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The mental effects of fasting have been known for ages and have been much discussed by all writers on fasting. A few years ago a group of young men and women at the University of Chicago lived for one week without food. During this period they attended their classes and engaged in their usual sports, following out their usual routine. Their mental alertness was so much greater during the period that their progress in their school work was cited as remarkable. Several repetitions of this experiment, always with the same results, proved that this was not exceptional.
All the purely mental powers of man improve while fasting. The ability to reason is increased. Memory is improved. Attention and association are quickened. The so-called spiritual forces of man--intuition, sympathy, love, etc.--are all increased. All of man's intellectual and emotional qualities are given new life. At no other time can the purely intellectual and aesthetic activities be so successfully pursued as during a fast.
Sinclair says: "I went out of doors and lay in the sun all day, reading; and the same for the third and fourth days--intense physical lassitude, but with great clearness of mind. After the fifth day I felt stronger, and walked a good deal, and I also began some writing. No phase of the experience surprised me more than the activity of my mind, I read and wrote more than I had dared to do for years before."
The old Roman proverb, "a full stomach does not like to think," well expresses a fact that is known to all mental workers. A full meal leaves them dull, unable to think clearly and continuously and often makes them stupid and sleepy. Mental workers have learned to eat a light breakfast and lunch and have their heavy meal in the evening after the day's work is done. When I was a high school boy, I used to miss a meal entirely when I knew I had an examination ahead. At that time I knew nothing of fasting, but I had learned that I could think better on an empty stomach. These facts are due to physiological causes. Large amounts of blood and nervous energies have to be sent to the digestive organs to digest a meal. If these energies are not required there, they may be drawn upon by the brain in thinking.
In my experience with fasting, I seldom see any increase in mental powers at the beginning of a fast. This is because we deal with the sick and these people are all inebriates and addicts--food inebriates, coffee and tea inebriates, tobacco and alcohol addicts. As soon as these things are taken from them they suffer a period of depression with headaches and various slight pains. After a few days, that is, when the body has had sufficient time to readjust itself and overcome the depression, the mind brightens up. The special senses also become acute.
Levanzin says: "But if physical strength is not lost during a fast, the mental power and clarity are extraordinarily increased. Memory develops itself in a wonderful way, imagination is at its best." One of the most remarkable things about the fast, one that impresses patients even more than the physical gains made while fasting, is the mental benefit that accrues from a period of abstinence. The clearness of the mind, the ease with which previously difficult problems can be handled, the improvement of memory, etc., all surprise and please the patients. These improvements must be attributed to the clearing of the brain of toxins.
The almost universal testimony of fasters is that their mind becomes clearer and their abilities to think and solve intricate problems are enhanced. They are more alert and their minds seem to open up into new fields. This increase in mental power may not manifest in the first few days of the fast, due to the fact that when patients are taken off their coffee, tea, alcohol, stimulating viands, etc., there is likely to be a general physical and mental let-down. But after a few days, re-action sets in and they improve both physically and mentally. Experiments on students have shown that short fasts greatly enhance mental powers.
Why should fasting result in an increase in mental abilities? Primarily, I think, because it affords the body an opportunity to throw off its load of toxins, hence the brain is fed by a cleaner blood-stream. Secondarily, I think that the rest of all the functions of life that fasting provides, supplies the brain with more power to think. Who can doubt that modern living tends to dull the mental powers? Especially our national drug addictions and our almost universal overeating tend to reduce mental abilities.
A few words about the effects of fasting upon the so-called spiritual powers may be appropriately introduced here. In detailing his experiences during his forty days' fast, taken some years since, Dr. Tanner said: "My mental powers were greatly augmented, to the very great surprise of my medical attendants, who were constantly on watch for mental collapse, which was freely predicted, if I persisted in the experiment until the tenth day. About the middle of my first experiment, I, too, had visions; like Paul of old, I seemed to be intromitted to the third heaven and there saw things which not even the pen of Milton or Shakespeare could portray in all their vivid reality. As a result of my experiment, I came to comprehend why the old prophets and seers so often resorted to fasting as a means of spiritual illumination."
