Annual variations in the food supply have determined the metabolism of all lifeforms. The ability to adapt to these changes through storage and release of nutrients has, since the beginning of time, been a condition for survival – especially for humans.
Fasting is the ability, for a limited time, to cover one’s needs in macro and micro nutrients from one’s own bodily reserves while consuming little or nothing and suffering no ill effects. Additionally, various savings and reductions in metabolic needs occurs such as conversion of the central nervous system to fat burning, reductions in digestive and assimilative processes which counteract the supply shortages in order to maintain cell metabolism and maintain cellular regeneration.These biological capabilities led, over time, to various fasting cultures for religious, spiritual or therapeutic purposes. The inclusion of fasting in Medicine came through classical naturopathy. The fasting methods are primarily those of Dr Otto Buchinger MD and therapy according to Dr F.X.Mayr MD.
From rudimentary approaches, Otto Buchinger developed a multidisciplinary concept for in-patient fasting in which nutritional therapy is combined with physical exercise along with health education (Fahrner 1991); physiotherapy was added later. Even aspects of religious fasting traditions are today included in therapeutic fasting thus adding psycho-social and spiritual dimensions to that of the physical.
Foreward from the Guidelines for Fasting Therapy from the Ärztegesellschaft für Heilfasten und Ernährung (Medical Society of Therapeutic Fasting and Nutrition)