Therapeutic fasting: everything about its healing power

We write interestingly about training, proper nutrition and everything related to healthy life and fitness.

The main component of our good health and longevity, in addition to the skills of mental and energetic self-regulation, in addition to the habit of motor switching, an active lifestyle, is also a correct, balanced diet.

For example, the food of our ancestors was healthier – remember the obligatory fasts for believers, which today we would call a kind of fasting days.

Various scientifically developed diets, as well as the increasingly popular (not only due to the frenzied rise in food prices), therapeutic fasting will be discussed in this chapter.

A small excursion into history

The method of therapeutic fasting is associated with the names of P. Bragg , G. Shelton, and in our country, first of all, with the name of Professor Yu. S. Nikolaev.

However, with all due respect to these famous names, and especially to Yu.S. Nikolaev, it must be emphasized that treatment by hunger is as old as earthly civilization. Perhaps this is even one of the oldest methods of treatment.

Short-term courses of complete starvation were practiced by the ancient Egyptian priests of the god Ra. But in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome there were already long (up to 40 days) abstinence from food, with cleansing the body and compulsory physical exercise. They were also used by the famous Pythagoras, together with his students (the philosopher, mathematician Pythagoras was one of the first champions of the Olympic Games of antiquity in fistfight!). Medical fasting was used by Plato, Socrates, and Plutarch. And, of course, the “father of medicine” Hippocrates. And in the Middle Ages – Abu Ali Ibn-Sina (Avicenna). 

In our domestic medicine, the idea of ​​therapeutic fasting appeared in the 18th century. For example, a professor at Moscow University Pyotr Velyaminov said that people should “make a truce with their stomachs.” You can also name such professors as I.T. Spassky and JI.A. Struve, who popularized the method of fasting treatment. Although these ideas were scientifically substantiated only in our time, and primarily in the works of Yu.S. Nikolaev.

A short excursion to the clinic

The author of these lines has been practicing curative fasting for more than 15 years in stationary conditions, or, to be more precise, conducted courses of unloading and dietary therapy.

I recall a case more than 20 years ago.

The patient was brought to the department of neuroses and borderline states by irritability, tearfulness, persistent sleep disturbances, allergies, as well as sexual problems.

On examination, some incomprehensible pathological elements were found on the skin. It turns out that he has already visited more than one specialist-dermatologist, taking away from each according to the diagnosis, but not getting relief.

The patient is 55 years old. The pressure is kept at high numbers. And memory fails more and more often. What is sclerosis?

When asked to talk about his diet, the patient brushes off: “What is the regime there!” And then he admits: “Well, I like to eat spicy food, and especially – lard with horseradish and mustard. You run the day and get exhausted. And in the evening you will sit down … And you will also take a glass or two of vodka. Not without it. To relieve stress. “

Yes, before us is a person who, day by day, is abusing his body. The primary enemy of your health. Despite having a higher technical education, he does not have even the elementary skills of caring for a “car” that is millions of times more complicated than those in which he is so well versed in his production.

Colleagues psychiatrists referred this patient to our department with a diagnosis of “neurasthenia with central atherosclerosis.” And we needed to figure out how to help him. It was possible, of course, to start stuffing him with pills, powders, potions, torment him with injections (as specialists of other profiles have already done). One could try to “pat on the head” during hypnotherapy sessions. But what will be achieved by this? Well, he’ll calm down a little. Well, it will get stronger a little. But the organism, this slag-clogged unit, will continue to malfunction.

I dare to offer him not exactly what he expected, trying to get treatment in the psychotherapy department. And these patients usually count on hypnosis. Some (those that are more readable ) – for autogenous training. And also – for baths, electrosleep, for miraculous medicines …

“What are you, really ?!” – the patient was frightened. “I’m already thin, and you want to starve me!”

I had to talk in detail about the method of dosed fasting, to explain the need to agree to its use.

Fortunately, the patient soon believed and began to trust me. Lucky for him.