That the mental powers of the faster are elevated instead of decreased by the fast, I have shown, but I pause here to express my opinion about these visions that fasters see. They are, I believe, due to hysteria, or auto-hypnosis. They are seen by people who are called psychic which means they are easily swayed by suggestion, particularly auto-suggestion. Fasting tends to increase temporarily this suggestibility and for this reason was and is employed by all mystic religions for purposes of "illumination." Auto-suggestion, during these religious fasts takes the form of frequent and repeated prayers. To add to the religious power of the fast, sexual desires disappear and thoughts of sex cease to obtrude upon the mind. In India the priests connected with the sacred temples are pledged to the strictest chastity. The Hindu high priest is forced to undergo a long period of training and purification, and to pass through many severe trials to prove that he has thoroughly conquered his sexual appetites and passions and has them well under control of the higher powers of mind before he is admitted to the priesthood. In these days when the fallacies of psychology and psycho-analysis are on the lips of everyone and when feminine leaders declare chastity and continence to be neither desirable nor practicable and insist that they would be harmful if put into effect, methods of attaining self-control in matters of sex are frowned upon. This feature of fasting may not, therefore, appeal to many who read these lines. Fasting does increase one's control over all his appetites and passions and this will account in some measure for its use by high priests and others in the religions of old.
Nowhere does the beneficial office of physiological rest in enhancing mental clearness show more clearly than in fasting by the insane. I shall have more to say about this in a future chapter. Here it is necessary only to deal with it briefly.
The common practice is to feed nervous patients all the "good nourishing food" they can be induced to swallow. If they are deprived of food and their accustomed stimulants, there follows a period of depression and an increased nervous irritability. Feeding and drugging smother these symptoms just as a dose of morphine relieves the addict who is suffering from forced abstinence from his drug, and this leads physician and patient to believe he is improved thereby. Yet, these very measures, so frequently employed to cure, are often the cause of nervousness.
If such patients are permitted to fast for a few days, a remarkable change occurs in their mental and nervous symptoms. One example must suffice. A young lady once consulted me. She was so extremely nervous that if her husband only pointed his finger at her and said "boo!" she would become hysterical, laughing and crying alternately for sometime before she would finally regain composure. A little noise in the house or outside at night frightened her. She was placed on a fast. It lasted only a week, but her nervousness was completely overcome in this short time. Nothing frightened her any more and nothing would cause her to become hysterical.
Kellogg suggests a "bland diet" "in cases of insane persons who refuse to eat and must be nourished by tube feeding." I helped care for one such case and we permitted him to fast. For forty days he continued to refuse food, then he developed an uncontrollable hunger and would invade the kitchen, if not watched, and get food at all times. The young man made great improvement both mentally and physically and was able to run and also to put up a stiff fight when efforts were made to restrain him in some of his actions. He committed suicide before his recovery was complete, however.
Insanity is frequently overcome while fasting, and practically all cases are improved by the fast. Max Nordau declared: "Pessimism has a physiological basis." It really has what we call a pathological basis and this is removed by fasting. Many cases of paralysis of the throat, legs, arms and other forms of paralysis have yielded to the kindly influence of fasting.
Dr. Kritzer, following the lead of the late Dr. Henry Lindlahr, warns against fasting in mental, nervous and "psychic diseases." "Beware of an empty stomach in melancholia," he says, "for the patient's constant brooding causes a congestion of blood in the brain, and unless the blood is withdrawn through the process of digestion, the chances of aggravation of the mental symptoms are increased. All persons negatively inclined physically, mentally or psychically--the 'sensitive types'--would fare better on a properly balanced diet rather than fasting, even though for short periods."
All of us deplore this mixing of occultism and spiritualism with physiology and dietetics. I once placed on a fast, a psychic woman who had previously been warned that a fast would ruin her. She improved steadily during the fast and went on to good health. I do not hesitate to fast nervous and mental cases and always with good results. Dr. E. R. Moras tells of placing a woman on a diet of strained orange juice who "had been insane for eight months and treated by eminent neurologists." In seven days the girl called for food and in six weeks was normal. She was "psychic."
Dr. Kritzer says, "The ill effect of prolonged fasting upon the nervous system is, however, more pronounced and of longer duration. Indeed, the individual drifts into a negative condition, becomes irritable and extremely sensitive.
"It often requires years of careful living in order to successfully overcome the shock received by the nervous system after an injudicious long fast."
Dr. Kritzer has not been studying fasting; but a mixture of fasting with hot and cold baths, spinal manipulations, massage, electrical treatment, psychotherapy and other such forms of destructive nonsense. Fasting does not produce the effects he attributes to it. The depletion of the nervous system, he and and others write about, is due to the insane abuse in the form of so-called treatment to which patients are often subjected in most drugless, and semi-drugless institutions, and often occur in patients that are fed.
"Those who obtain the best results from fasting and proper dieting," to quote Dr. Weger, "are those whose mental state is not shattered by the long continued use of drugs and by psychic shock." He makes this observation with particular reference to cases of epilepsy, but it is true in general. By this is not meant that even these cases do not derive benefit from fasting and proper diet, but merely that the benefit is not so apparent and requires, often, much longer time to make itself manifest.
