Self-healing through water fasting: more powerful than any pill


  • My Story
  • Why Western medicine fails:
    • Poison, sweet poison
  • Healing from within through fasting;
    • How long should I fast?
    • A role for dry fasting;
    • No magic pill;
    • Fasting for palliative care
  • Final thoughts

My story

I became a convert to water fasting after experiencing firsthand the miraculous self-healing powers of the body. It happened many years ago on the last day of my first 7-day fast. For about a decade I had suffered from debilitating sinusitis every winter. Some days were so bad that I could hardly get out of bed. Well, I wasn’t thinking about sinusitis during my fast, because it was spring and there were plenty of other detox symptoms to keep me preoccupied! On that last day, though, I began to feel a familiar tightening in the sinus around my left eye. Not having yet heard about what a healing crisis is, I couldn’t understand why this was happening, and why the water fast should have brought on mild symptoms of sinusitis. The water fast was coming to an end, though, and within a day the ache had fully dissipated.

I didn’t think any more of it – especially since at the time I was much more focussed on food and refeeding! However, the following winter I did notice that my sinusitis was significantly less severe than in previous years. And in the meantime I’d also read about how water fasts can elicit a healing crisis: how symptoms of illness often return as the body heals itself once and for all. (More information about healing crises can be found here.) I now understood that I’d broken my fast too soon, before the healing crisis had finished and I was fully healed. So the following spring I undertook a 10-day fast. The symptoms of sinusitis returned almost immediately, before receding a day or two later. The rest is history. I’ve never suffered from sinusitis again.

Since then, fasting has been my ‘go-to’ for dealing with simple health issues, from healing physical injuries such as tendonitis and muscle strains to fighting off colds and the flu. (More information in the article: ‘A stronger immune system through water fasting.’)

But water fasting can do so much more than heal simple ailments.
What if I told you that water fasting can even cure the incurable?

The fact is that through the healing metabolism unlocked by water fasting, your body can completely heal from an array of serious illnesses which modern Western medicine considers incurable.  Such diseases include: multiple sclerosis (MS), high blood pressure, asthma, Type II diabetes, digestive disorders such as colitis and Crohn’s disease, certain tumors, skin issues such as psoriasis, coronary artery disease… At best, these illnesses seriously complicate life.  At worst, they are terminal: the direct cause of death.

Why Western medicine fails

Don’t get me wrong: Western medicine can work wonders in certain situations, especially those concerning acute medical issues. If you have a splitting headache and have to perform at your best in an hour, then taking a pill really is the best solution. If you’ve been hit by a car, then allowing a surgeon to stitch you back together again really is more efficient than allowing your body to take its own sweet time. It may also save your life!

When it comes to chronic health issues, though, Western medical science offers few credible solutions. This is due primarily to a symptom-based approach which ignores the deeper causes underlying medical issues. It simply fights fire with fire. Pharmaceutical drugs, for instance, aim to manipulate your metabolism, suppressing the symptoms of illness (eg. ashthma, diabetes or multiple sclerosis), or to poison out the disease from your body (eg. chemotherapy). Or, in the case of surgery, it aims to repair the issue (eg. the removal of a tumor).

Without taking into account the underlying cause of an illness, though, it’s no wonder that so many serious illnesses consequently recur or are simply written off as incurable.

This is also why so many people hear their M.D. tell them these fateful words: ‘You’ll need to take this medication for the rest of your life…’

Poison, sweet poison…

In treating chronic health issues, the failure of pharmaceutical science doesn’t end here. No matter how you look at it, all drugs are poison. This is the reason that only doctors are allowed to prescribe such ‘medicine’ in the first place! Any poison running through your system is going to detrimentally affect the system as a whole, not just impact on the specific area affected by disease. The stronger the poison, the stronger the side-effect to your body as a whole. The human body is incredibly resilient, and the occasional pill taken to alleviate an acute situation won’t kill you. But over the long term, in treating chronic conditions, the toxic load of powerful drugs leads to a potentially downward spiral – and all the more so if the body builds up resistance to the given drug, and increasingly higher dosages must be administered to maintain a stable condition (eg. high blood pressure).

Healing from within through fasting

How can you truly heal – a word related etymologically to the word whole – when your body as a whole is being poisoned? How can you heal when, medically, the illness afflicting you isn’t considered in relation to your body as a whole? How can you heal when Western medicine usually considers only the physical body, and not your being as a whole, which also includes deeper emotional and spiritual elements?

Clearly, you can’t.

The only way to truly heal from chronic illness is to allow your own body to do it. You don’t need any pill. You don’t need someone to tell you how to do it – your body already knows. You just need you. This can and should be hugely self-empowering!

The most powerful and effective way to heal from a chronic illness is to undertake an extended healing fast. Exactly how long you’ll need to complete the process of healing depends primarily on three physical factors:

1. The specific illness, as well as the severity of your illness
2. The strength of your immune system
3. Your underlying toxic load (consisting of environmental toxins built up over a lifetime, as well as the residue of pharmaceutical drugs you may have taken to treat the illness)

In addition to these three physical factors, it’s also hugely important to allow the fast to bring up and heal the emotional issues which almost always underlie serious chronic illness. I see this time and again among my clients. Quite simply, those who are willing to open up emotionally heal faster than those who treat the fast as merely a physical exercise.

How long should I fast?

Usually, you’ll need at least 14 days to heal any chronic illness. This is because the body usually prioritizes the cleansing of environmental toxins first – and this takes time. You also need time for ketosis and your healing metabolism to strengthen more deeply, so that your energy can focus more effectively on addressing the illness itself.

