Its an old hygienic maxim that the doctor does not heal, the medicines do not heal, only the body heals itself. If the body can"t heal then nothing can heal it. The body always knows best what it needs and what to do.

But healing means repairing damaged organs and tissues and this takes energy, while a sick body is already enervated, weakened and not coping with its current stressors. If the sick person could but somehow increase the body"s energy resources sufficiently, then a slowly healing body could heal faster while a worsening one, or one that was failing or one that was not getting better might heal.

Fasting does just that. To whatever degree food intake is reduced the body"s digestive workload is proportionately reduced and it will naturally, and far more intelligently than any physician could order, redirect energy to wherever it decides that energy is most needed. A fasting body begins accessing nutritional reserves (vitamins and minerals) previously stored in the tissues and starts converting body fat into sugar for energy fuel. During a time of water fasting, sustaining the body"s entire energy and nutritional needs from reserves and fat does require a small effort, but far less effort than eating. I would guess a fasting body used about five percent of its normal daily energy budget on nutritional concerns rather than the 33 percent it needs to process new food. Thus, water fasting puts something like 28 percent more energy at the body"s disposal. This is true even though the water faster may feel weak, energyless.

I would worry if sick or toxic fasters did not complain about their weakness. They should expect to feel energyless. In fact, the more internal healing and detoxification the body requires, the tireder the faster feels because the body is very hard at work internally. A great deal of the body"s energy will go toward boosting the immune system if the problem is an infection. Liberated energy can also be used for healing damaged parts, rebuilding failing organs, for breaking down and eliminating deposits of toxic materials. Only after most of the healing has occurred does a faster begin to feel energetic again. Don"t expect to feel anything but tired and weak.

The only exception to this would be a person who has already significantly detoxified and healed their body by previous fasting, or the rare soul that has gone from birth through adulthood enjoying extraordinarily good nutrition and without experiencing the stressors of improper digestion. When one experienced faster I know finds himself getting "run down" or catching a cold, he quits eating until he feels really well. Instead of feeling weak as most fasters do, as each of the first four or five days of water fasting pass, he experiences a resurgence of more and more energy. On the first fasting day he would usually feel rotten, which was why he started fasting in the first place. On the second fasting day he"d feel more alert and catch up on his paper work. By his third day on only water he would be out doing hard physical chores like cutting the grass, splitting wood or weeding his vegetable garden. Day four would also be an energetic one, but if the fast extended beyond that, lowering blood sugar would begin to make him tired and he"d feel forced to begin laying down.

After a day of water fasting the average person"s blood sugar level naturally drops; making a faster feel somewhat tired and "spacey," so a typical faster usually begins to spend much more time resting, further reducing the amount of energy being expended on moving the body around, serendipitously redirecting even more of the body"s energy budget toward healing. By the end of five or six days on water, I estimate that from 40 to 50 percent of the body"s available energy is being used for healing, repair and detoxification.

The amount of work that a fasting body"s own healing energy can do and what it feels like to be there when it is happening is incredible. But you can"t know it if you haven"t felt it. So hardly anyone in our present culture knows.

As I mentioned in the first chapter, at Great Oaks School I apprenticed myself to the traveling masters of virtually every system of natural healing that existed during the '70s. I observed every one of them at work and tried most of them on my clients. After all that I can say with experience that I am not aware of any other healing tool that can be so effective as the fast.