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"Let me warn that fasting is a much more complicated process than generally realized, even by some of its ardent advocates."


  • Below Dr. Shelton writes about how to get the most optimal results from fasting. And that there is nothing magical about fasting.
  • The only way to get remarkable healing & regeneration results is to understand that fasting is just a complete body rest. Do not interfere, instead respect the complete rest! (Avoid enemas!)
  • In INHS we recommend that unsupervised (water-only) fasts should be max 3 days, for safety-reasons. Follow with a green juice diet for increased detoxification.


  • Why "safety-reasons"? - Because - at least in USA and other industrialized countries - today people are more toxic than ever before, which also makes them deficient. And with too high toxicity & deficiency, we must avoid prolonged fasting. Instead we must prepare for fasting with raw foods or raw juices. This will make the fasting safe!
  • EXAMPLE for new-comers: Start out with a one-day fast, and break it correctly on raw foods or raw juices, followed by a raw diet (or almost-raw). Repeat the 1-day fast a couple of times. Then try a 2-day fast, a couple of times - then a 3-day fast. Inbetween a mainly-raw diet (with veggies & animal foods).
  • THE LATEST UNDERSTANDING: Raw foods + short fasts is safer & will give better results than a long fast (for new-beginners). Fasting is more difficult today, than during the mid-1900's!! (At least for typical Westerners, who nowadays are both too toxic & deficient.)

    "Fasting tends to end suffering"


    Fasting - Nine Basic Steps

    Let me warn emphatically that fasting is a much more complicated process than generally realized even by some of its ardent advocates. It involves much more than merely going without food.

    There is an art to fasting as well as a science of fasting. The uses of fasting seem, at times, almost unlimited. Its inconveniences are not great, its dangers are few and rarely seen. Yet for the most satisfactory results it must be conducted in accordance with a few well-ascertained rules and techniques by an experienced man.
    It is not a process to be left to the guidance of anyone of meager knowledge or no experience in conducting fasts.

    "There is an art to fasting, as well as a science of fasting."

    Paradoxically, less supervision of the fast is required in acute disease than in chronic disease. When disease is the result of years of wrong life and if the condition of the patient is one of grave weakness, with severe organic impairment, much skill will be required to take the individual through a fast of sufficient duration to accomplish the desired results.

    In such situations, it would be hazardous to rely on inexperienced and untrained men. I am aware that there are some untrained laymen attempting to conduct fasts. I believe it is vitally important to investigate beforehand to be sure you have the best and most experienced man available. In this connection I must point out also that, while there are several schools of so-called healing recognized by law in this country, few of the practitioners of any of these schools have any knowledge of and experience with fasting. We cannot select any doctor at random, without knowing his special training, to supervise a fast.

    It is a fundamental rule of hygienic practice that all the needs of normal physiology are present in states of illness. And in periods of abstinence they must be met according to a degree of need and functional ability, to the end that organic and functional integrity may be preserved or restored. Let us understand this clearly: when we fast we do not also cease to breathe or to take water. There is never an absence of need for oxygen; we continue to become thirsty at intervals and we drink. Fasting is abstinence from food, not abstinence from all of the essentials of life. And it is abstinence from food only in the sense that we abstain from taking in the raw materials of nutrition for a period of time, while the body draws on its stored-up supplies. We still need and use food.

    Fasting is not suspended animation. Indeed, although it is a period of greatly reduced activity, some of the processes of life are actually accelerated during periods of abstinence. The ordinary needs of life: food, air, water, warmth, sunshine, activity, rest, sleep, cleanliness, poise of mind. remain basic needs of the fasting organism.

    "The techniques of fasting are significant and should be recognized and understood by anyone interested in this field."

    Food (nutriment) with which to sustain the functioning tissues of the body is obtained from the reserve stores within the body. Water is taken according to the demands of thirst: warmth is required so that the body does not become chilled; sunshine is needed in keeping with the somewhat reduced metabolic activities of life; cleanliness is still a requirement; sleep is a necessity; mental and emotional stabilization is especially important.

