One benefit of fasting is how it allows the body to heal itself in a manner that effects the whole organism, or holistically. It is a rebalancing that occurs on all levels of our being and allows the innate intelligence of the body to foster healing in its own appropriate way.
Fasting is considered an "alternative" therapy because it isn't prescribed by the mainstream of conventional Western medicine, which attempts to treat ailments and conditions most commonly with invasive techniques. While these modern techniques are highly successful in treating some conditions, they fail miserably in other conditions.
Andrew Weil, an M.D. and popular author on the subject of natural healing and holistic medicine, has spelled it out succinctly in his book Spontaneous Healing. His advice:
How to know the difference? This is Weil's breakdown:
Where fasting most shines as an alternative practice is with the degenerative diseases and chronic conditions that traditional medicine falters on. Degenerative diseases are conditions of deterioration progressing over time, and are generally caused by long-term lifestyle choices and/or bodily wear due to age.
This benefit of fasting page shows the type of conditions most commonly positively affected by fasting, the vast majority of which the traditional medical community fails to treat effectively.