Alternative methods
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Shankaprakshalana: intestinal wash as preparation

What on earth does an intestinal wash have to do with water fasting?
In one sense, nothing.

But… after you get over the shock of it :-), there are certainly good reasons to contemplate such a cleanse before undertaking a water fast, especially in the case of a fast lasting more than a day or two.  The sad fact is that most people’s bowels are covered with a sticky, tarry muck called mucoid plaque, which interferes with the absorption of nutrients through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream, as well as providing a perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria.  (According to an old saying, ‘all illness begins in the gut.’  Mucoid plaque is one reason why.)  Gradually hardening into a black rubbery substance glued to the intestinal wall, it can accumulate over the years in increasingly thick layers, to the point that it can even begin to obstruct the flow of food.  It’s also one reason why so many people develop beer bellies as they grow older.  People often carry around literally kilograms of the stuff inside them without even knowing – except for the fact that they often feel low on energy, or suffer from minor digestive complaints, or gradually develop more systematic health problems as they grow older…

In the end, though, who cares?  It may not be a pretty thing, but why should it interfere with a water fast?

It’s a very simple issue.  The intestinal wall is a membrane allowing nutrients to pass from the digestive system into the bloodstream when you aren’t fasting.  When you are fasting, it allows toxins flowing through the bloodstream to pass into the digestive system, from where they can be safely eliminated.  Think about it: if under normal circumstances mucoid plaque blocks nutrients from entering the bloodstream, then it’s also going to inhibit toxins from passing through the intestinal wall and into the digestive system.

If you happen to be a vegan, especially a raw vegan who avoids gluten, then there’s nothing to worry about.  Your diet will keep your intestines sparkly clean, as nature always intended.  But for 99% of everyone else, mucoid plaque is a fact of life.  The worst offenders are meat, dairy and flour-based grain products.  The digestion of meat requires your stomach to produce large quantities of hydrochloric acid.  Although the stomach can cope with such an acidic environment, you’re intestines can’t, and so they emit a protective lining of mucous to coat the intestinal wall.  This mucous eventually hardens, just like that in your nose during a cold.  Voila: mucoid plaque.  As far as dairy products are concerned, just think about what happens to the bottom of a cooking pot in which you heat up milk…  Many grain products, especially those containing gluten, induce a minor allergic reaction in the gut – often so mild that you don’t notice.  How do your intestines respond?  Just think of summer allergies: more mucous…  When consumed as a flour-based product, the situation is exacerbated.  Just think of the consistency of moist flour: it turns into into a thick, gluey paste.

I hope I’ve convinced you :-).

Exactly how to cleanse (or not to cleanse) your bowels is of course your choice.  Personally, though, I recommend a yogic technique called Shankhaprakshalana, otherwise known as Varisara Dhauti.  Unlike an enema, it washes the entire digestive tract.  Unlike colon hydrotherapy, it is much gentler and more natural.  Unlike both enemas and colon hydrotherapy, it is totally noninvasive.  Believe it or not, most people who try it actually enjoy the experience!

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  1. vincent says

    Will water fasting alone remove mucoid plaque and parasites from the body without any enema?

    • Tallis Barker, D.Phil. says

      Hi Vincent,
      Thanks for your question. Yes, water fasting can and does remove both mucoid plaque and parasites. However, this usually takes a long time – usually only after 21 days or even longer. It all depends on the severity of the mucoid plaque and the types of parasites. A salt flush (shankaprakshalana) can definitely help at the very beginning of a fast to accelerate the process. I’ve had clients free themselves from parasites within 10 days when using a combination of shankaprakshalana, herbs and a combination of water and dry fasting.
      All the best,

    • Tallis Barker, D.Phil. says

      Hi again Trey,

      Thanks for sharing the words of the great Herbert Shelton (I assume this is his writing by the content and style). You should know that the enemas he refers to here are simple water enemas, as opposed to coffee enemas.

      There have always been two camps in relation to administering enemas during water fasts. Nowadays they are favoured as a means to cleanse, whereas in Shelton’s day the concept was to leave the body alone entirely. When working with my clients, I usually favour a middle road: to leave the body alone (ie no enemas) unless there is a clear reason to use one. When certain symptoms arise, a single enema (water) can and does provide relief. There’s no need to suffer unduly when you can improve the situation in literally minutes! The other extreme, however, of taking daily enemas (whether water or coffee) can become addictive, acting like a drug – or, to use Shelton’s own words, unnecessarily “enervating” the body. Over more extended fasts, daily enemas can become downright dangerous, washing electrolytes out of the body.

      All the best,

  2. Trey says

    Hello Tallis, what is your comment regarding coffee enema’s during water fasting?
    Thank you.

    • Tallis Barker, D.Phil. says

      Hi Trey,
      Thanks for your question – it’s one which is worth asking! Coffee enemas certainly have their place, and certain protocols even rely on them (eg Gerson). However, when it comes to water fasting, they are usually far too aggressive for anything beyond the first 24 hours. I’ve had numerous clients who have tried them and then ended up with severe cramping and/or nausea. A few people do tolerate coffee enemas during a water fast, but the cleansing power of a water fast is already so much greater than any other type of cleanse, that there’s really no need to amplify this further through coffee enemas. It can simply be too much for your poor liver, which is already working full steam!
      Hope this helps,

  3. SabeL says

    Good read. I’m on my second week of liquid fast now. Thanks for this info.

    • Tallis Shivantar says

      Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

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