    This means that the techniques of fasting are significant and should at least, in a broad general sense, be recognized and understood by anyone interested in this field or contemplating a fast.
    Where do these techniques begin? Some say they should begin long before the fast starts—with the earliest stages of fast preparation!


    Many complicated plans have been designed to prepare the individual or patient for a fast. Some of these involve a period on special foods intended to empty the intestinal tract of material before the fast is started. Others are rituals involving fasting a day, eating two days, fasting two days, eating four days, and so on in this manner, with the goal of gradually preparing one for a fast of considerable length. All such plans are wasteful of the patient's time and money. since they revolve around the idea of feeding at a time when a fast is needed. As there is no reason why one may not go into a fast abruptly and without these rituals, they are not recommended here. The truly essential preparation is in the mental and emotional attitudes.

    If you can understand the wisdom and rationality of fasting, and rid your mind of all fear of this perfectly normal process, you can fast with ease. Satisfy yourself that the fast will prove to be highly beneficial and enter upon it without fear and anxiety. Mental unrest and fear can make fasting difficult or impossible in cases in which it would otherwise prove of the greatest possible benefit.

    When I first started my work. I served for a few months under the direction of Milo A. Crane. M.D., who conducted the Crane Sanitariums in Elmhurst. Illinois. Dr. Crane never placed a patient on a fast if the patient feared it. lnstead, he would put him on a diet and permit him to mingle with the other patients. Usually within a few days the patient would ask if he could not fast.

    This is one of the advantages of being with others. One sees and realizes that they are not starving but actually benefiting. Fears vanish before reality.

    "If you rid your mind of all fear of this perfectly normal process, you can fast with ease."

    2. REST
    The techniques of fasting are based on simple physiological principles. They do not involve the need for nor the use of any measures that are foreign to the regular needs of the living organism. Treatments, special modalities, and forcing measures have no place in fasting. The most important technique of the fast is that of reducing activity, mental, sensory, and physical. to a bare minimum, so that the energy of the faster may be conserved and his healing and excretory processes may be accelerated.

    The faster should bear in mind the simple rule of compensation. In order to expend on one side, nature must conserve on the other. What he does not expend in unneeded activity is available for use in elimination and repair.

    • Physical rest is secured by ceasing physical activities, by resting in bed, by relaxing. Physical activities expend considerable energy and prevent the recuperation of energy that is essential to restoration of normal nerve energy.
    • Mental rest is secured by curtailing mental activities and emotional unrest. Debating highly controversial issues is harmful. Allowing oneself to become upset or involved in trivial disputes of any nature is harmful. Emotional poise is the secret of mental rest. It is not always easy for the faster to cease worrying or to overcome anxiety, but everything constructive should be done to provide for tranquility.
    • Sensory rest is secured by retiring to a quiet place and avoiding use of the eyes in reading, viewing television, going to the movies or similar eye-straining activities. Noise is especially destructive of poise and wasteful of energy. Quiet, peace, and sensory inactivity provide for conservation of energy.
    In using rest, however, we do not urge a state of suspended animation nor dormancy, nor a state of embryonic passivity. What is sought here is the absence of strain, the physical sense of peace by which rest becomes possible.

    Rest does not heal, but is one of the essentials of efficient healing, as well as in maintaining health. It is of great value to the enervated and toxemic. Not tonics and stimulants, not sedation and tranquilization, nor hypnotization, but rest is the great need of the organism that has been lashed into impotency by stimulation and excesses in food, sex, emotional unrest, work and the various deficiencies from which man suffers.

    Organs that have been lashed into impotency by overwork and stimulation may be rested into full functioning vigor. Added stimulation, whatever its nature, only further depletes them.
    Read more about resting during fasting here, by Dr. Shelton.

    The faster rests during the time he abstains from food for the reason that in the normal exercise of the functions of life, feeding and activity should balance each other. There are authorities who permit their fasters to take long walks and require them to take daily exercise of various kinds. In reducing fasts, some moderate exercise, under supervision is permissible. For other fasts I believe even moderate exercising is a needless expenditure of energy and a waste of reserves. Activity should be geared to the food eaten. When no food is taken, activities should be reduced to a minimum. Rest is the need, not expenditure.

