Medical ArticlesFrom The Hygienic Dictionary
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Exercise While Fasting
Source: How And When To Be Your Own Doctor
The issue of how much activity is called for on a fast is
controversial. Natural Hygienists in the Herbert Shelton tradition
insist that all fasters absolutely must have complete bed rest, with
no books, no TV, no visitors, no enemas, no exercise, no music, and
of course no food, not even a cup of herb tea. In my many years of
conducting people through fasts, I have yet to meet an individual
that could mentally tolerate this degree of nothingness. It is too
drastic a withdrawal from all the stimulation people are used to in
the twentieth century. I still don't know how Shelton managed to
make his patients do it, but my guess is that he must have been a
very intimidating guy. Shelton was a body builder of some renown in
his day. I bet Shelton's patients kept a few books and magazines
under their mattress and only took them out when he wasn't looking.
If I had tried to enforced this type of sensory deprivation, I know
my patients would have grabbed their clothes and run, vowing never
to fast again. I think it is most important that people fast, and
that they feel so good about the experience that they want to do it
again, and talk all their sick friends into doing the same thing.
In contrast to enforced inactivity, Russian researchers who
supervised schizophrenics on 30 day water fasts insisted that they
walk for three hours every day, without stopping. I would like to
have been there to see how they managed to enforce that. I suspect
some patients cheated. I lived with schizophrenics enough years to
know that it is very difficult to get them to do anything that they
don't want to do, and very few of them are into exercise, especially
In my experience both of these approaches to activity during the
fast are extremes. The correct activity level should be arrived at
on an individual basis. I have had clients who walked six miles a
day during an extended water fast, but they were not feeling very
sick when they started the fast, and they were also physically fit.
In contrast I have had people on extended fasts who were unable to
walk for exercise, or so weak they were unable to even walk to the
bathroom, but these people were critically ill when they started
fasting, and desperately needed to conserve what little vital force
they had for healing.
Most people who are not critically ill need to walk at least 200
yards twice a day, with assistance if necessary, if only to move the
lymph through the system. The lymphatic system is a network of ducts
and nodes which are distributed throughout the body, with high
concentrations of nodes in the neck, chest, arm pits, and groin. Its
job is to carry waste products from the extremities to the center of
the body where they can be eliminated. The blood is circulated
through the arteries and veins in the body by the contractions of
the heart, but the lymphatic system does not have a pump. Lymphatic
fluid is moved by the contractions of the muscles, primarily those
of the arms and legs. If the faster is too weak to move, massage and
assisted movements are essential.
Lymph nodes are also a part of our immune system and produce white
blood cells to help control invading organisms. When the lymph is
overloaded with waste products the ducts and nodes swell, and until
the source of the local irritation is removed, are incapable of
handling further debris. If left in this condition for years they
become so hard they feel like rocks under the skin. Lumps in the
armpits or the groin are prime sites for the future development of a
cancer. Fasting, massage, and poultices will often soften overloaded
lymph nodes and coax them back into operation.
Next: The Stages Of Fasting
Previous: The Unrelenting Boredom Of Fasting