There are two different schools of thought on using adjunctive treatment modalities while fasting. The first school is adamant that a person fasting should not receive any additional therapies unless absolutely necessary. The second school believes that other therapies can enhance the experience of fasting and in some instances augment healing.
Alan Goldhamer, widely considered one of the foremost authorities on water-only fasting, said that his clinic uses adjunctive therapies only when needed. The reasoning behind this has to with allowing the patient to experience the healing qualities of the fast without adding any invasive measures. That being said, Goldhamer’s clinic, TrueNorth Health Center, has a number of health care professionals on staff, including medical doctors, naturopaths, chiropractors, and a psychologist.
These professionals have a variety of duties beyond potentially assisting a fasting patient. According to Goldhamer, the use of another treatment modality in conjunction with fasting would come into play under specific circumstances. A theoretical example he gave was that of a fasting patient having back pain severe enough to interfere with sleep, in which case a gentle chiropractic adjustment might be in order.
At the Buchinger juice-fasting facilities in Germany, professionals from different therapeutic areas attend to the fasting guests. The expertise of these practitioners includes medicine, nutrition, physical therapy, body care, and psychology.
The approach at Buchinger is considerably more spa-oriented than at a traditional water-only fasting clinic, such as TrueNorth Health Center. In addition, clients at Buchinger often get vegetable broth and milk products. If an individual is consuming all of these food stuffs, it would actually be considered a calorie restricted diet as opposed to a true fast.
At the Goryachinsk resort and sanatorium in the Republic of Buryatia in Russia, fasting therapy has been practiced since 1994. Goryachinsk patients receive daily enemas, and in many instances partake in massage, acupuncture, saunas, and other treatments.
The purpose of discussing adjunctive therapies is to address the fact that some individuals (both physicians and lay people) promote using such therapies while fasting. Whether an individual is doing a water or juice fast, using additional therapies poses some risks. It should also be noted that many of these therapies may be better tolerated during juice fasting (or while eating a calorie restricted diet) than during a water-only fast. Furthermore, water-only fasting may reduce or eliminate the need for procedures that are performed for detoxification purposes.