21 days of complete abstinence from food, with bowel cleansing (on the day of preparation for the start of fasting – saline laxative, and then enemas), morning shower, massage, physiotherapy exercises and psychotherapeutic sessions, evening baths. And of course, 1.5 – 2 liters of liquid a day (boiled water, “Borjomi”, rosehip decoction). Then another 21 days of a specially designed restorative diet, which includes first fruit and vegetable juices, then mashed vegetables and fruits, and then in their natural form; fermented milk products, honey, nuts, some medicinal herbs, vinaigrette, crackers, later – bread, with the obligatory exception of meat and fish dishes, and in the first half of the recovery period and with the exception of salt.

And here we have before us a completely different, obviously rejuvenated person. Blood pressure stabilized to normal levels, and the skin pathology was gone. And where did his irritability, tearfulness, pain in his heart go? Where has “sclerosis” disappeared? Before us is a mobile, cheerful, energetic person. He even quit smoking on the third day of fasting. (However, all our patients with abstinence from food, as a rule, voluntarily gave up tobacco, noting the disappearance of the need for it already on the 3rd or 4th day of abstinence from food).

This patient did not go to therapists for many years in the future and worked successfully for another fifteen years. For a long time he did not have any sexual problems either. Well, maybe with his wife, who began to be jealous of him (and it seems not without a reason).

It is only necessary to emphasize that all subsequent years he adhered to a special diet developed for him and practiced regularly “fasting days”.

Over the years of work in this department, many dozens of patients underwent courses of unloading and dietary therapy under my supervision. And with correct and clearly defined indications for this method of treatment, success has always been evident.

However, do not take me as if I want to say: “Here is a remedy for all diseases, here is a panacea!” No and no! Although the Swiss doctor Bertole argued: “That which hunger does not cure, nothing can cure!”

What diseases does hunger cure?

Their range is so wide that it is easier to list those diseases for which unloading and dietary therapy is not used. These are many acute surgical diseases (after all, no one will treat an infringement of a hernia or volvulus by hunger), but acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) is treated by hunger!

Do not use medical fasting in acute stages of tuberculosis, with cirrhosis of the liver and kidneys, with many organic lesions of the central nervous system and with a high degree of hyperthyroidism (dysfunction of the thyroid gland), as well as in tumor diseases. Although there are already works indicating that dosed fasting sometimes gives positive results in some (including malignant) tumors of internal organs.

You should not use fasting for nursing mothers. It is not recommended for feeble-minded and mental patients with whom it is impossible to reach contact, as well as in cases of extreme exhaustion of patients.

What is the power of hunger?

With complete starvation with the cleansing of the body, not only the removal of toxins and toxins from it occurs, but also its general reactivity (stability) increases, which is achieved by the maximum mobilization of all its protective forces. Excess fats and carbohydrates are the first to break down. If pathologically altered tissues disintegrate, the entire body is flooded with biogenic stimulants. And with dosed fasting, the process of tissue rejuvenation occurs.

However, let us immediately warn the “flushed” readers: long-term courses of therapeutic fasting can be carried out only under the supervision of an experienced specialist!

For fat people and everyone, everyone, everyone …

Despite the total liberalization of food prices and no less total lack of money, the majority of the population of our country (more than 2/3!) Is still overweight. This paradox will turn out to be a paradox only at first glance when we remember what and how we eat.

Of course, the overwhelming majority eats not so much what is needed and useful for the body, but what their meager (albeit outwardly bloated) wallet allows. Not to mention the ingrained habit of sweet and fat. It is due to carbohydrate- fatty foods that we overeat in calories. At the same time, our food often lacks complete proteins (especially plant proteins). Yes, and many of us often gorge themselves as if for future use – in the morning (before work) and after a hard day, and many just before going to bed, because in the afternoon it is very wasteful and impermissible for a meager family budget to drop into a “cafe”. Caloric overload causes physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle.

