Next in importance to building up the blood on a natural basis is the elimination of waste, morbid matter and poisons from the system. This depends to a large extent upon the right (natural) diet; but it must be promoted by the different methods of eliminative treatment: fasting, hydrotherapy, massage, physical exercise, air- and sunbaths and, in the way of medicinal treatment, by homeopathic, herb and vitochemical remedies.
Foremost among the methods of purification stands fasting, which of late years has become quite popular and is regarded by many people as a panacea for all human ailments. However, it is a two-edged sword. According to circumstances, it may do a great deal of good or a great deal of harm.
Kuhne, the German pioneer of Nature Cure, claimed that "disease is a unit," that it consists in the accumulation of waste and morbid matter in the system. Since his time, many "naturists" claim that fasting offers the best and quickest means for eliminating systemic poisons and other encumbrances.
To "fast it out" seems simple and plausible, but it does not always prove to be successful in practice. Fasting enthusiasts forget that the elimination of waste and morbid matter from the system is more of a chemical than a mechanical process. They also overlook the fact that in many cases lowered vitality and weakened powers of resistance precede and make possible the accumulation of morbid matter in the organism.
If the encumbrances consist merely of superfluous flesh and fat or of accumulated waste materials, fasting may be sufficient to break up the accumulations and to eliminate the impurities that are clogging blood and tissues.
If, however, the disease has its origin in other than mechanical causes, or if it is due to a weakened, negative constitution and lowered powers of resistance, fasting may aggravate the abnormal conditions instead of improving them.
We hear frequently of long fasts, extending over days and weeks, undertaken recklessly without the prescription and guidance of a competent medical adviser, without proper preparation of the system and the right subsequent treatment. Many a good constitution has thus been permanently injured and wrecked.
When Fasting Is Indicated
Persons of sanguine, vital temperament, with the animal qualities strongly developed, enslaved by bad habits and evil passions, will be greatly benefited by occasional short fasts. In such cases, the experience affords a fine drill in self-discipline, strengthening of self-control and conquest of the lower appetites.
Vigorous, fleshy people, positive physically and mentally, especially those who do not take sufficient physical exercise, should take frequent fasts of one, two, or three days' duration for the reduction of superfluous flesh and fat and for the elimination of systemic waste and other morbid materials. Such people should never eat more than two meals a day, and many get along best on one meal.
However, different temperaments and constitutions require different treatment and management. People of a nervous, emotional temperament, especially those who are below normal in weight and physically and mentally negative, may be seriously and permanently injured by fasting. They should never fast except in acute diseases and during eliminative healing crises, when Nature calls for the fast as a means of cure.
People of this type are usually thin, with weak and flabby muscles. Their vital activities are at a low ebb and their magnetic envelopes (aura) are wasted and attenuated like their physical bodies. The red aura, which is created by the action of the purely animal functions and forces, is more or less deficient or entirely lacking. Such people have the tendency to become abnormally sensitive to conditions in the magnetic field (the astral plane).
Next to the hypnotic or mediumistic process, there is nothing that induces abnormal psychism so quickly as fasting. During a prolonged fast, the purely animal functions of digestion, assimilation and elimination are almost completely at a standstill. This depression of the physical functions arouses and increases the psychic functions and may produce intense emotionalism and abnormal activity of the senses of the spiritual-material body, the individual thus becoming abnormally clairvoyant, clairaudient and otherwise sensitive to conditions on the spiritual planes of life.
This explains the spiritual exaltation and the visions of heavenly scenes and beings or the fights with demons which are frequently, indeed uniformly, reported by hermits, ascetics, saints, yogi, fakirs and dervishes.
Fasting facilitates hypnotic control of the sensitive by positive intelligences either on the physical or on the spiritual plane of being. In the one case we speak of hypnotism, in the other of mediumship, obsession or possession. These conditions are usually diagnosed by the regular practitioner as nervousness, nervous prostration, hysteria, paranoia, delusional insanity, double personality, mania, etc.
The destructive effects of fasting are intensified by solitude, grief, worry, introspection, religious exaltation or any other form of depressive or destructive mental and emotional activity.