    "The feet, in particular, should be kept warm."

    4. WARMTH
    A faster's resistance to cold is likely to be lower than that of the person who is eating regularly. He chills easily. Chilling inhibits elimination, increases the discomforts of the faster and causes a more rapid utilization of reserves. It is important, therefore, that the faster keep warm. This is necessary even in July and August. The feet, in particular, should be kept warm. Cold feet will prevent the faster from sleeping.

    5. WATER
    The faster will be thirsty at intervals, though rarely as often as when he was eating. The normal demand for water should be met with the purest water available. Mineral waters and waters with a bad taste are not advisable:
    • A soft spring water,
    • rain water,
    • distilled water,
    • filtered water or
    • any water that is free of impurities is acceptable.
    It should be taken only as thirst demands. There is nothing to be gained by drinking large quantities of water, despite a lack of demand for this, on the theory that this flushes the system. It is true that the more water one drinks the more fluid will the kidneys excrete, but this does not represent an increase of elimination of waste. Indeed it may result in a lessening of the amount of waste excreted.

    In summer, there may be a desire to drink cold water. Cool water is excellent, but very cold or ice water may slow down and retard recovery. Hot water may be relished under certain conditions more than cold water or water at room temperature. In some cases hot water may be sipped in moderation with the advice or permission of the supervisor; in others its use is inadvisable.

    6. BATHING
    There is the same need for cleanliness while fasting as while eating. Bathing should be performed daily or as often as needed. The bath should be of a character to cause the least amount of energy expenditure. To insure this the following requirements should be observed.
    1. The bath should be of short duration. The faster should not remain long under the shower or in the tub. The common practice of soaking for long periods in water is enervating and should be avoided.
    2. Bath water should be lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. It requires considerable energy expenditure to resist both heat and cold. The closer the temperature of the bath water is to the temperature of the body, the less energy expenditure will be occasioned. Bear in mind, always, that bathing is for cleanliness and not for any alleged therapeutic effects. Bathe quickly and get out of the water.
    3. If the faster is very weak and is unable to take his or her own bath, a sponge bath in bed may be given by an assistant.

    "Enemas, purges, & over-drinking enervate the faster and tend to inhibit elimination. These techniques are harmful and should be avoided. "

    Sunshine is an essential nutrient factor in both plant and animal nutrition and is helpful while fasting. It should not be thought of as a cure, for it is not, but as a normal element in the regular nutritional processes of life. Its role in calcium metabolism is especially important, but it is also important in phosphorus utilization and in assuring strength of the muscles. Indeed, it serves several important purposes in the normal processes of life and is of far greater importance to us than we generally realize.

    Unless overdone, sunbathing results in relaxation and no measurable expenditure of energy. If the sun is too hot, if the bath is too prolonged, if getting to and from the solarium is too taxing on the patient, any of these factors may result in an excessive expenditure of energy. It is necessary to "temper the wind to the shorn lamb" in supervising the sunbathing. To accomplish this, the following rules should be observed:

    • Take the sunbath in the early morning while it is still cool, or in the late afternoon during the summer. In mild weather, when it is not hot at midday, a sunbath may be taken at any time of the day that the temperature is comfortable.
    • Start the sunbath with five minutes of exposure for the front of the body and five minutes for the back. On the second day this may be increased to six minutes on each side. Increase the exposure one minute a day for each side, to a maximum of thirty minutes for each surface. It will be well to level off at this exposure time.
    • If the fast is continued beyond twenty days, reduce the exposure to about eight minutes on front and eight minutes on the rear surfaces, and continue this exposure until after the fast is broken.
    • At any time if the sunbath leaves the faster weak or irritated, the duration of the exposure should be reduced. Avoid overdoing.

    saline purges
    too much water drinking
    sweat baths

    harmful & hurtful delusions!!

    8. PURGES
    It is sometimes claimed, completely erroneously in my opinion, that during the fast, it is necessary to keep the bowels, kidneys and skin active to carry away the toxins released into the circulation by the liquidation of tissue. Daily enemas or saline purges are advised to clean the bowels, much water drinking and even diuretics are advised to keep the kidneys active; sweat baths are employed to keep the skin active.