To be brutally honest, most chronic illness requires significantly longer than 14 days of water fasting. The truth is that, even with the strongest immune system, sometimes even 40 days isn’t enough. This isn’t necessarily the end of the world, though, as it’s possible to undertake one healing fast, refeed, and then continue with a second healing fast if necessary. Another option is to begin with an extended healing fast, refeed, and then continue with periodic, shorter, follow-up fasts. Yet another option is to consider splitting up the number of days required to heal into a longer series of shorter fasts. (In most cases, this last option tends to be the least effective.)

Aiming for the longest possible fast is usually the most effective approach, but it’s worth discussing this first with a fasting coach like myself. Beyond a certain point, your healing metabolism can eventually tire, becoming less effective on a day-by-day basis. For example, whereas one person may respond best to a 40-day fast, another person may heal better if this is divided into two 21-day fasts.

It’s crucial that people who are already significantly weakened by their illness understand this. If you are significantly weakened by your illness, it probably means that your immune system is too. At this point, forcing yourself into an unnaturally long fast can do you damage rather than good.

Check out the webshop on

The webshop offers downloadable fasting plans and guides to help make your water fast a success.

A role for dry fasting

In certain cases, periods of dry fasting inserted within an extended water fast can significantly accelerate the rate of healing. I have witnessed near miracles among my clients, especially when it comes to the healing of growths (such as tumors and fibroids) as well as ridding the body of chronic pathogens. However, I would not advise dry fasting to anyone without guidance from an expert like myself. The detox symptoms can simply be too strong without adequate preparation, and this can lead to prematurely aborting the water fast as a result.
More information and articles about dry fasting here.

No magic pill

Unfortunately, sometimes the body simply doesn’t have the strength for a full healing, even if you’ve fasted as wisely as possible. This is something which anyone hoping to heal from a chronic illness must recognise. You can read about miracle recoveries on Facebook or watch miracle videos on YouTube – and amazing things often do happen thanks to water fasting. (It’s also one of the most rewarding parts of being a water fasting coach!) Even so, not every story has a fairy-tale ending. The illness might be already too far developed. Or perhaps your strength and your immune system are already too compromised.

Although it’s impossible to guarantee a complete recovery in 100% of the cases 100% of the time, water fasting nevertheless offers realistic hope where otherwise there is none. And even when complete healing does not occur, fasting usually leads to a significant long-term reduction of symptoms – especially when combined with an appropriate diet afterwards. My very first client, for instance, undertook a 14-day extended healing fast to heal his colitis, preceded by an initial preliminary cleansing fast. Although an examination after the fast showed that a few micro-lesions remained, he nevertheless felt 100% better.

Fasting for palliative care

In certain cases, chronic terminal illness may be already too far advanced in order for fasting to reverse the final outcome. Even here, though, fasting can and usually does improve both the quality and length of life. This is because when the body has been severely weakened through disease, digestion robs excessive energy from all other areas of life. In many cases, fasting also specifically reduces pain caused by the disease.

I once had a client who was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic cancer (tumors spread throughout the body), and who had been given only a few months to live. She fasted three days every week, and loved it, refeeding every four days with a highly nutritious no-sugar diet. Although it was already too late to reverse the course of her disease, the growth of her tumors stopped almost completely, and she found she was able to function normally again. Over a year and a half after we started working together, she was still going strong.

Final thoughts

Although there are no guarantees, water fasting almost always brings some improvement, if not a full recovery, to chronic illness. It is not an easy path. But then again, the path of self-empowerment is never easy, for it means taking responsibility for yourself – and your illness. This is another reason why those who approach their fast as an emotional and spiritual journey (and not just as a physical exercise) tend to find that they heal more deeply.

When it comes to health issues, we’re usually accustomed to submitting ourselves to the word of someone in power or authority: a doctor or expert. But it’s only when we trust in ourselves, our bodies and, yes, our illness, that we permit the deepest healing – and somewhere along the way, we also learn how to live.

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68 responses to “Self-healing through water fasting: more powerful than any pill”

  1. Hi. What about Chronic Kidney Disease? My recent eGFR was 40. That would be CKD 3b.

    1. Tallis Barker, D.Phil., Nat.Dip. Avatar
      Tallis Barker, D.Phil., Nat.Dip.

      Hi Harvey,
      Kidney issues always have the theoretical potential to worsen during a fast, since the kidneys play such a key role during detox: filtering toxins out of the blood and maintaining both pH and electrolyte balance. The idea is that because of the greater load on the kidneys while fasting, this could further damage already compromised kidneys. However, I’ve successfully worked with clients with GFRs as low as 30 in order to improve kidneys function and overall health. The key question is understanding the specific kidney issue as well as ensuring a safe protocol for fasting. That’s something I wouldn’t recommend without guidance from a fasting expert. If you need to set up a consultation, you can contact me via the form at the bottom of the coaching page here:
      Hope this helps,

      1. Thank you for your reply! Is there any truth to fasting-induced, autophagy and natural stem cell production that, in theory, could help repair the kidney? If so, what minimum length of fast would be required to get that benefit?

        1. Tallis Barker, D.Phil., Nat.Dip. Avatar
          Tallis Barker, D.Phil., Nat.Dip.

          Hi again Harvey,
          Yes, fasting induces autophagy and stimulates stem-cell production, and this would be the mechanism through which you would heal IF and only if fasting is right for you. I can’t really say anything more specific about the length of fast or whether it would be safe for you to do so without talking to you in much greater detail first!
          Hope you understand,

            1. Tallis Barker, D.Phil., Nat.Dip. Avatar
              Tallis Barker, D.Phil., Nat.Dip.

              You’re welcome!

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