Spirit controls often force their subjects to abstain from food, thus rendering them still more negative and submissive. Psychic patients, when controlled or obsessed, will frequently not eat unless they are forced or fed like an infant. When asked why they do not want to eat, these patients reply: "I mustn't. They will not let me." When we say: "Who?" the answer is: "These people. Don't you see them?" pointing to a void, and becoming impatient when told that no one is there. The regular school says delusion; we call it abnormal clairvoyance.
In other instances the control tells the subject that his food and drink are poisoned or unclean. To the obsessed victim these suggestions are absolute reality.
To place persons of the negative, sensitive type on prolonged fasts and thus to expose them to the dangers just described is little short of criminal. Such patients need an abundance of the most positive animal and vegetable foods in order to build up and strengthen their physical bodies and their magnetic envelopes, which form the dividing and protecting wall between the terrestrial plane and the magnetic field.
A negative vegetarian diet, consisting principally of fruits, nuts, cereal and pulses, but deficient in animal foods (the dairy products, eggs, honey) and in the vegetables growing in or near the ground may result in conditions similar to those which accompany prolonged fasting.
Animal foods are elaborated under the influence of a higher life-element* than that controlling the vegetable kingdom, and foods derived from the animal kingdom are necessary to develop and stimulate the positive qualities in man.
*This subject will be treated more fully in another volume of this series entitled "Natural Dietitics."
In the case of the psychic, who is already deficient in the physical (animal) and overdeveloped in the spiritual qualities, it is especially necessary, in order to restore and maintain the lost equilibrium, to build up in him the animal qualities.
How to Take an Occasional Therapeutic Fast
Before, during and after a therapeutic fast, everything must be done to keep elimination active, in order to prevent the reabsorption of the toxins that are being stirred up and liberated.
Fasting involves rapid breaking down of the tissues. This creates great quantities of worn-out cell materials and other morbid substances. Unless these poison-producing accumulations are promptly eliminated, they will be reabsorbed into the system and cause autointoxication.
To prevent this, bowels, kidneys and skin must be kept in active condition. The diet, for several days before and after the fast, should consist largely of uncooked fruits and vegetables and the different methods of natural stimulative treatment to assure proper bowel action should be systematically applied.
During a fast, every bit of vitality must be economized; therefore the passive treatments are to be preferred to active exercise, although a certain amount of exercise (especially walking) daily in the open air accompanied by deep breathing should not be neglected.
While fasting, intestinal evacuation usually ceases, especially where there is a natural tendency to sluggishness of the bowels. Injections [salt and baking soda enemas are best] are therefore in order and during prolonged fasts may be taken every few days.
By prolonged fasts we understand fasts that last from one to four weeks, short fasts being those of one, two or three days' duration.
Moderate drinking is beneficial during a fast as well as at other times; but excessive consumption of water, the so-called flushing of the system, is very injurious. Under ordinary conditions from five to eight glasses of water a day are probably sufficient; the quantity consumed must be regulated by the desire of the patient.
Those who are fasting should mix their drinking water with the juice of acid fruits, preferably lemon, orange or grapefruit. These juices act as eliminators and are fine natural antiseptics.
Never use distilled water, whether during a fast or at any other time. Deprived of its own mineral constituents, distilled water leeches the mineral elements and organic salts out of the tissues of the body and thereby intensifies dysemic [blood deterioration] conditions.
While fasting, the right mental attitude is all-important. Unless you can do it with perfect equanimity, without fear or misgiving, do not fast at all. Destructive mental conditions may more than offset the beneficial effects of the fast.
To recapitulate: Never undertake a prolonged fast unless you have been properly prepared by natural diet and treatment, and never without the guidance of a competent Nature Cure doctor.
Fasting in Chronic Diseases
At all times some of our patients can be found fasting; but they do not begin until the right physiological and psychological moment has arrived, until the fast is indicated. When the organism, or rather the individual cell, is ready to begin the work of elimination, then assimilation should cease for the time being, because it interferes with the excretory processes going on in the system.
To fast before the system is ready for it, means mineral salts starvation and defective elimination.
Given a vigorous, positive constitution, encumbered with too much flesh and with a tendency to chronic constipation, rheumatism, gout, apoplexy and other diseases due to food poisoning, a fast may be indicated from the beginning. But it is different with persons of the weak, negative type.
Ordinarily, the organism resembles a huge sponge, which absorbs the elements of nutrition from the digestive tract. During a fast the process is reversed, the sponge is being squeezed and gives off the impurities contained in it.
