Research using fasting has been reported since 1880. The medical journals contain hundreds of articles documenting the value of fasting in improving the function of the entire body. Some of the illnesses that benefit or are relieved from fasting include type two diabetes, angina, arthritis, allergies, inflammatory disease, and hypertension. In addition, scientific literature indicates that fasting has led to improvement or elimination include psychosomatic diseases, psoriasis, eczema, and digestive problems.
There are numerous studies that support the efficacy of fasting. Nutritionist Laurie Aesoph sites a number of studies where arthritis sufferers received permanent relief from fasting. According to Dr. Loomis, his “patients with arthritis were likely to be off their medication with no increased discomfort within the space of a three-to-four day fast.” By the middle of the second week, they were generally 80 to 90 percent free of pain.” In addition, the great majority of his patients with hypertension were able to reduce or eliminate their medication with a return to normal blood pressure within a fasting period of two to three weeks. In a Swedish study where obesity was treated with fasting, the average weight loss was 30 pounds and the patients increased their HDL cholesterol, the type of cholesterol that protects against heart disease.
Dr. Furhman notes, “Even with this progress, most of the medical community and the general public are still unaware that the medically supervised fast is the safest and most effective treatment for many dangerous but common illnesses.” There are several facilities offering fasting supervision in the U.S., Canada, England and Australia, and Africa.
Douglas Lisle and Alan Goldhamer have provided supervised fasting at True North Health (TNH) in Penngrove, California, since 1984. TNH has three chiropractors, a medical doctor, a psychologist, and two massage therapists. Prior to fasting, participants are examined by a physician. Fasts at TNH typically last for 5 to 40 days.
Dr. Furhman has been fasting his patients for over ten years. The following story is typical of the results Dr. Furhman sees from his fasting patients: A perfect example is George, a 69-year-old man with a history of diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and angina. He had already experienced one heart attack. When I saw him for the first time he was on four different medications…when he arrived for his fast …he was still experiencing chest pain …I maintained the nitroglycerin patch for the first week of the fasting. By week two, he was experiencing no further angina and I was able to discontinue the nitroglycerin patch. George fasted for a total of 19 days. A month later he called me excitedly from Florida…he was now walking more than two miles a day, off medication and angina-free. He was no longer diabetic, either, his blood sugar levels were well within the normal range…fasting is the quickest and most effective
complement to diet to accelerate recovery.
In instances of fasting for medical conditions, people frequently experience spontaneous healing of conditions previously deemed incurable by medical doctors. When this happens, the patient frequently experiences a subsequent psychological crisis. Goldhamer has fasted thousands of patients. In a recent telephone conversation, he relayed the following story as an example of his experience: Jill (not her real name) had Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), a chronic, painful, usually life-long, potentially fatal autoimmune disease. Jill had been in chronic pain and on medication since her diagnosis seven years ago. She came to the clinic and after seven days on a water-only fast, she was pain free for the first time in seven years.
Although relieved to be out of pain, she experienced a psychological and spiritual crisis because she felt her medical doctors—and the medical community in general—mislead and mistreated her condition. Within her was the ability for her to heal herself, and it was there the entire time. The previous story illustrates how the faster can be thrown into physical, emotional and spiritual crisis. Experiences that question longstanding belief systems can be a catalyst for constructive change. When we have intense psychic and spiritual upheaval, beliefs and values we once clung to as part of our identity may no longer serve us and—in some instances—may be self-destructive. And when we question one belief system that is (by our estimation) enormous, we tend to question what we deem our less significant belief systems as well.