DETOXIFICATION AND SELF-HEALING – THE ONLY TRUE ‘CURE’
By Roger French
Detoxification – or ‘detox’ – is in vogue these days. Everybody is talking about the need to do it and a whole chunk of natural therapies is marketing products and books on different nutritional ways to do it. Most of these will achieve some degree of inner cleansing, but, basically, there is only one approach that the body needs to detox and this is very easily explained.
In countries where people are starving, they are dying from deficiencies of protein, carbohydrate and fat. In Australia, as far as nutrition is concerned, we are dying from surpluses of fat, protein and (refined) carbohydrate. The whole aim of detoxification is to enable the body to clear away the toxic acidic wastes from these surpluses.
Our pets know instinctively how and when to do it. When our cats, dogs and other pets are sick, they won’t eat – it’s virtually impossible to make a sick animal eat. In the animal kingdom, detox/self-healing is a perfectly normal procedure. Humans are essentially no different.
Healing from the majority of illnesses – both acute and degenerative – begins with lowering the body’s level of toxaemia, its load of metabolic wastes and man-made chemicals.
Self-healing is the only healing, there is no other form of healing. Medications, many of which are toxic, usually only treat the symptoms of illness, and often interfere with the process, sometimes suppressing it altogether. Medications often change the course of the illness and so appear to effect a cure, but one symptom has merely been replaced by another.
With conventional drug therapy, there are none of the restoring and rejuvenating effects that come with natural healing. A chemical that makes a well person sick (the ‘side effects’) cannot make a sick person well.
There are times when there is a place for medication. For instance, antibiotics can prevent death, and some cancer treatments may give people a few or many more years of life. But the ‘cures’ do not provide high-level health, whereas true healing – if it is possible – brings about a genuine improvement in long-term health and wellbeing.
Self-healing requires a lot of energy, the same energy that would otherwise be consumed in everyday activities such as walking, working, studying or digesting food. As soon as we cease or greatly reduce our usual activities, and provided the level of vitality is adequate, energy is diverted to self-healing, which commences automatically in the body according to need.
The key to self-healing is energy conservation – both physical and mental – that is, complete rest.
Vitality, the other governing factor in healing, is a measure of the ability of the tissues to perform their functions. Their capacity to heal is directly related to vitality. While we have no direct control over vitality in the short term, the amount of rest we have is well within our control.
We normally think of rest as sitting in a chair or lying down, but that is only part of it. For full healing power to develop, rest must be much broader than this – it must be total.
Total rest has four components:
Physiological Rest: Rest of the digestive organs through a light ‘cleansing’ diet or briefly ceasing food intake altogether.
Physical Rest: Rest of the muscles. This requires being as inactive as possible – perhaps bed rest.
Mental Rest: Rest of the mind. This means avoiding intense mental work and not getting involved in arguments. It is best to stay away from people who insist that if you don’t eat normal meals, you’ll harm yourself! Coping with this kind of pressure can be quite exhausting.
Sensory Rest: Rest of the senses and nerves. Avoid straining eyes and ears with too much reading, too much television or listening to loud rock music. Keep away from delicious cooking aromas, which stimulate the flow of saliva and gastric juices – the Pavlov’s dogs effect – wasting valuable energy.
Merely following an ideally balanced diet of natural foods facilitates some degree of cleansing, though slowly. The process is greatly accelerated and much more rewarding if fruit and salads or fruit only are consumed exclusively. Detox becomes still more rapid if the juices of fruits and vegetables are consumed exclusively. Therapeutic fasting on water only is the most advanced form of cleansing to facilitate healing. However, it is too extreme initially, and in any case requires professional supervision except for very short periods (see ‘Safety Warnings’ next page).
A person undertaking a cleansing diet for the first time would gain valuable experience from either a fruit and salad diet or a juice diet for a few days. A juice diet is suitable for the majority of people in the stressful modern world.
The common assumption that fasting or a juice diet is starvation is entirely erroneous if they are conducted correctly. Therapeutic fasting is not starving. In starvation, vital tissues are broken down, and damage to the brain and other vital organs is likely. This is a destructive process, whereas properly conducted fasting is a constructive process.
During detox diets, including water fasting, the body is nourished adequately from its own reserves. For the first 12 hours of a fast, energy is provided by glucose from the last meal and glycogen (animal ‘starch’) stores in the liver. After that and up to about the 40th hour, amino acids in circulation are broken down for fuel, and from approximately the second day onwards, fat supplies energy. Muscles provide the necessary traces of protein to maintain the vital organs, and toxic wastes are broken down and eliminated, yielding more energy in the process. It is an ingenious trick of nature that the body uses as fuel the very substances that were causing the health problems in the first place.
