Probably the most important reason is that the body uses quite a bit of energy to digest food, and when fasting this energy becomes available for other uses. In the fasting state, the body will scour for dead cells, damaged tissues, fatty deposits, tumors, abscesses, all of which are burned for fuel or expelled as waste. The elimination of these obstructions restores the immune system functionality and metabolic process to an optimum state. Fasting restores
good digestion and elimination, and peristaltic action is quickened. Fasting allows a deep, physiological rest of the digestive organs, and the energy saved goes into self-healing and self-repairing. By eliminating obstructions, by cleansing, detoxification, and purifying the intestines, the blood, and the cells, we can overcome many of our physical ills or handicaps as well as getting a boost in energy. Fasting not only removes obstructions and helps the body to heal itself, it is also rejuvenating and life-extending. These resulting benefits can have lasting affects in your mental and emotional health.
The other very important aspect is that your self-awareness will be elevated. If you are sick and depressed, then this might be the most important thing you can try in your healing program, because it gives you immediately an energy boost and increased awareness which might allow that you see things more clearly, allowing you the first step out of your sickness and onto the path of recovery. While fasting you become more aware of your body process, your life and with everything you are doing. It becomes a period where you can evaluate all that you're doing more objectively, and you naturally have more time for contemplation because you aren't using time amassing, preparing, eating, eliminating and cleaning up all which is used to prepare food. You become more aware of what your body likes and doesn't like when you start to eat again. You gain self-confidence in your ability to control your life process, to set a goal and carry out an intention.
Perhaps the most instructive testimony as to the acuteness of mental powers during fasting comes from Dr. Herbert Shelton who supervised the fasting of more than 40,000 people over a period of fifty years. His message is that the freer the body is of toxic materials flowing through the blood and lymphatic system, the clearer is the ability to think.
These facts are due to physiological causes. Large amounts of blood and nervous energies have to be sent to the digestive organs to digest a meal. If these energies are not required there, they may be used by the brain for better thinking. This increase in mental acuity doesn’t usually happen until after the first few days of a fast, because the body is busy cleaning out excess toxins and substances and so the first few days can be a period of depression, with headaches and various pains as this process is underway. This makes the first stage of fasting difficult but after the body has thrown off its load of toxins, then the brain is fed by a cleaner bloodstream and the mental powers and clarity of thought are extraordinarily increased and the other senses also become more acute.
One’s mind becomes clearer and one’s ability to think and solve intricate problems is enhanced. One is simply more alert, and one’s mind seems to open up into new fields. The mental and physical senses are heightened, and often there can be a feeling of euphoria, especially during longer fasts. Some, for the first time, will experience emotional stability. The reasons for this are multifold - the elimination of the emotional dependence on food, exclusion of stimulating foods like caffeine, processed sugars, recreational drugs, tobacco and trans-fatty acids, all of which can have a devastating effect on delicate emotions.
During a fast, a metamorphosis occurs. The body undergoes a tearing down and rebuilding of damaged materials. For this reason, fasting is famous for its ability to rejuvenate and give the body a more youthful tone. Why does fasting have such a powerful effect in healing the body? Fasting dissolves diseased cells in a systematic manner, leaving healthy tissue. The result is a thorough cleansing of the tube, membrane and cellular structures. There is a remarkable redistribution of nutrients in the fasting body. It hangs on to precious minerals and vitamins while catabolizing on old tissue, toxins and inferior materials.
Each cell of your body is a complete living entity with its own metabolism. It needs a constant supply of oxygen and sufficient nourishment. When due to nutritional deficiencies, sluggish metabolism, sedentary life, overeating and consequent poor digestion and assimilation of food, lack of fresh air and sufficient exercise and rest, our cells are deprived... they start to degenerate... the normal process of cell replacement and rebuilding slows down and your body starts to grow old, its resistance to disease will diminish and you become ‘sick’.
Animals will naturally fast when they are sick or injured, and when we are ill, our hunger diminishes. If we get out of the way and allow nature to take its course, we will find that we can heal from any problem. Since the dawn of recorded time, in fact since before the word "doctor" came into existence, priests provided sanctuaries where people could go to fast. Whereas modern medical practitioners admit that they have no cures, only drugs that mask the symptoms while causing yet other symptoms to appear.
“I had a medical practice for 20 years in NYC, supervised hundreds of long fasts, and I found that the physical healing or weight loss was but a pleasant side effect. What really happened is that the person got in touch with their higher self, their true self, and came to the experience that healing can take place at every level, simply by letting go and allowing Mother Nature to do her work.” – Dr. Rai Casey