Mother nature is ready to rejuvenate? Are you willing?
It is an ardent desire of every one of us to be healthy, strong till our last breath. But we have lost our instinct of how to remain healthy, happy and strong till our last day on planet Earth.
I believe it was George Bernard Shaw who once remarked that since youth is such a wonderful thing. It's too bad it has to be wasted on the young. It is an observation that all of us who are "fifty-nine and holding", or past holding, can see merit in. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could hold onto our youth until we had sense enough to know how to really enjoy it or if we could at least partially rejuvenate ourselves, once youth has fled?
The search for eternal youth
But in man's search for eternal youth nothing of the bizarre or unusual has worked. Brinkley 's goat gland transplantation was widely heralded for a time and Brown - Sequard's seminal fluid rejuvenator once attracted much interest. Then there was Vorronof's monkey gland transplantation, Funk's vitamin rejuvenation plan and Steinach 's attempt at physical renewal by the subcutaneous division of the vas deferens. Various other fads, such as Hormone injections, have come and gone, and yet things are not much different.
The foregoing attempts at rejuvenation all shared one thing in common -they either gave the body something or tampered with it in some fashion. All these attempts went in precisely the same direction.
Ill effects of excess food
However, denying the body something namely food then not tempering with it in any other way is a major factor in renewing the body.
Questions immediately arise: Why deny the body food, of all things? Isn't nourishment necessary for life? However in fasting, one rids the body of the bad effects of excess food, and also gives the digestive system a rest. If one took in only the exact amount of nourishment that he needed and of the proper kind, then he might never need to fast. Certainly, he would never get fat but still could benefit by giving his stomach and bowels a short rest now and then. However, in all societies where plenty of food is available, most people tend to overeat and also consume many things that are unsuitable if not downright harmful. Fasting helps the body throw off toxins formed by wrong eating habits along with using up excess fat.
Fasting and feasting
Experiments with fasting and feasting, on creatures of the lower order of life, have been most revealing. For instance, the aphid is rejuvenated when it is forced to stop its gluttonous habits. But the most informative experiments have taken place using worms. Comprehensive studies on these creatures were made at the University of Chicago, under the direction of Prof. C.M.Child. He wrote of the results.
"Experimental tests, conducted for a number of years in the DEPT. of Zoology, University of Chicago showed that worms, when well-fed; grow old just as the higher animals do, but by fasting they may be made young again.
"When these worms are deprived of food, they do not die of starvation in a few days. They live for months on their own tissues. At such times they become smaller and may be reduced to a fraction of their original size. Then when fed after such fasting, they show all the psychological feeding, they again go through the process of growth and again.
"One group of worms was well fed. Every three or four months they passed through the cycle of ageing and reproducing. Another group was given just enough food to maintain the worms at a constant size but no enough food to make them grow. These worms remained in good condition without becoming appreciably older as long as the experiment continued, which was three years.
"With abundant food, this species of worms may pass through its whole life history in three or four months is prevented by fasting and frugal feeding the worms may continue active young for at least three years, as the forgoing experiment has demonstrated and no doubt much longer had the experiment continued longer.
"The extension of the life- span of the worms in this experiment is approximately equivalent in man to keeping him alive for six or seven hundred years."
British professor Jullian Huxley, the grandson of the famous T. H Huxley, experimented in a similar fashion with worms. He fed a group of worms in the usual way with plenty of food, but he isolated one worm in the way he fed the others, but occasionally he made it fast. The well-fed worms died within the usual lifespan, but the worm which had to periodically do without food lived on. In fact, this worm was still alive and vigorous after nineteen generations of worms had lived and died. In a human, this would be the equivalent of almost a 2000-year life-span.
Experiments with humans
The studies of previously mentioned professor Child fired the interest of a colleague, Anton J. Carlson a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago. He wanted to experiment with humans to discern if fasting had any rejuvenating effects on them.
His findings indicated that "fifteen-day fast could restore the tissue of a middle-aged man to a physiologically more youthful condition. However, his experiments were too few and narrow in scope, taking place on more or less youthful subjects. But they were encouraging.
Of course, It is too much to expect that humans could ever gain the same dramatic results from fasting, no matter how careful or controlled, that the lower orders of animal life have achieved. They possess powers we do not have. Some of these creatures, even though complex in structure, have the ability to grow vital parts of their bodies anew if they are lost through accident; even new heads, eyes, brains, and internal organs. Still the results we can gain are impressive.
Who can fast?
Except for cases of gross obesity or poor health, probably the majority of people who need to curb their food intake could get by on a programme of short fasts rather than long ones.
The small or careful eater of slender build might need to miss only an occasional meal or two. For most others, it could involve anything from skipping food one day a week to fasts of from two to five days duration, undertaken every month or so.
A small percentage would need to forego food for longer periods.
Are any risks involved? Not for short fasts in individuals of the sound constitution. Long fasts though should be supervised, either by a doctor or by a natural hygiene practitioner experienced in fasting.
Rejuvenation: how it works
How does fasting rejuvenate? There are two processes occurring continuously in the human body, almost at the same time. One is called anabolism, the building up; and the other, catabolism which is the tearing down. Together they make up metabolism. A fast result in a cleansing of the body, thus allowing anabolism to get a leg up on catabolism. The building up process of life is slowed. All the body cells undergo refinement.
Changes and improvement are sometimes dramatic.
Heart function and bowel action improve
Sleep becomes more restful
There may be an increase acuteness in the sense of taste and smell
Stepped up vigour and of course the loss of weight
Many fasters report increased mental power
More powerful sex drives
Clearing of their complexions
Disappearance of some of the finer lines in their faces
Improved vision and hearing. Commonly, the eyes become more sparkling
A more youthful bloom becomes evident
Blood pressure goes down
…..and many other benefits are recorded.
Dr Herbat M.Shelton who supervised the fasts of over 40,000 people at his clinic in Texas, wrote that "Fasting can bring about a virtual rebirth, a revitalisation of the organism."
Should one feel less like working during a fast? On the contrary, the odds are that he will feel more energetic - until the body's reserves are used up. Upton Sinclair, a notable faster, went looking "for a diet that permits me to overwork with impunity" and found it, instead, in fasting. He also felt much more like exercising. Athletes who have tried fasting, commonly report increased speed, strength, and endurance.
Should Everyone Fast?
It appears that in a small percentage of cases, persons with certain unusual physical problems should not. We could assume that fasting isn't for an underweight individual either; although surprisingly, some who have tried it report that they put on fair amounts of good, solid flesh afterword when nothing else would help them gain. Of course, seriously underweight people should not normally curb their eating.
It is possible that the discovery of fasting as a rejuvenating method will someday be looked upon as one of the greatest discoveries of all time- not as an eternal "fountain of youth" of course, but as the best preserver and extender of youth that has ever been found. Dr Herbat M Shelton pointed out that "if we can see in fasting a means of enabling the body to free itself, not alone of its accumulated toxic load but also of its burden of accumulated abnormal changes in the tissues, we can use this means of rejuvenation to great advance. Recognizing its limitation and not expecting the impossible, we may still find in the fast an avenue perhaps not to eternal youth but to a protracted youth that endures long into what we once considered old age!"
Indeed, why not? If fasting can work big miracles in worms, why can't it work small miracles in humanity?
(About V.S.Pawar: I am a Member of Indian Institute of Natural Therapeutics 1980. I am a 72-year-old veteran practising pure nature cure for 45 years. I lead a healthy life free from any disease and share my knowledge with others freely.)
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