In fact, one of the greatest wisdoms of nature is displayed in this process. During self-nourishment, tissues are broken down in the reverse order of their usefulness. Fat and disease growths go first. The body frees itself of benign tumours and other non-cancerous growths by dissolving them. Similarly, retained fluid and deposits of various kinds are reabsorbed, the usable portions being utilised for nourishment and the unusable portions eliminated.
Provided there is a reasonable level of vitality to start with, and provided the necessary conditions are maintained, the human body is able to nourish itself from its reserves for surprisingly long periods. Needless to say, the amount of stored fat has a large bearing on this.
Although the digestive system has little or no work to do during this ‘spring-cleaning’, there is still much work for the excretory system to do. Initially the liver works very hard breaking down stored toxins that are then released into circulation to be eliminated by the kidneys.
- Without professional supervision, do not stay on fruit and salads exclusively for more than seven days at a time; do not stay on juices exclusively for more than five days; do not fast on water exclusively for longer than three days at a time. Such cleansing periods should be employed no more frequently than every three months or so, unless with professional guidance. However, this does vary widely with different individuals.
If vitality is low – usually because of poor health, environmental chemicals or the pace and stress of modern living – the body may be unable to nourish itself adequately from its reserves, and malnourishment could result. No risk of this occurring should ever be taken. The possible complications could be alarming and distressing, and cause enough anxiety to prevent benefits being achieved.
How do we know whether vitality is adequate? We don’t. It requires a practitioner experienced in self-healing to determine the level of vitality. This is why professional supervision is essential for anything other than short periods on cleansing diets.
It cannot be overemphasised that, while the potential benefits are great, therapeutic detoxing can be overdone, and end up doing more harm than good. Again, it’s a matter of professional guidance.
- Avoid any strenuous activity during a healing diet, and avoid even light activity when on a fast.
On a very light diet or without any food, the body does not have energy available for strenuous activity, whether physical or mental. Any activity, such as physical exercise, prolonged reading, prolonged watching of television or sunbathing beyond a few minutes, diverts vital nerve energy away from the healing process and is likely to impede or even arrest healing.
Be particularly careful of sunbathing while fasting, because the heat can drain much of your energy without your being conscious of it. Limit any sunbathing to a few minutes at a time. Extended periods under the sun, which may be dangerous for your skin at any time, can thoroughly flatten your batteries during fasting.
- Water fasting and juice diets are inappropriate with certain health problems.
People with hypoglycaemia may find fasting difficult and may not be able to do it. It is dangerous for people to fast if they have diabetes or certain other conditions, such as emaciation or pronounced liver or kidney disease. Caution needs to be taken in the case of pregnancy, pronounced anaemia, debilitation, being elderly, gout, gastric ulcers, advanced disease and so on. In these cases, it is imperative that a practitioner be consulted.
As it is possible that you may have a condition of which you are unaware, be prepared to break a fast or juice diet if anything seems to be wrong. There is a big difference between feeling weak and feeling ‘absolutely terrible’. If there is any doubt at all, gradually resume normal healthy eating and consult a practitioner.
NEVER DENY WATER
Food is restricted during detox diets, but never water. It is essential to always satisfy true thirst with pure water. With juice or fruit and vege diets, their water content may be adequate or close to it.
If the tongue becomes heavily coated, as it normally does during self-healing, and begins to taste really awful – which is often mistaken for thirst – this is not thirst and should not lead to drinking copious quantities of water. True thirst is experienced as genuine dryness in the mouth and stomach. Excessive drinking might give the kidneys unnecessary work. If the stomach is in an irritable state, copious amounts of water may lead to nausea.
WHEN TO CLEANSE
Loss of appetite is a sure sign that eating needs to be scaled down. Whether or not we are aware of loss of appetite, if there is a coated tongue and a temperature above normal – especially a substantial fever – we can be sure, except in very unusual cases, that it will be beneficial to fast or, at most, consume diluted fruit juices.
If we wish to fast when there is no fever, it is desirable to wait, if possible, until there is a rise in body temperature of at least a half-degree centigrade over 24 hours, normally a sign of adequate vitality. This will often occur at some stage after adopting a more natural diet, or after deliberately preparing for self-healing (see below – ‘Self-Healing for Non-Acute Conditions’).