    All of these forcing measures are not only unnecessary, they are actually hurtful. There is nothing that so safely and so certainly increases kidney action as the fast itself. The bowels empty themselves during a fast as often as there is a need for them to do so. If no need arises, they take a long-needed rest. The skin is not an eliminating organ and sweat baths are delusions. These measures further
  • enervate the faster and [ WASTING NERVE ENERGY ]
  • tend to inhibit rather than accelerate elimination. [ STOPPING THE DETOX ]
    These suggested techniques are harmful and should be avoided.

    Read more about enemas here

    It has been said that the fast should not be continued when the faster is suffering greatly, as in some general health impairment. The fact is that it is precisely under these circumstances that digestive and assimilative powers are lowest. The greater the suffering the less able is the sufferer to take and digest food. When the discomfort passes, the practitioner will know when to feed the patient.

    Fasting tends to end suffering and the faster suffering may expect relief in a much shorter time if he continues to fast than if he breaks the fast.

    Fasting Can Save Your Life, 1964,
    Dr. Herbert M. Shelton

    Since 1964, when Shelton's text was written, some new important understandings have been discussed on INHS email list.
    1. ENOUGH ENERGY: Dr. Fielder has described the improved results, and more complete healing, he is getting if he waits for the first cold to start, before allowing the patient to start fasting. An excellent time to start fasting may be when we have a cold (or acute disease). In acute disease we usually lose our appetite, and feel tired --- so actually the body itself tells us to "stop eating" and "go to bed".

    2. NEW DRUG DANGERS: Dr. Bass has described the strange effects that new types of prescription drugs have caused in some of his patients while fasting, effects he has not seen before. E.g. extreme temperatures (from certain antibiotics). Medical research is continually creating drugs that are stronger, more toxic and more dangerous. Dr. Fielder has published a list of drugs that can cause deaths while fasting, without warning. (Examples: the birth-control pill, cortisone, marijuana.)

    3. TOXIC AIR DANGERS: Dr. Bass has described his and Dr. Cursio's observations that toxins in the air can kill migrating birds. Birds fast when migrating. Cursio observed migrating birds falling dead from the sky, when passing over New York. So, perhaps we better go to a place with pristine air while fasting.

    4. DEFICIENCY DANGERS: We have heard stories of people, who have have been so deficient that they suffered serious damage while fasting. E.g. brain damage (Alzheimers) in vegans, or damage to the eyes (blindness) in a vegetarian who didn't rest. (Bodies of vegans, & sometimes vegetarians, can be very deficient in fats & proteins.) Conclusion: Those who are deficient should never fast.

    5. NOT A GOOD WEIGHT-LOSS TOOL: Drs. Fielder & Goldberg have been warning us repeatedly: Watch out for the "fasting and feasting syndrome"! (What is this? Sometimes people water-only-fast annually for weight-loss, but inbetween they feast, =over-eat on unhealthy foods, and gain lots of weight. A negative jo-jo effect.) Fasting must be followed by strict improved diet, otherwise you will gain weight quickly. After fasting the body has a more difficult time losing weight, has more efficient nutrient-uptake. If you cannot control your overeating, better not fast.

    6. TODAY FASTING IS MORE DIFFICULT: People are so toxic nowadays that ignorant fasting can be dangerous. Nowadays the blood of babies may contain hundreds of toxins. Even supervised fasting is more difficult than 50 years ago. It is usually safer for amateurs to go on a veggie juice diet or a raw diet, than to fast without professional supervision.

    Note that there are other slower methods that are safer for amateurs, and that usually give the same result - e.g. green juice-diets while resting (avoid fruit-juices!), or raw diets while resting.

    "Fasting is not a process to be left to the guidance of anyone of meager knowledge."

  • What does Dr. Shelton say about REST & FASTING? click here

    To understand the importance of ENERGY-CONSIDERATIONS in FASTING click here

    Natural Health & Energy
    INHS Hygienic Review

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