What are your main mistakes in eating, dear fat men? And they are as follows:

1. You eat too quickly, swallowing foods and forgetting to chew them thoroughly, moistening them thoroughly with saliva (it contains enzymes necessary for proper digestion of food).

2. You often just overeat.

3. You eat irregularly, with long breaks, forgetting that for high-quality assimilation of food it should be taken a little, but 4 – 5 times a day.

4. You eat too much fatty food, forgetting to limit animal fats by increasing plant-based fats.

5. You consume a lot of fried foods.

6. You eat, forgetting about your age (with age it is necessary to reduce the amount of food and change its qualitative composition).

7. You eat little vegetables, fruits, fish, low-fat dairy products, but a lot of sweets and cheeses.

8. You consume an excessive amount of carbohydrates, especially white sugar and white bread.

9. And in general, you eat a lot and move a little!

All to fight!

And now is the time to answer the urgent question for many people: what should be done to avoid the appearance of excess weight?

And here is the time to acquaint readers with the rules of food intake, which American nutritionist Juddie Jill recommends to adhere to .

So, to avoid excess weight:

1. Do not eat the whole dish to the end, although you are accustomed from childhood not to leave anything on the plate. Look at yourself – what did it lead to.

2. Don’t get distracted while eating. If you, for example, read at the table, then you do not pay attention to how and what you eat. Of course, this does not mean that you should not talk at the table, but do not forget how you eat.

3. With a small piece in your mouth, place a spoon or fork and try to taste and smell the food. Chew food thoroughly and do not grab the appliance again until you have swallowed it.

4. Be sure to take short pauses between sips.

5. Try not to eat alone. Perhaps having someone else at the table will remind you to moderate your appetite.

6. Spouses should support each other in their desire to follow the diet.

Prepare a reasonable amount of food. If you have cooked too much, there will always be someone who wants to eat everything, and most often the one to whom this is most contraindicated turns out to be. 

7. Try to stretch your meal time. Remember that the signal about satisfying hunger goes to the brain only 20 minutes after you start eating!

8. If you have a dining room in your apartment, set the table in it, and lay out the dishes in the kitchen. If you want more, you’ll have to go to the kitchen again. Then you may abandon your intention.

Therapeutic fasting for overweight

But what to do if a person is prevented from living by his excess weight?

Once a colleague, whom we jokingly called a “fighter”, approached me with a similar question. He fought his 120 kilos daily! He tried to run, after which he had a double appetite. I tried various diets, withstanding any of them only for a day and by the evening saturating my “animal-mouth”, reflex hunger. Started and quit smoking …

But his problems were, of course, not only and not so much in being overweight. My colleague also noted an increase in blood pressure, headaches, pain in the heart and in the liver, decreased efficiency and sexual potency.

And so we agreed with him that he … stops fighting. He will just eat. And often (!). Fortunately, he had a garden plot, and much of what was needed was at hand.

He loved to eat, chew, fill his stomach, and he got this opportunity! In the morning he chewed one or two apples, then – two or three hours later – a pear or plums. Then the watercress was alternated with cucumber or fresh cabbage salads. During the day he dined: for lunch he had vegetable or fruit soups (but without sugar!) And even (every other day) pumpkin porridge, squash caviar. His beloved bread and our “second bread” – potatoes were completely excluded from his diet. Not to mention animal fats and meat. In the evening, he could eat some fish with vegetables poured with vegetable oil. During the day, in addition to ordinary water and weak morning tea, he drank alkaline water (which in itself reduced appetite).

Within a week, he was able to withstand a 24-hour complete abstinence from food with a cleansing of the body! Another week later – 36 hours. And after the next week – a 48-hour fast! Moreover, from the second week, he could replace fish with a bird in the evenings. Once or twice a week, he also ate a boiled egg. Occasionally, fermented milk products were added to his diet. The diet was accompanied by rationalized physical exercise in combination with active walking, massage and training in psychic self-regulation skills, which helped to get away from “appetizing thoughts” and experiences.