Missing a meal or two when out of sorts, emotionally upset or just not hungry may be very beneficial.
The general rule is: Eat only when comfortable in body and mind and when true hunger is present. There are exceptions, such as diabetes and hypoglycaemia.
SELF-HEALING IN ACUTE DISEASE
Loss of appetite is a most characteristic feature of acute disease. Digestion scales down while the body conserves all available energy for detoxification and healing.
Day after day for years – three, four, five or six times a day – the body has had to digest and process food, a task which demands much hard work by the digestive system and the liver. In acute disease, ranging from colds and flu to more serious ailments, the body takes a break from digestion and assimilation and directs all its available energy to cleansing, repairing and restoring itself.
A century and a half ago, a Dr William Beaumont discovered that during a fever, little or no digestive juice is secreted, and if food is eaten it is as ‘indigestible as lead’. It has been observed repeatedly that a sick person who fasts recovers with surprising speed and without complications. And fasting is all that you feel like doing anyway.
There is a big difference in the behaviour of a sick child forced to eat rather than allowed to rest completely. In the former case they will toss and turn and cry in discomfort, whereas if the stomach is allowed to remain empty, the child will usually be relatively comfortable and sleep much of the time.
Preparation for reduced eating is not necessary in acute disease. Your body is telling you that it is already in detox mode. Once you become aware of symptoms, fasting or juices can begin immediately, along with complete rest as described above. It is particularly important to keep warm to prevent chilling.
The length of the fast depends on the duration of the fever. It is preferable to continue fasting for 24 hours after the temperature has returned to normal, to ensure the fever is over. Where it is necessary to fast for more than two or three days, a practitioner familiar with self-healing needs to be consulted for safety reasons.
SELF-HEALING FOR NON-ACUTE CONDITIONS
We don’t have to wait until we get sick before starting the healing process. An apparently well person can undertake a cleansing diet and this will activate a similar healing process to that which occurs in acute disease.
However, there is a major difference between the two situations. In acute disease our bodies are telling us they need to fast, so no preparation is required. But in the absence of fever, when we decide we are going to start self-healing at some convenient time, the body has to be warned of the need to switch over to self-nourishment. We must prepare for it.
How It’s Done
PREPARING FOR A CLEANSING DIET
The ideal would be to wait for a slight rise in body temperature before commencing the preparation, but as this will often be impractical, we can commence when the opportunity arises.
The preparation for a cleansing diet begun in the absence of acute illness involves scaling down food intake gradually and also taking it easy physically, depending on the anticipated duration of the cleansing.
Doing one-day on juices needs no preparation.
For two days on juices, the preparation could be as follows:
Day 1 – Fresh fruit and salads of bulky vegetables only; exclude bananas, as they are too rich. No concentrated foods, and definitely no coffee, tea, soft drink or alcohol.
Day 2 – Fresh fruit juices only, diluted with at least one-quarter water
For three days on juices or more:
As above, but repeat the diet of day 1 before progressing onto juices. As the juice days progress, make the juices more dilute.
For a two-day water fast, a typical plan to suit most people would be:
Day 1 – As above.
Day 2 – As above.
Day 3 – Commence fasting, consuming water only, according to thirst.
For a longer fast, of say 7 to 10 days, it would be necessary to have two or three days on fruit and salads, followed by a couple of days on diluted juices, according to how the body is progressing. An experienced practitioner’s guidance is essential here.
THE UNIQUE ROLE OF JUICES
Although water fasting normally facilitates the maximum rate of healing, juice diets may be more suitable for most people today because of reduced vitality due to chemical pollution and stress.
A juice diet is the ideal soft option to water fasting, as juices contain natural sugars, well balanced by minerals and vitamins, thus providing a little energy. In any case, the benefits should be greater than for fasting if fasting is not appropriate for that person at that particular time.
Although fibre is vitally important in the normal diet, the temporary absence of fibre during a detox period minimises stimulation of the intestines, conserving more energy for healing. This is why juices are more effective than are whole fruits and vegetables.
Where vitality is too low even for a juice diet, or if the person intends to continue some of their normal activities, whole fruit and/or vegetables is the appropriate cleansing diet – the softest option of all.
Pure, fresh fruit juices are better for cleansing, while pure, fresh vegetable juices, being ‘heavier’ in nature, are more suitable for building up the body following cleansing and also as an addition to normal eating. Nevertheless, it is OK to use vegetable juices during detox if desired.
