Types of Fasting

Dry fasting, liquid fasting, and partial fasting

There are numerous types of fasting, all of which offer the same many healing benefits. Oftentimes, it seems people develop a preference for one certain type or method, and then feel as if the other methods are inferior.

In actuality, all types of fasting have something to offer. Depending on each person's individual lifestyle, health issues, goals, and body chemistry, different methods of fasting will be appropriate for different people. You can choose a method that is appropriate for you right now. And, since all things change, tomorrow you may choose differently. Nothing could be more natural.

There is nothing to lose in attempting a fast. There is no failure, for even if you "fail" to achieve your stated goal, you will have learned and experienced much of value.

Use the information here to find, or create, a method of fasting that feels right for you now, that fits your goals and your lifestyle, and that you feel a motivation (not dread) toward.

All fasts will cleanse and detoxify

Empty bowl

All types of fasting give the same multitude of benefits. You don't need to do a fast with the word "cleanse" or "detox" in it to rid your body of unwanted toxins. Nor do you need to do a "spiritual" fast in order to benefit spiritually. All types of fasting will lead you on a path to better and higher places.

Your job is to pick among the types of fasting, one that appeals to you, and will work within your lifestyle and responsibilities. Keep in mind, the more severe the fast, the poorer your diet has been, and the less preparation you make, the more detox "symptoms" you are likely to have. For some people, these can be uncomfortable enough to force them into bed.

My first water fast had me, at the end of the first day, in bed with the worst migraine I'd ever had. I had done zero preparation for this fast and was suffering for it. Life responsibilities were such that I chose to end the fast a little early so I could return to functionality. Within a couple hours of breaking it (with a little piece of fruit), I was at least able to get around.

Juice and fruit fasts are more gentle as the detoxing occurs more gradually. I've done many fruit fasts and have always felt relatively good -- no severe pain or discomfort, just a few aches or a slight headache.

Weigh the options and take an honest look at your life and how much you can sacrifice. Doing a fast that will create strong cleansing and detoxing symptoms will require a lot more dedication from you. Do you have someone to take over your responsibilities? How uncomfortable are you willing to be? How much discomfort can you tolerate? Taking pain killers during a fast is definitely NOT a good idea.

Do you like the idea of cleansing without a great deal of discomfort? It is absolutely possible, and some professionals feel it is healthier to avoid the extreme symptoms, citing the dangers of releasing too many toxins into the blood stream at one time. So you absolutely can take it slower and more comfortably.

A good plan is to start with one-day juice or fruit fasts. Do this once per week until you have few or no detox symptoms, then try a 16-hour or one-day water fast. Slow is always the way to go, whether you're fasting for weight loss or for detox. Eventually, when you've rid your body of years of stored toxins and pollutants, you will be able to enjoy the fasting highs others talk about, without any unpleasant side effects.

For general information about getting started with fasting, read Information on Fasting, which is geared toward the beginner, and provides a good overview of a one-day fast.

Categories of fasting methods

  • Dry fasting. Also known as Absolute Fast, Black Fast, and Hebrew Fast. The most extreme of the types of fasting, dry fasting has spiritual roots, and consists of foregoing food and water for short periods. While not necessarily recommended, it is interesting to read about.

  • Liquid fasting. As the name implies, this is fasting on liquids only. The liquid fasting page offers an overview of the variety of liquids used in this type of fasting both today and in the past.

    Water fasting
    is the simplest and perhaps the oldest form of liquid fasting. It delivers the greatest level of therapeutic benefit physically and in a short period of time, as detox occurs more quickly. But a water fast can be more difficult to commit to for the beginner.

    Juice fasting is extremely popular and offers a modicum of nutritional support in a pure and natural form. Almost any fruit or vegetable can be juiced with the powerful juicers on the market.

    The Master Cleanse or Lemonade Diet is a relatively new approach, becoming popular in the 1970s. It includes calories in the form of pure maple syrup. Intestinal cleansing is a major part of the methodology.

  • Partial fasting. Also sometimes called selective fasting, partial fasting includes some solid food--anywhere from a very little to a lot of solid food. It's not the amount of food, but the exclusion or limitation of certain foods that makes it a partial fast. Cleansing diets and mono-diets, like rice fasting, are partial fasts.

    A newer style of fasting that fits in this category of "partial fasting" is intermittent fasting. This is an on-off approach to fasting, where certain days of the week are designated as "fasting days" and others as "feeding days". Technically, the "fasting days" are "partial fasting days" since foods are ingested, but in limited quantity and calories.

How long should you fast?

No matter which type of fasting you choose, click here for more information on how long to fast. Different lengths have different considerations. This page includes a link to the association of professional fasting overseers which you should consider using for longer fasts.

Intermittent fasting offers alternative regimens for fasting, such as alternate day and one meal per day.

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True Hunger is the signal to break a fast. Learn what it is and how to identify it, as well as other signs to break a fast.

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The real benefit of Fasting for Weight Loss is the clarity brought forth about our mental and emotional patterns.

Fasting Precautions, staying safe during your fast.

Chronic Degenerative Diseases respond better to holistic therapies such as fasting than to traditional medical treatments.

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