This section is from the book "The Hygienic System: Fasting And Sun Bathing", by Herbert M. Shelton. Also available from Amazon: The Hygienic System Vol III Fasting and Sun Bathing.
I have emphasized the gradual disappearance of symptoms. I must also emphasize the fact that there is sometimes a temporary increase in symptoms during the early days of a fast. Headache may sometimes increase at first and then diminish. The gastric pains in hyperacidity and gastric ulcer are almost sure to increase during the first three days of the fast. Nervous symptoms are sometimes aggravated at first. It also occasionally happens that skin eruptions grow worse. Catarrh is most likely to increase at the outset. Streams of mucus may pour from the nose, sinuses, throat, vagina and colon. An amazing quantity of mucus is often excreted through the uterine and vaginal walls. This is especially true in those women patients who had leucorrhea before the fast was instituted. In all cases, however, these increased symptoms are only temporary and the reverse process soon sets in, resulting in ultimate recovery.
In some forms of gastric derangement, especially hyperacidity and certain nervous states, ulcer, etc., pain accompanies an empty stomach and is relieved by food. It is known to everyone of experience that the relief from pain afforded by eating is only temporary and is soon followed by the same pain and gnawing. Eating does not remedy the condition, which may persist for years of eating.
When such a patient is placed upon a fast, there are two to three days of suffering, often increased suffering, followed by relief. If the fast is persisted in, permanent relief, or actual recovery, follows. With the coming of relief the patient experiences greater happiness and peace of mind.
A very unusual case was cared for at the Health School while this revision was underway. A man with a large gastric ulcer, very nervous and irritable, depressed, emaciated and weak, whose ulcer was of several years' standing and who had marked hyperacidity of the stomach, experienced no relief from stomach distress for more than ten days and then only intermittently. For some reason which I do not know, gastric secretion continued in this man long after it customarily ceases and, after it had practically ceased, it would start up at times and cause considerable discomfort with eructation of gastric juice. It need hardly be added that this man's fast was far from comfortable.
Increase of symptoms in the early days of a fast or the development of new ones should not cause the fast to be broken. The really healthy person experiences no reactions from the fast. Major Austin says: "A very good test indeed of a so-called perfectly healthy person's real state of health is the effect produced on him or her by missing one or two meals. If the tongue begins to get coated and the breath foul and the individual feels seedy and out of sorts, it is proof positive that the state of health is not as good as it was supposed to be." The more severe the reactions produced the greater is the real need for the fast. "In exact proportion to the severity of her fasting symptoms," says Dr. Dewey (A New Era for Women), "so is her need to persevere and for the reason that they all mean disease in course of development."