Which Juices To Use
The juices of most of the commonly used fruits and vegetables may be beneficial, with exceptions for certain ailments. If in doubt about a particular case, consult an experienced practitioner.
When fruit is at its ripest and sweetest, it is also richest in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in their most useable form. Organically grown is a great advantage if available. Fruit needs to be in season and the juice agreeable to the individual.
The following juices are the most commonly used:
apple, pear, watermelon, grape, grapefruit, lemons*, mandarin, orange, pineapple, carrot, spinach, celery, cabbage, cucumber, parsley*, dandelion*, beetroot, tomato**
*small amounts only, well diluted with water or other juices, **tomato needs to be suitable for the individual
* small amounts only, well diluted with water or other juices
** tomato needs to be suitable for the individual
Citrus juices, especially grapefruit and diluted lemon, are particularly suitable for excess mucous conditions. Oranges contain a substance that irritates the liver in some people, indicated by a tender liver or causing headaches. These people are best to avoid oranges.
Diluted lemon is a great way to start the day – any day.
Grapefruit juice, low in calories and high in potassium, is one of the best cleansing juices, except where peptic ulcers are present, as these will be irritated by the citric acid.
Apple, pear, watermelon and grape juices are gentle to most stomachs and are good all-round juices when in season. Watermelon juice can be taken straight.
Because of its richness in (natural) sugar, grape juice would normally be diluted at least 50/50 with water.
Tomatoes are suitable only if fully ripe, preferably vine-ripened.
The invaluable vitamin C is higher in the outer leaves of green vegetables which are usually thrown away. Juicing enables these to be used, as well as the tops of carrots, beetroot, etc, provided they are well washed to remove pesticides and are not bitter with oxalic acid.
The juices of green vegetables are nutritionally superb, especially as these foods are strongly preventive against cancer. Combined with carrot and beetroot juices, this makes a very palatable drink. If there is such a thing as a true ‘health cocktail’, it would be this time-honoured carrot-and-chlorophyll juice, consisting of about one-third glass of carrot and beetroot juices and two-thirds glass the juice of any or all of spinach, celery, cabbage, cucumber and small portions of parsley and dandelion and perhaps comfrey. As part of a normal daily diet, carrot-and-chlorophyll juice is an excellent supplement.
SYMPTOMS THAT ARISE DURING SELF-HEALING
Elimination of toxic wastes normally increases greatly during self-healing. In most cases the individual will be unaware of this, but for some, elimination will be so rapid as to manifest as symptoms. The cleansing process then becomes ‘visible’, as it is in acute disease.
If symptoms do arise during cleansing, there is no need to panic. They are almost invariably part of the healing process and, however much discomfort they may cause, are beneficial in the long run.
Symptoms rarely last long, often only half a day. If they do persist for more than a few days, it will be necessary to call a practitioner familiar with these methods. If drugs are used to suppress these symptoms, they will also suppress the detox and healing processes. By using hydrotherapy (water treatment), it is often possible to relieve symptoms without interfering with healing. In fact, hydrotherapy is designed to support the healing process. (See the last section of this article.)
The most common symptom is headache, usually the result of caffeine withdrawal. Because blood pressure usually drops a little, people are more susceptible to dizziness and fainting and need to be careful. Nausea, vomiting, fever or other symptoms occur less frequently.
An increase in bile production can cause vomiting or diarrhoea, the motions usually being an orange-yellow colour. This is normally a sign that the liver is cleansing itself and, although very distressing, is extremely beneficial for long-term health because the liver is the body’s biochemical laboratory.
Feeling weak is normally not a cause for concern and is to be expected in the absence of normal meals. Surprisingly, some people maintain full strength. Either way, strength level while cleansing is not particularly important. When eating is resumed, strength is rapidly restored to normal or better. A short period of weakness is a small price to pay for the great and lasting gains brought about by the detox process.
BREAKING THE DETOX DIET
Breaking a three-day juice diet may typically be as follows:
Day 1 – Fresh fruit, then vegetable salads. Avoid bananas, and for the veges use only bulky, water-rich vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, tomato, celery, carrot, beetroot, etc.
Day 2 – As for day 1, but with the addition of some protein food such as nuts, nut milk or cottage cheese. Ripe bananas could be included with the fruit.
Day 3 – Normal meals in accordance with Natural Health Dietary Guidelines (see NVNH, Autumn 2004).
