energy to the body and the body is supplemented with vital nutrients, the natural detoxification process or fat mobilisation process or cleansing process will not be carried out as done with fasting.

Hunger Lost things are seen to be most valuable and often praised. Hunger, one among them, once lost will make one need/want more of it. Hunger is usually praised by the rich and cursed by the poor. As hunger is sharper than a sword, everyone should know about it to get satisfied with a good diet. Hunger indicates need for food/energy for our body. While fasting, it will be more in the initial 2-3 days and goes off leaving the abdomen silent.

Fasting rule – Fasting as a good habit or therapy should be performed with a relaxed mind. It is better to take juices while fasting than water. Don’t fast continuously all of a sudden. Prepare yourself for fasting. Also don’t fast for more than 3 days if you are not in the habit of fasting. Consume water, juices, fruits, soups, etc., whenever necessary, since they will help as a cleanser.
  • Water must be taken during the fasting period
  • Tender coconut or fresh juices are best during fasting
  • Be energetic and follow the normal schedule like bathing, exercise and work
  • Mental tension or otherwise you might get caught with peptic ulcer
  • Food odours
  • Congested or poorly aerated room
  • Sedentary habits
  • Medications during fasting
  • Smoking and drinking
Breaking rule – Resetting or retuning of the stomach/intestines must be carefully revived while withdrawing prolonged fasting i.e. more than 2-3 days. Or otherwise digestion will not be proper. To break fasting, fasting should be discontinued with the start of juices or liquid drinks, preferably with freshly squeezed (lemon or orange or grapes) fruits. Soft/bottle/canned drinks should be avoided. The fresh juices act as appetiser and tune the stomach and intestine for better digestive functions. After the intake of juices, it is advisable to take light, simple and oil-free diet for 1-2 days. After that any type of food can be taken.
Miraculous advantages of fasting – Even without any medicines, fasting itself has the tendency to heal many complaints. Fasting
  • Is good for health.
  • Cleanses the stomach and intestines
  • Gives good digestive power and allows better absorption of nutrients
  • Removes cholesterol deposition, so one can lose weight and reduce obesity
  • Reduces blood cholesterol, thus reduces the risk of arteriosclerosis and heart disorders
  • Revitalises the mind and body with raised immunity
  • Switches over the metabolism from carbohydrate to fat to mobilise the stored fat
  • Heals peptic ulcer in a better way by reducing acid secretion
  • Controls diarrhoea, constipation, food allergies, indigestion, gall stones, hyperlipidaemia, fever, etc.
Disadvantages of fasting
  • Giddiness and weakness
  • Low BP and Dryness of the mouth and mucous membranes
  • Tremors and muscle cramps
  • Peptic ulcer due to irregular or improper fasting
  • Drastic weight loss may create complications
  • Lowered haemoglobin and RBCs due to deficiency of iron
  • Depletion of sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, etc.
  • Hair fall
Caution – To avoid medical emergencies, some people should be careful or fasting may lead to death.
  • Diabetic patients
  • Low BP patients
  • Peptic ulcer patients who often bleed or vomit blood
  • Heart patients
  • Pregnant/nursing women
To add a final note, to have good stomach,
Take food like a king in the morning,
Like a prince in the afternoon and
Like a princess at night.
Homeopathic Medicines should be taken under the advice and diagnosis of a qualified Homeopath.

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Dr. S. Chidambaranathan, BHMS, MD (Homeo)
Laxmi Homeo Clinic
24 E. New Mahalipatti Road
Madurai, TN 625 001

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