However, this is a purely mechanical process and deals only with the mechanical aspect of disease: with the presence of waste matter in the system. It does not take into consideration the chemical aspect of disease. We have learned that most of the morbid matter in the system has its origin in the acid waste products of starchy and protein digestion.
In rheumatism and gout, the colloid (glue-like) and earthy deposits collect in the joints and muscular tissues; in arteriosclerosis, in the arteries and veins; in paralysis, epilepsy and kindred diseases, in brain and nerve tissues.
The accumulation of these waste products is due, in turn, to a deficiency in the system of the alkaline, acid-binding and acid-eliminating mineral elements. In point of fact, almost every form of disease is characterized by a lack of these organic mineral salts in blood and tissues.
Stones, gravel (calculi), etc., grow in acid blood only, and must be dissolved and eliminated by rendering the blood alkaline. This is accomplished by the absorption of the alkaline salts, contained most abundantly in the juicy fruits, the leafy and juicy vegetables, the hulls of cereals and in milk.
How, then, are these all-important solvents and eliminators to be supplied to the organism by total abstinence from food?
Prolonged fasting undoubtedly lowers the patient's vitality and powers of resistance. But natural elimination of waste products and systemic poisons (healing crises) depends upon increased vitality and activity of the organism and the individual cells that compose it.
For these reasons we find, in most cases, that proper adjustment of the diet, both as to quality and quantity, together with the different forms of natural corrective and stimulative treatment, must precede the fasting.
The great majority of chronic patients have become chronics because their skin, kidneys, intestines and other organs of elimination are in a sluggish, atrophied condition. As a result, their system is overloaded with morbid matter.
Moreover, during the fast the system has to live on its own tissues, which are being broken down rapidly. This results in the production and liberation of additional large quantities of morbid matter and poisons, which must be eliminated promptly to prevent their reabsorption.
However, the atrophic condition of the organs of elimination makes this impossible and there are not enough alkaline mineral elements to neutralize the destructive acids. Therefore the impurities remain and accumulate in the system and may cause serious aggravations and complications.
Is it not wiser first of all to build up the blood on a normal basis by natural diet and to put the organs of elimination in good working order by the natural methods of treatment before fasting is enforced? This is, indeed, the only rational procedure and will always be followed by the best possible results.
When, under the influence of a rational diet, the blood has regained its normal composition, when mechanical obstructions to the free flow of blood and nerve currents have been removed by manipulative treatment, when skin, kidneys, bowels, nerves and nerve centers, in fact, every cell in the body has been stimulated into vigorous activity by the various methods of natural treatment, then the cells themselves begin to eliminate their morbid encumbrances. The waste materials are carried in the blood stream to the organs of elimination and incite them to acute reactions or healing crises in the form of diarrheas, catarrhal discharges, fevers, inflammations, skin eruptions, boils, abscesses, etc.
Now the sponge is being squeezed and cleansed of its impurities in a natural manner. The mucous membranes of stomach and bowels are called upon to assist in the work of housecleaning; hence the coated tongue, lack of appetite, digestive disturbances, nausea, biliousness, sour stomach, fermentation, flatulence and occasionally vomiting and purging.
These digestive disturbances are always accompanied by mental depression, the blues, homesickness, irritability, fear, hopelessness, etc.
With the advent of these cleansing and healing crises the physiological and psychological moment for fasting has arrived. All the processes of assimilation are at a standstill. The entire organism is eliminating.
We have learned that these healing crises usually arrive during the sixth week of natural treatment.
To take food now would mean to force assimilation and thereby to stop elimination and perchance to interfere with or to check a beneficial healing crisis.
Therefore we regard it as absolutely essential to stop eating as soon as any form of acute elimination makes its appearance and we do not give any food except acid fruit juices diluted with water until all signs of acute eliminative activity have subsided, whether this require a few days or a few weeks or a few months.
Some time ago I treated a severe case of typhoid malaria. No food, except water mixed with a little orange or lemon juice, passed the lips of the patient for eight weeks. When all disease symptoms had disappeared, we allowed a few days for the rebuilding of the intestinal mucous membranes. Thereafter food was administered with the usual precautions. The patient gained rapidly and within six weeks weighed more than before the fever. During the entire period I saw the patient only twice, the simple directions being carried out faithfully by his relatives.