Lennox and Cobb, of the Harvard University Medical School, experimented with fasting in epilepsy and reported that except in one patient there was little permanent effect on the "seizures." They found that in the majority of the cases the "seizures" were entirely absent or were greatly reduced during the fast, but that these returned with the resumption of eating. As this experience is wholly out of keeping with my own I shall make a few remarks concerning the "essentially negative results of fasting" which they report.
Let me say that I have had only two cases in which the fits returned after the fast. I recall one case, however, which was in a sanatorium with which I was connected. This patient had two fasts of about twenty days each. The milk diet was employed after each fast. It was found that if more than six quarts of milk were consumed in one day a "seizure" would result. It was also found that if he was given milk for six days and no food of any kind on the 7th day, he would go for long periods without trouble; but as soon as he took milk on the 7th day he had a "seizure." This case very forcibly illustrates the relation of eating habits to the "disease." Another of my cases that had been having one and two "seizures" a week, did not have one seizure during over three months under my observation after a fast of less than a week. The fast was followed with proper diet and living reform. The fasting cases of Lennox and Cobb lasted from four to twenty-one days, and the longer fasts were certainly long enough to produce great benefit in these cases. They think that if fasting were employed in the early stages of the "disease" the results might be more encouraging. They also say that it would be strange if an "acute therapeutic dieting measure" should give lasting results in a chronic condition like epilepsy.
I would say, however, in view of my own experience, that their lack of knowledge of fasting and especially their lack of knowledge of proper feeding after the fast, is responsible for their partial results. The effects of fasting are profound and lasting, but these may be totally spoiled by injudicious care.
Dr. Weger says, "It is conceded by physicians that most epileptic seizures are precipitated by gastrointestinal derangement, gastric hyperacidity and intestinal fermentation, even by a very slight deviation from normal at any period of the digestive cycle. The most frequent source of irritation is the colon."
One of my cases noticed pain in the left pelvic region and a knotting of the colon preceding each "seizure." There was a failure of colonic function before each "attack" with a loss of appetite.
If good digestion is so important in these cases, it should be quite obvious that the permanency of the results obtained by fasting must depend largely upon proper feeding and proper general care after the fast. As Dr. Weger says, "It is absurd to look for good results in this class of cases unless some attention is given to the kind and combination of food. If the same kind, quality, and quantity of food is permitted after the fast that the patient was in the habit of taking before the fast, the experiment is doomed to failure."
Fasting and prayer were prominent among the remedies employed by the ancients in epilepsy. Dr. Rabagliati says that the best remedy for epilepsy "consists of a careful restriction of the diet. * * * I have for many years now advised restriction of the acute cases in epilepsy to two meals daily, and sometimes one, and in acute cases have recommended further and greater restriction to a pint or a pint and a half of milk daily for a considerable period of time. * * * Fasting in fact, seems to be of very great efficacy in the treatment of epilepsy."
Dr. Henry Lindlahr conjured into being a condition to which he applied the term "abnormal psychism," which he said often resulted in certain types of individuals when these fasted for prolonged periods. I have found no reference to any such mental aberrations in the writings of any other man who has had great experience with the fast, and I have seen nothing resembling it in my own practice. Nonetheless, as conclusions based on Lindlahr's statements about this condition have recently been revived by the authors of Basic Naturopathy (a text-book for students of naturopathy), I think it wise to consider his statements. Before going into it more in detail, let me say that I once heard a student ask Dr. Lindlahr if he had ever thought of these examples of "abnormal psychism" as crises. Instead of giving the student a direct and candid answer, he delivered a lengthy talk on the difference between theory and experience. Yet, he did not dissociate his experience from his theory; or, since it all stems from the darkened seance room, where magic, slight-o-hand, and many mechanical devises are employed to play upon the credulity of the people, had we not better call it superstition, rather than theory?
I am of the opinion that such developments, if they do occur, are due to other causes. They do develop in people who are not fasting. Many fasting patients have lost their abnormal mental conditions while fasting. All who have had extended experience with fasting have seen cases of insanity recover health while on the fast and many others make great improvement while fasting. Knowing that Dr. Hazzard had had many years of experience with fasting I wrote her for her experience with "abnormal psychism" in the fast. She replied in a letter to me dated December 8, 1931, that the notion that fasting produces such conditions is "absolutely wrong" and that, "Fasting seems to clarify mentality, not to cloud it. Nor will it develop any abnormal mental symptoms."