A five-day juice diet could be broken as above, but repeating day 1, then continuing as for days 2 and 3.
A two-day water fast may typically be broken as follows:
Day 1 – Fresh fruit juice, one glass every 3 hours approximately. The first juice should be diluted to three-quarters water, and the following juices gradually strengthened so that the last juice of the day is only one-quarter water. Watermelon juice needs less dilution than this, or none at all.
Day 2 – Fresh fruit then vegetable salads. Avoid bananas and use only bulky, water-rich vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, tomato, celery, carrot, beetroot, etc.
Day 3 – As for day 2, but with the addition of some protein food such as nuts, nut milk or cottage cheese.
Day 4 – Normal meals in accordance with Natural Health Dietary Guidelines (see NVNH, Autumn 2004).
For longer fasts, the breaking process would normally be more gradual and would be regulated by the supervising practitioner.
The most difficult part of the entire detox program is in breaking the juice diet or fast without overeating. During fasting there should be no appetite, but once eating is resumed, appetite is reawakened and there is great interest in food. It is extremely difficult to not overeat.
If eating gets out of control, it is possible to undo much of the benefit that has been achieved. Strong self-discipline will be necessary. If there has been professional supervision, continue with this until normal eating is resumed. The way to make the process relatively easy is to be at a health retreat that has extensive experience in self-healing.
It’s Also Important to Know …
WHERE TO UNDERGO SELF-HEALING
The primary requirements for carrying out self-healing are seclusion, peace and quiet. Complete freedom from worry, tension or stimulating factors such as noise or food aromas is essential.
The home is usually a poor place to detox because of the likelihood of opposition or interference from others. Homes located in crowded, noisy cities where the air is polluted are most unsuitable.
The best place is a health retreat in a rural environment where guidance and reassurance by practitioners, as well as the care and support of other staff and guests, provide optimum conditions.
EXERCISE DURING SELF-HEALING
It is essential to conserve every scrap of nerve energy for the healing process. People who want to lose weight in a hurry sometimes continue strenuous exercise during cleansing, assuming that this will burn up more fat. However, it is more likely to do the opposite, burning muscle instead of fat and retarding weight reduction, as well as decreasing or preventing healing.
Strenuous exercise diverts critical energy away from healing, frustrating the body’s efforts and possibly causing harm. On a juice diet, very light activity such as short, easy walks may be appropriate. If you are excessively tired afterwards, you have overdone it and should do less next time. While on a water fast, complete rest, preferably bed rest, is essential.
SELF-HEALING AND THE MIND
Reducing toxaemia improves the functioning of the brain. Typically the mind clears, memory sharpens and alertness is enhanced.
Interestingly, students who miss a meal before an exam, or at least eat lightly, often find that their minds are clearer during the exam – provided they are not sufferers of hypoglycaemia or diabetes (which so many people are).
During the cleansing process itself, however, mental fogginess and emotional upsets may be experienced as toxins are flushed out of the system. This is almost always temporary and any distress of the mind will usually pass in due course. Once again, an experienced practitioner can help allay any fears.
Contrary to expectations, there is normally no hunger associated with a properly conducted detox diet, except perhaps during the first day or two.
False hunger, on the other hand, is quite common. It may result from boredom, watching TV advertisements for food, habit at regular mealtimes or ‘hunger pains’ which are not true hunger, but the sign of an overworked stomach begging for rest – for mercy!
If genuine hunger does develop, this tends to indicate that self-nourishment is not proceeding adequately and there is a need to increase the intake of food. A practitioner’s assessment of the reason for the hunger would be desirable.
Genuine hunger arises normally at the body’s own natural completion of its cleansing process, indicating that it’s time to break the fast or juice diet and resume eating. However, it is rarely practicable to detox for the long time required for natural completion.
SMOKING, THE PILL AND OTHER DRUGS
During water fasting the effects of drugs are greatly amplified and can be dangerous, most being toxic to a degree and some also stimulating. Under normal circumstances, food acts as a buffer to the toxicity of drugs.
Consequently, it is strongly advisable when fasting to avoid any situation that could lead to accident or injury. A medical practitioner may not know that an injured person has been fasting, and the administration of drugs, painkillers, transfusions, etc, could be disastrous. The fasting person should remain safely at home or at the health retreat at all times.
Nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, tannin and the contraceptive pill are all drugs as far as the body is concerned and should be strictly avoided during fasting. If there are any which the individual will not do without, fasting should not be undertaken. The appropriate alternative in most cases would be a juice diet or fruit and salad diet. The guidance of an experienced practitioner is best sought at the outset.
