Fasting and Cleansing for Physical and Spiritual Transformation
By Dr. Chrysalis Yashpal Jayne, ND
Summer has arrived in the Pacific Northwest! Traditionally, Spring is the season of cleanse and renewal. In our cooler climate, Summer provides the added warmth and inspiration for a more comfortable and successful experience.
Why cleanse, why fast? As Spring is Nature’s way of renewal, fasting is the human version of renewal. What is the difference between a cleanse and a fast? We will explore the reasons to cleanse, appropriate fasts and results one can expect. In short, these practices are tools to remove accumulated toxins from daily living as well as from specific exposures.
Where do toxins come from? There are 2 fundamental sources of toxicity for the human body: exogenous and endogenous. Exogenous toxins are those originating from outside the body while endogenous toxins originate within the body. Some examples of exogenous toxins are more obvious than others when you are exposed. However, with accumulation, a variety of symptoms may manifest. Pathological bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, chemicals, heavy metals, drugs and other forms of pollution are exogenous. Endogenous toxins result from metabolic reactions such as incomplete digestion, imbalanced gut flora, over-exertion, stress, “toxic” thoughts of fear, anger, anxiety, etc as well as organ or glandular dysfunction, injury and dis-ease.
The organs primarily involved with detoxification and elimination are the liver, kidneys, intestinal tract, lungs and skin. Vital assistance is provided by the lymph and circulatory systems. When removal of the toxins is not efficiently accomplished, the innate wisdom of the body stores the toxins. Cysts, tumors, fat deposits, muscle tightness, gallstones, gout, etc are forms of storage the body utilizes. Cleanses and fasts help and allow your body to release these “stuck” toxins.
Cleanses are designed as targeted processes to chemically and/or mechanically clear, or flush, that organ system. Fasting is the intentional abstinence or avoidance of something for the purpose of re-setting one’s relationship to that “thing”. For instance, people can choose to fast from television, talking, carbohydrates, dairy, relationships, sex, etc – however a true “fast” for the body is quite particular and has a definite purpose.
True “fasting” is complete abstinence of proteins, fats, fiber and minimal calories. In general, fasts are undertaken as juice fasts (green or fruit juice), water fasts, urine fasts and/or dry fasts. I recommend supervision during any true “fast” longer than 2 days.
Fasts can be planned for physical or spiritual reasons – both are valid. In my opinion, the most beneficial is a fast that facilitates both physical and spiritual transformation. Solely spiritual fasts may result in physical consequences to attain spiritual goals – such as a 21 or 40-day water fast or a 4-day vision quest without food or water.
Fasting does the work of physical transformation through a process called autolysis. Autolysis is the body’s intelligence being allowed to focus on digesting and removing dis-eased, toxin-burdened tissues while leaving healthy tissues intact. It is very important to include colon irrigation with enemas and/or colonics daily while fasting to eliminate these digested toxins before they are re-absorbed. Autolysis begins around day 3,4,or 5 and will stop immediately with the ingestion of protein or fat. I suggest a 7-10 day green juice fast for most people to plan for. Dependent on your body’s response, more or less days may become appropriate. In general, fruit or carrot juice is too sweet and pure water fasts may cause mineral depletion, however the work of autolysis is still accomplished. Pure urine fasts and dry fasts can result in detrimental dehydration fairly quickly.
Cleanses can be undertaken for general purposes or specific organs. They can also take a variety of forms. Some have a scientific or logical basis while others do not. I have evaluated a number of cleanses – many are valid. The targeted organ systems must be matched to its medium of elimination. The liver uses 2 metabolic detoxification pathways to neutralize toxins chemically. Mechanically, the liver eliminates toxins through the bile, which is also stored in the gall bladder and utilized in the digestion of fats. Therefore, oil is the mechanical medium for a liver/gall bladder cleanse. It is important to also soften any gallstones and prepare the bowels for their expulsion. The kidneys filter blood and eliminate through the water element, urine. So, herbal teas and juices – nettles, parsley, dandelion and radish to name a few – work well. Commercial colon cleanses such as “ejuva” or “arise ‘n’shine” are very effective in addition to regular, short series of 3-5 colonics quarterly. The lungs require deep breathing exercises – pranayama. The skin and lymph are cleansed with sweating from saunas, with infrared saunas have added benefits. Dry brush massage is an easy daily routine and quite useful during fasting.
Cleansing and fasting, whether for spiritual or physical transformation, is an excellent part of your seasonal and yearly health renewal practice. Supervision for the first few times you decide to experience true fasts or cleanses is highly recommended. One of my intentions as a doctor/health coach with the Integrated Natural Health Center is to make this supervision available to individuals privately and in group retreat settings. Please contact me at email@example.com or 360-356-1008 if you have any questions or comments about this article. Thank you