By: Amal Al-Sibai, Saudi Gazette
Fasting during the month of Ramadan is ordained in Islam, and it is therapeutic and preventive for many of the diseases people suffer from as result of unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits.
Due to the exceptional health benefits of voluntarily giving up food and drink for extended hours, fasting was prescribed by traditional healers centuries ago. Fasting may be the single greatest natural healing therapy missing in today’s Western lifestyle. The neglect of this age-old practice in modern days in the West may have contributed to the recent rise in the diseases of affluence, such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, heart disease, allergies, diabetes, and cancer.
And by not fasting correctly and straying away from the true purpose of fasting, these diseases are becoming more common in Muslim societies as well.
Fasting has been used as a healing, spiritual, religious, and purification process for hundreds of years in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Eastern religions. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Hippocrates all used and believed in fasting therapy to recreate health where there was sickness.
The secret behind the healing powers of fasting is that it is a form of detoxification from overeating and from the exposure of our bodies to unwanted chemicals in our food and our environment. Although, we cannot live in a bubble in order to protect our bodies from these toxins, we can apply fasting correctly to take advantage of its detoxifying effects.
It is a popular, trendy word; detoxification, but what does it really mean? Detoxification is the process of reducing intake and eliminating toxins from the body or transforming them and clearing excess mucus and congestion to revitalize the body’s natural functions and healing capacities.
These toxins can be in the form of nicotine and other harmful drugs, air pollutants, fats, cholesterol, and free radicals..
Fasting improves the processes of elimination and increases the release of toxins from the colon, kidneys and bladder, lungs and respiratory tract, sinuses, and the skin.
Without the incessant intake of foods during the day, we allow the digestive system to rest.
By minimizing the work load on the organs of digestion; the intestines, stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and even the kidneys, to repair and restore themselves, clear existing toxins, and clean up the circulating blood and lymph. The breaking down of foods drains a whole lot of energy from the body.
The energy that is normally expended on the process of digestion is now freed up and can be focused towards enhancing health and vitality and sharpening the functions of the mind.
That is why it is not surprising when fasters report having higher energy levels, more mental clarity and concentration, and greater spiritual awareness and meditation during the days of Ramadan.
Fasting can be a remedy for a number of health problems. Indigestion, poor bowel function, and excess abdominal fat strain the muscles of the back, which may be responsible for many forms of back pain. This type of back pain can be alleviated by fasting and a lighter diet during the evenings. Allergies and sinuses congestion may be relieved because fasting helps rid the body of excess mucus discharge.
As long as one does not overly indulge in foods and sweets after the breaking of the fast, weight loss can also be accomplished during the month of fasting.
Fasting is an excellent method to overcome addictions to coffee, smoking, and even drugs.
It will take five to seven days of fasting to significantly reduce the strong cravings for the poisonous substances.
Fasting is a catalyst for change and personal growth and a potent motivator to quit unhealthy habits.