Two months later, he underwent an 8-day course of complete abstinence from food, followed by an adequate 8-day recovery on a special diet.

Further – a diet in which 40-50 percent were fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and fasting days with 24-hour complete abstinence from food. He usually practiced them on weekends.

Our painstaking, persistent work has been crowned with complete success!

This now 90-kilogram man has rejuvenated physically and mentally! All his “ailments” disappeared. And for almost 9 years he has been living a healthy, fulfilling, happy life!


People who are used to eating a lot often are usually afraid to starve even for a day. Indeed, it is difficult for them to abruptly refuse food. You should prepare yourself for a more stringent regimen: about a week before fasting, you need to reduce your usual diet, giving preference to dietary, plant foods.

More than once I had to observe people who, having started fasting without any preparation (not to mention studies of the functions of the excretory organs and blood tests), by the end of the first day or on the second day, complained that they had a headache, they were sick , they feel weak. The reason here is not only that a person is often oppressed by the thought that he cannot eat anything, but also in a possible drop in blood pressure or in a decrease in blood sugar levels.

This is why I remind you over and over again: do not starve without specialist supervision!

However, most of us, the so-called practically healthy, but undoubtedly slagged with toxic compounds and metabolic products of people, need to independently carry out preventive fasting days.

Short, on average, up to three days, abstinence from food is physiological and, in general, easily tolerated. But longer periods of complete abstinence from food deserve a special talk.

Those wishing to conclude a temporary “truce with the stomach” can be recommended to start with a one-day abstinence from food. They can be practiced once every l – 2 weeks. It is then recommended to switch to two-day cycles of complete fasting (ideally, on average, once every three weeks). And only then, having checked yourself, you can start three-day abstinence (with a frequency of no more than 1 – 2 times a quarter).

Let me remind you once again: you should at least know the blood sugar values. And yet – the entry and exit from fasting should occur without animal (especially meat!) Food, which is equivalent to the duration of abstinence. So, with three-day cycles, you should refuse any meat food 3 days before the start of fasting and within 3 days after leaving it.

With a complete refusal of food, you need to consume 1.5 – 2.5 liters of liquid per day. It can be distilled or boiled water, alkaline mineral waters such as “Borjomi”, you can (especially in the winter-spring period) add rosehip broth.

For a complete cleansing of the intestines, a saline laxative (magnesia sulphate, “Barbara”, Karlovy Vary salt) is taken before the start of fasting . You can also use herbal laxatives (like ” Senode ” and the like), but in no case oily! And in the process of fasting in the morning, you should put cleansing enemas (you can with chamomile).

For those who decide to completely abstain from food, I recommend an approximate diet for getting out of complete starvation:

– for breakfast: juices, tea (preferably unsweetened) with crackers;

– for lunch: vegetable salads, porridge on the water or seasoned with vegetable oil;

– for those who do not recognize meals without first: vegetable or fruit soup with a small amount of bread (preferably black, dried);

– for dinner: salads, cereals, herbs, fruits (in the winter season, possibly dried or canned).

For those who are afraid of hunger, we can recommend courses of the so-called juice fasting. You consume an average of 1 liter of a mixture of vegetable and non-fleshy fruit juices per day , with water added as needed. Moreover, it is desirable that fruit juices contain a minimum of sugar (to reduce fermentation processes in the stomach and intestines).

Perhaps “fasting on whey”, when they drink 0.5 – 1 glass of whey from curdled kefir or yogurt 3 times a day.

You can also practice just fruit or vegetable days.

For a snack, we offer a surprisingly simple anti-aging diet:

– grate fresh carrots, add honey, lemon juice and some fruits (the amount depends on your taste, desire and capabilities);

– in the morning, at lunch and for dinner, eat only this puree for three days;

– on the fourth day, include potatoes, bread, apples (in moderation) in the diet;

– from the fifth day, you can switch to a normal diet for you, not forgetting one thing – to limit yourself in the consumption of animal fats and meat.

After a while, the anti-aging diet can be repeated.

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