Chapter I – The fast: ancient and modern virtues

“ I can think. I can wait. I can fast”

 

“Anyone can be a magician, anyone can achieve his own ends, if he is able to think, if he is able to wait, if he is able to fast”

 

SIDDHARTA, H. Hesse

 

Fasting is a physiological experience of extraordinary effectiveness in activating the processes of detoxification and healing of our own organism.

Its origin is lost in the ancient traditions of primitive peoples, having always been practiced as a cathartic healing ritual or having religious significance.

We can reasonably say that the human body is perfectly designed to cope with a prolonged period of abstention from food. Otherwise it would be impossible to explain man’s survival on earth in an unfavourable environmental context and where the availability of food was entirely irregular. But humans, like other animals, in their metabolic complexity are able to make the best use of available food resources and “treasure” them to make them available in times of famine. The practice of fasting takes on a completely different meaning in our current context as a welfare society.

It can represent an important moment of “re-appropriation” of one’s own body and rediscovery of its physiological biorhythms, almost unknown in daily experience or sacrificed to our needs,  of re-tuning with the rhythms of nature that sometimes frighten us and in any case do not belong to us.

Fasting is a path that leads us to a real inner rebirth, which makes us discover hidden and unsuspected resources, making them available to our organism. Especially through fasting we can regain the idea of the psychophysical unity of our being. Fasting, through a profound modification of the gene expressiveness, determines the activation of the innate self-healing abilities in our cells, expression of the universal VIS MEDICATRIX NATURAE.

Therapeutic fasting seems to perfectly sum up the targets and the health objectives to be pursued for the overall well-being of the person and,  at the same time,  to promote the removal of the disease causes,  partially recognized also by the official medicine:

 

  • reduction of the inflammatory state, a favorable ground for the onset of  cardiovascular diseases and obesity
  • general improvement of metabolism
  • Elimination of risk factors such as obesity, insulin resistance an hypercholesterolemia
  • Strengthening of the immune system
  • elimination of the toxins accumulated in the body
  • protection against aging processes
  • neuroendocrine modulation and regulation of stress reactions
  • stabilization of mood and emotion and improvement of relationships with the environment.

 

Over the centuries, fasting, considered as intense psychological experience, is present in all major religions, from Christianity to Buddhism to Islamism and Judaism, representing a mystical moment of elevation to God and purification.

The clear rejection by the medical-scientific world, solely due to preconceptions, has placed fasting in an unfairly marginal role in the field of natural therapies and it is only thanks to commitment of some courageous physician that the fasting therapeutic practice has been able to spread and can be experienced in all its extraordinary effectiveness. In our context, fasting represents today a natural therapy of easy practicability, even self-managed once it has been sufficiently matured and deepened;  it is in fact essential to learn how one’s body experiences fasting, which reactions and which symptoms emerge during detoxification processes.

Fasting is a very effective means of maintaining health and as such,  it is recommended for all those who wish to practice natural detoxification and disease prevention. In the presence of some pathological situations, fasting, through detoxification processes, is indicated as a real therapy,  subject of studies also by the scientific community. Fasting represents instinctive therapy for all diseases. These highly significant therapeutic effects are largely attributable to the detoxification, rebalancing and harmonization action on the immune system, on the axis of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal stress and generally on the metabolism.

The experience of prolonged fasting can be configured as an extreme, global and radical therapeutic intervention.

Fasting is EXTREME or borderline as it cannot be considered neither easy, nor confortable, nor within everyone’s reach, nor is to be faced without adequate preparation or superficiality. It requires careful consideration of the experience to be undertaken, a total sharing of the “fasting philosophy” and, finally, to adhere to a new health project that implies being protagonists and not delegating anything concerning one’s own well-being. In proposing a fasting program, usually a particular harshness of impact is found. This  means that only a small minority adhere to the idea of ​​being able to fast, often after a prolonged evaluation. Hence the importance of the counseling work of the therapist who assists the neophyte in this process.

