Of all the various therapeutic measures employed by biological medicine in treatment of arthritis fasting is, perhaps, singularly the most important one.

Fasting has been used in treating arthritis for centuries, mostly in Europe, but also on this continent. The big difference is that in the United States the majority of doctors who employ fasting in their practice usually advocate a complete or water fast, while European, biologically oriented doctors employ mostly juice fasts.

Although fasting is without a doubt one of the safest therapeutic agents known to medicine,1 in the minds of the uninitiated and uninformed it is often associated with fear of the possibility of doing harm to the body. This is quite understandable, considering that the average man has the impression that complete abstinence from food just for a couple of weeks would result in death. The truth is that man can live without food for months. In fact, man can kill himself by overeating in a shorter time than by fasting.2 There are recorded cases of fasting up to 90 days on water and up to 249 days on juices and liquids. In recent tests at Stobhill General Hospital, in Glasgow, Scotland, a 54-year-old woman was put on a liquid fast and lost 74 of her 262 pounds along with a painful arthritic knee condition, during a fast of 249 daysl2 Although therapeutic fasting usually is of no longer duration than 40 days, the great majority of fasts in European clinics are ten to 20 days long.

Although liquid fasting is not a dangerous measure and could be safely undertaken without supervision at home, I would advise that the average patient, who does not have a thorough understanding and insight into all the details and various phases of fasting, should not undertake it on his own, but only under expert supervision. This will assure him of peace of mind which is imperative for the successful outcome of any therapeutic measure.

In Sweden, fasting is a national sport. Thousands of healthy young and old, men and women members of the national health organization, Halsoframjandet (Health-promotion, Inc.), fast for a week or two every year. Regular short fasts are considered an effective way to cleanse the body of wastes, build up resistance and physical stamina, and prevent diseases. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t get weakened or depleted by fasting. On the contrary, fasting will strengthen the body in many ways. The stomach and digestive tract will receive a rest and will be strengthened by fasting. Actually, the total regeneration and rejuvenation of all functions of the body is the objective which induces thousands of Swedes to fast. These fasts are done on

their own. in their own homes, without supervision of doctors. But then again, these Swedes are experts in fasting; they are well informed and acquainted with the mechanics and philosophy of fasting.

Just to show you how safe fasting actually is, I like to refer to two famous fast-hikes, which were performed in Sweden in recent years under the direction of Dr. Lennart Edr6n, world famous authority on fasting. First, 11 Swedish health enthusiasts walked from Gothenburg to Stockholm (over 300 miles) in ten days. During that time they fasted—did not consume any foods at all, only plain water. A couple of years later about 20 persons repeated the hike under tight scientific control. During the whole hike, and for an extended period after it, various medical tests of their condition were made: blood count, blood sugar tests, heart tests, pulse, physical endurance tests, etc. All tests showed that in spite of the unusual stress of the combined fasting and strenuous hike, all participants were in perfect health and did not suffer any damage of any kind. However, quite the contrary was later found to be true because of the discovery that some of the participants were freed from various ailments they suffered before the fast-hike began.

At the time of my last visit to Sweden in July of 1966, Dr. Edr6n himself had already fasted a total of 45 days so far that year. At 50 he is a picture of youthful vitality and health, and he is regularly fasting to keep his superior health condition at an optimum level.