Hold Your Breath 60 Seconds
I have an infallible remedy for an affliction that plagues the entire human race. Virtually everyone who takes this remedy rids themselves of it, and the only challenge for me is to convince them to take it. The affliction is the hiccups, and the remedy is holding your breath for 30-60 seconds — or how ever long it takes for the last five to 10 seconds to be painful.
Hiccups are a trivial affliction, but that I’ve met many people who refuse the treatment, because either they don’t believe it works or they don’t want the 5-10 seconds of discomfort, got me thinking. What if more serious afflictions could be eliminated by a simple, free and universally accessible treatment, but the sufferers either don’t believe it would work or don’t want to try due to the discomfort?
I’ve been reading lately about autophagy — the process whereby the body, in a state of extended calorie deprivation, cleans out senescent cells to become more efficient and make way for newer, healthier replacements. If you do an extended water fast, this typically starts to happen 16-24 hours in and intensifies the longer you go. While many are studying this phenomenon in more depth, I would imagine large pharmaceutical companies and scientists dependent on their grants probably won’t be leading the charge. There’s no money in advising people to abstain from food, and in fact, if you start by eliminating the most harmful foods (in addition to fasting) you’re draining the coffers not only of the medical industrial complex but the big agriculture and food processing consortia that hand-deliver them so much business. This is not a rabbit hole into which a massive sector of the S&P 500 wants you to delve.
I mention that not to belabor the obvious but to preempt the objection that if this were true, you’d hear about it on the front pages of the New York Times. There are a lot of people whose livelihoods depend on this being false, and while that does not per se make it true, it does answer the objection. True or false, you will not hear about extended fasting as a viable means of cancer prevention/early treatment, Type-2 diabetes remedy or potential mitigator of other afflictions costing so many lives and generating big profits for the medical system.
Recently, I’ve been reading an old book (written in 1934) called The Hygenic System Volume III: Fasting and Sunbathing by Herbert Shelton. You don’t have to agree with everything for which he advocates (he was a strict vegan, for one) to appreciate his arguments for fasting and its benefits.
More than a hundred years ago Sylvester Graham wrote: "It is a general law of the vital economy, that when, by any means, the general function of decomposition exceeds that of composition or nutrition, the decomposing absorbents always first lay hold of and remove those substances which are of least use to the economy; and hence, all morbid accumulations, such as wens, tumors, abscesses, etc., are rapidly diminished and often wholly removed under severe and protracted abstinence or fasting."--Science of Life, pp. 194-195.
The process of autolysis (what is now called autophagy) may be put to great practical use and may be made to serve in getting rid of tumors and other growths. To fully understand this, it is necessary for the reader to know that tumors are made up of flesh and blood and bone. There are many names for the different kinds of tumors, but the names all indicate the kind of tissue of which the tumor is composed. For example, an osteoma is made up of bone tissue; a myoma is composed of muscular tissue; a neuroma is constituted of nerve tissue; a lipoma consists of fatty tissue; a fibroma is composed of fibrous tissues; an epithelioma is composed of epithelial tissue, etc. Growths of this nature are known, technically, as neoplasms (new growth) to distinguish them from mere swellings or enlargements. A large lump in the breast may be nothing more than an enlarged lymphatic gland, or an enlarged mammary gland. Such an enlarged gland may be very painful, but it is no neoplasm.
Tumors being composed of tissues, the same kinds of tissues as the other structures of the body, are susceptible of autolytic disintegration, the same as normal tissue, and do, as a matter of experience, undergo dissolution and absorption under a variety of circumstances, but especially during a fast. The reader who can understand how fasting reduces the amount of fat on the body and how it reduces the size of the muscles, can also understand how it will reduce the size of a tumor, or cause it to disappear altogether. He needs, then, only to realize that the process of disintegrating (autolyzing) the tumor takes place much more rapidly than it does in the normal tissues.
In his Notes On Tumors, a work for students of pathology, Francis Carter Wood says: "In a very small proportion of human malignant tumors spontaneous disappearance for longer or shorter periods has been noted. The greater number of such disappearances has followed incomplete surgical removal of the tumor; they have occurred next in order of frequency during some acute febrile process, and less frequently in connection with some profound alteration of the metabolic processes of the organism, such as extreme cachexia, artificial menopause, or the puerperium."
No more profound change in metabolism is possible than that produced by fasting and the change is of a character best suited to bring about the autolysis of a tumor, malignant or otherwise.
The conditions Dr. Wood mentions as causing spontaneous disappearance of tumors are, for the most part, "accidents" and are not within the range of voluntary control. Fasting, on the other hand, may be instituted and carried out under control and at any time desired. It is the rule that operations are followed by increased growth in the tumor. Spontaneous disappearance following incomplete removal is rare. The same may be said for extreme cachexia and artificial menopause. In fevers we have rapid autolysis in many tissues of the body and much reparative work going on, but we cannot develop a fever at will. Pregnancy and childbirth occasion many profound changes in the body, but they are certainly not to be recommended to sick women as cures for their tumors. Even if this were desirable, it would be a hit-or-miss process. The effects of fasting are certain. There is nothing hit-or-miss about the process. It works always in the same general direction.
I don’t know if what Shelton writes is entirely true, and if it were true to an extent, it would probably not be true in every instance. But I find it plausible, have read research to that effect, and to the extent it were true, I would expect most people neither to know about it, nor be inclined to try it, because extended fasting is uncomfortable — even if done properly with attention to electrolyte depletion during and care in the preperation for and breaking of it after. And in any case they wouldn’t believe it works. When after 16 or 24 or 48 hours the urge to eat arises, the mind will summon all manner of doubts and concerns about the wisdom and efficacy of fasting to get rid of the discomfort. For some, even contemplating such discomfort is enough to preclude giving the practice serious consideration.
But, unpleasant as fasting is for some, I would have to imagine it’s far easier to endure than cancer, advanced diabetes or other serious diseases created/exacerbated by not giving the body a break from digestion long enough to do its periodically necessarily cleaning and repairs. I would also imagine its discomforts, with which I’m familiar, pale in comparison to those of chemotherapy, dialysis and many other modern treatments for disease.
As such, it’s an easy call for me to give fasting — and its concomitant processes like autophagy, ketosis and stem-cell regeneration — a shot. I don’t know for sure it works, but it’s plausible, free (actually you pay yourself to fast by not buying your ordinary allotment of food), conducive to weight loss and natural. It’s also the only diet that’s carnivore, vegan, paleo and gluten-free simultaneously. And unlike the hiccups, more serious ailments don’t typically go away without altering the conditions under which they arose.