Hydrotherapy – To Promote Healing and Pain Relief
Hydrotherapy is a range of specialised water-based treatments designed to stimulate general or local circulation in the blood vessels. This in turn assists an injured or diseased area of the body to heal by allowing more metabolic wastes and other toxins to be removed and more nutrients to flow into the area.
The treatment is applied in the form of either an immersion bath or hot/cold water compresses. The water itself, while soothing in its effect, does not create the response in the tissues. The response is due to the heat or cold applied to the area.
The general rule is that heat expands vessels, increases blood flow and relaxes nerves and tissues, while cold constricts vessels, reduces blood flow and stimulates nerves and tissues.
Acute conditions, such as sprains and strains, require cold applications to reduce swelling and therefore reduce tissue damage. Chronic conditions, such as still joints and aching back, require heat to soothe and relax the area. Hot and cold can often be used alternately to stimulate an area for more rapid recovery. The pattern to be used for alternating treatments is three minutes of hot and one minute of cold, repeated three times altogether.
Hydrotherapy should not be regarded as a primary therapy, but rather as a supplement to other forms of therapy.
Here is a brief description of the more common techniques.
Hot and cold sitz baths. These produce a flushing effect in the pelvic region, which helps relieve chronic constipation and pelvic pain. Sit for three minutes in a tub of warm water at approximately 40˚C with the feet in a bowl of cold water. Then for one minute, sit in another tub containing cold water with the feet in hot water. Repeat this process three times in total – being sure to finish sitting in the cold tub – and then dry briskly with a towel and dress warmly. During the bath, be warmly clad on upper body and legs.
Hot and cold leg baths. These stimulate circulation in the legs and help fluid retention, cramps, restless legs, chronic injuries and possibly varicose veins. A suitable leg bath is a clean garbage bin, two of which are required. The procedure and water temperatures are similar to those for sitz baths.
Hot and cold hand baths. Are good for circulation, arthritis and chronic injuries in the hands. As with the above procedures and using a bowl of hot water and a bowl of cold, bathe the hand in each for three minutes and one minute respectively, and repeat the cycle twice more. Dry promptly.
Hot and cold foments. These are used to stimulate circulation for healing and pain relief in parts of the body where baths can’t be used. Wrap a hot-water bottle in several layers of towel and place on the affected part for three minutes. Then rinse another towel in cold (not freezing) water, wring gently so that it doesn’t drip, and place on the area for one minute. Repeat the cycle twice more. Take care that the hot phases don’t burn the skin – use more layers of towel if necessary.
Cold compresses. Apply to sprains, bruises and insect bites.
Steam inhalations. These help clear nasal passages and ease respiratory conditions. Place about a litre of boiling water in a bowl, sit with the head over it, and cover both head and bowl with a towel. Inhale until there is no more steam. Take care not to burn the airways.
Some general guidelines for hydrotherapy need to be kept in mind:
- Sit or rest comfortably during the procedure;
- Watch for any reactions that may indicate sensitivity to heat or cold;
- Cease the treatment if pain increases;
- Do only one hydrotherapy treatment at a time;
- Limit treatments to two per day, because more than this could drain vitality.
A properly conducted fruit-and-salad diet, fruit diet, fruit-juice diet or water fast facilitates substantial detoxification – or ‘spring-cleaning’ – of the body. This initiates deep-seated healing processes which may otherwise never occur.
As soon as acute disease with fever commences, or when appetite is lost for other reasons, it is appropriate to fast on water, but be sure not to fast for more than two or three days without professional supervision. If there is a medical condition, such as blood-sugar-level disturbance, don’t fast at all without professional approval.
If there is no fever present, it will be necessary to prepare for the detox diet over a number of days. For the majority of people for whom water fasting would not be favourable or appropriate (or appealing!), a fruit juice diet is usually the most suitable alternative. The reasonable limit without supervision would then be five days.
The softest option is a diet of fresh fruit or fruit and salads, with a limit of one week without professional supervision.
However, at any stage at all, if there is any uncertainty about progress, be prepared to seek professional advice. If this is not possible, gradually resume normal healthy eating.
We need not protest too much about minor discomforts or boredom during the cleansing period. They are a small price to pay for the enormous benefits to long-term health and wellbeing that follow properly conducted detox/self-healing. This may overcome the detrimental effects of perhaps many years of modern living.