Fasting - How can Fasting be beneficial ?
For many philosophers, scientists and physicians, fasting is an essential part of life and the healing process needed to maintain good health. Intellectuals like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Charaka and others used and believed in fasting therapy. Ayurveda discourages long-term fasting because the sense of deprivation created by a long-term fasting encourages the person to follow it up with a spell of indulgence in overeating. While fasting, you should follow the restrictions applicable to your constitution:
Vaata people should never fast on water or any other severely restricted diet for more than a day or two. They should select a single food, like curd rice on which they can live for a month or more, at a time.
Pitta people can fast on liquids, like fruits or vegetable juices or on raw fruits and vegetables, but not on water alone. They should avoid all sour juices, as they tend to aggravate pitta.
Kapha people may indulge in a prolonged water fast if they so desire. Kapha people especially need regular weekly fasting to maintain strong digestion. During fasting, they should avoid intensely sweet and sour juices.
For mixed constitutions, juice fasting is commonly used (rather than water alone) as a mild and effective cleansing plan.
Conditions in which Fasting is beneficial
Whatever the conditions may be, during the fever, and such other illnesses, one needs more liquids than usual, due to the high temperatures and sweating and should fast as long as there is no real desire for food.
Some cases of fatigue will respond well to fasting, particularly when it results from congested organs and energy.
Back pains that are due to muscular tightness and stress rather than from bone disease or osteoporosis are usually alleviated with a lighter diet or juice fasting.
Many patients with mental illness, from anxiety to schizophrenia, have relief by fasting. The purpose of fasting in the case, however, is not to cure these problems but to help understand the relationship of foods, chemicals, or drugs to the mental difficulties.
Obesity may be remedied by some degree of fasting.
Colds, atheroclerosis, coronary artery disease, bronchitis, angina-pectoris, headaches, hypertension, constipation, diabetes, indigestion, diarrhoea, fatigue, food allergies, back pains, environmental allergies, asthma, insomnia, skin conditions and epilepsy-in all these conditions, fasting may be advocated