Fasting  is GLOBAL because, in spite of all conventional super-specialist and ultra-sectorialized therapies it involves the whole organism in its psychophysical unity. The detoxification process, carried out by fasting, affects practically every single cell, which profoundly changes the gene expressiveness and metabolism.

Fasting  is RADICAL in the true etymological meaning of the term as it intervenes deeply at the roots of our psychophysical identity, that means at the level of the psycho-neuro-endocrine-immunological system, which determines and directs our interactions with the environment .

Finally, fasting is configured as a personalized therapy as it adapts to each specific genetic and clinical-metabolic individuality and, for each one, traces its own path to healing, a path that because of the uniqueness of each individual can only be variable from person to person.

In other words, fasting indicates our personal WAY TO HEALING. The studies that have been recently published in relation to fasting therapy, confirm the experimental observations of those who follow this simple and prodigious therapy and, on the other hand, clamorously deny its detractors.

One wonders why fasting is associated, in the body,  with this whole series of favorable phenomena for health, even though it represents a critical moment for survival. In reality, the large gene pool underlying the adaptations of fasting shows that in this phase the organism has great resources at its disposal, which are used for “cellular cleaning” activities, elimination of exogenous and endogenous toxins, maintenance and restoration of cellular functions and delicate systemic balances.  In spite of the increased knowledge, the MYSTERY of fasting remains basically intact, i.e. how this very ancient behavioural norm can represent an extraordinary means of health, in many cases proving to be superior to the very sophisticated and hyper-technological therapies of the latest generation.

 

Marco Mattorre

 


 

Despite we have not asked permission yet to Dr Marco Mattorre, we take the liberty to publish his book’s index. Through the title of the chapters, the evolution of his work will be evident to our readers.

 

THERAPEUTIC FASTING MANUAL

INDEX

Preface Pag 3
CAP   I Fasting, ancient and modern virtues Pag. 5
CAP  II Intoxication and stress Pag. 9
CAP III Fasting physiology Pag. 12
CAP IV Fasting metabolism Pag. 17
CAP  V Fasting effects Pag. 21
CAP  VI Fasting symptoms Pag. 26
CAP  VII The practice of fasting Pag. 29
CAP VIII Therapeutic indications of fasting Pag. 33
CAP  IX The new studies on fasting Pag. 40
CAP  X The psychological and sensorineural experience of fasting Pag. 42
CAP  XI The philosophy of fasting: between hygiene and PNEI Pag. 45
CAP XII Refeeding after fasting Pag. 47
CAP XIII Fasting and biological parameters Pag. 50
  PART II

Insights

CAP XIV Recent history of “scientific” fasting” Pag. 56
CAP  XV Live …. of fats Pag. 58
CAP  XVI Fasting and neuroendocrine modulation Pag. 61
CAP  XVII Fasting and regulation of energy metabolism and calorie expenditure Pag. 67
CAP XVIII Weight loss in fasting: fasting therapy for obesity Pag.

 

74
CAP  XIX Fasting, glycemic homeostasis and related endocrine-metabolic pathologies Pag. 79
CAP  XX XX  Fasting and neuroendocrine control of eating behavior Pag. 88
CAP  XXI Fasting, inflammatory and immunological diseases: nutritional immunomodulation Pag. 93
CAP  XXII Fasting and cardiovascular disease Pag. 101
CAP  XXIII Fasting and calorie restriction: effects on aging and neurodegeneration Pag. 109
CAP XXIV Fasting and neoplasms Pag. 124
CAP  XXV Fasting and epilepsy Pag. 135
CAP  XXVI Fasting seen … by the genes Pag. 138
CAP  XXVII Cell renewal Pag. 142
CAP XXVIII (Some) physiological bases of nutrition Pag. 145
CAP XXIX Illness and Healing Pag. 150
CAP XXX Therapist between Ubris and Pietas Pag. 156

 

 

 

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