The nearest approach to such a condition that I have found recorded in fasting literature, is one related by Carrington. He says: "The patient became practically insane from the second to the fifth day of the fast--normal conditions being restored on the fifth day. When once the crisis was passed, no indications of such a condition ever recurred; the mentality became, on the other hand, far clearer than in years--indicating that the condition was transitory and merely a curative crisis; one aspect of the vital upheaval, affecting, by chance, the mentality. In this case, the condition was undoubtedly brought about by the excessive, morbid action of the liver, which was greatly deranged, causing an excessive flow of bile; and to a disordered circulation. This was undoubtedly the cause, since the patient also turned almost green during these days--her complexion becoming normal as the fast progressed."--Vitality, Fasting and Nutrition, p. 535.
Lindlahr says: "Next to the hypnotic or mediumistic process, there is nothing that induces 'abnormal psychism' as quickly as fasting. During a prolonged fast, the purely animal functions of digestion, assimilation and elimination are almost completely at a standstill. This depression of the physical functions arouses and increases the psychic functions and may produce in these emotionalism and abnormal activity of the senses of the spiritual-body, the individual thus becoming abnormally clairvoyant, clairaudient, and otherwise, sensitive to conditions on the spiritual planes of life." He adds: "This explains the spiritual exaltation and the visions of "heavenly' scenes and beings or the fights with demons which are frequently, indeed, uniformly, reported by hermits, ascetics, saints, yogi, fakirs, and dervishes."
Unhesitatingly, I pronounce this mere twaddle. In more than thirty years of experience in fasting patients, in all conditions and at all ages of life, I have never seen a single development such as he here describes. I have conducted well over twenty-five thousand fasts, ranging from a few days to sixty-eight days in duration. Men, women, and children, the stolid and the high-strung, the atheist and the religious, the nervous and the mental sufferer and others have been among those who have fasted under my care and none of them has ever become clairvoyant or clairaudient. None of them has become "sensitive" to conditions on any hypothetical "spiritual planes of existence." None of them has had a "heavenly vision," none of them has had any fights with any devils, nor has any of them ever become hypnotically controlled "by 'positive' intelligences either on the physical or on the spiritual plane of being"--hypnotism or mediumism. Lindlahr frankly believed in demonic obsession or possession or, as he also phrased it "spirit control." He says "spirit 'controls' often force their subjects to abstain from food, thus rendering them still more negative and submissive." He thought it "little short of criminal" to "place persons of the negative, sensitive type on prolonged fasts and thus to expose them to the dangers just described."
Theoretically a vegetarian, although reported frequently to indulge in flesh, Lindlahr says that these "negative" and "sensitive" people need "an abundance of the most positive animal and vegetable foods in order to build up and strengthen their physical bodies and their magnetic envelopes, which form the dividing protecting wall between the terrestrial plane and the magnetic field." This mixing of spiritualism and occultism with physiology could but lead him to many false conclusions and many erroneous practices.
Up to the present writing I have had seven cases of mental confusion in my own practice and, as I review these cases, one thing stands out very prominently in all of them; namely, each and every one of the patients were marked neurotics. Three of them presented histories of previous periods of mental aberration. One of these patients had been thoroughly examined at one of the most famous clinics in America and her husband had been told by the physicians at the clinic, that, due to hardening of the arteries in the brain, she would ultimately become insane. None of these patients have resembled anything described by Dr. Lindlahr and there were no signs that they were being controlled by "spirit beings."
While engaged in revising this chapter a woman was brought in from a distant city who was troubled by what she called "elementals." For several years she had dabbled in occultism, and spiritualism and had studied with the swamies and she was convinced that every night these "elementals" were annoying her. She is still fasting at this writing, but she lost her "elementals" and the symptoms that they were supposed to be inducing in the first two weeks of her fast. Meat eating had not saved her from her "negative" and "sensitive" state; fasting soon brought her out of it.
I am convinced that the developments in the aforementioned seven cases were in the nature of crises and that they were in no wise due to fasting and shall set forth my reasons for thinking so. They are:
1. The condition develops extremely rarely, whereas, if the fast were responsible for its development, it would be common.
2. It has not developed in those patients who have had the longest fasts, but in all save two cases, after relatively short fasts. If the fast produces the trouble, the longer fasts should be the ones after which the trouble develops. In one patient the mental symptoms developed after only nine days of fasting. It is well to note that after a subsequent fast of over thirty days, this patient had no such developments.
3. The symptoms never manifest while the fast is in progress, but only after it has been broken, the first symptoms so appearing three days to two weeks after the fast has ended. If the condition results from the fast, it should develop at least part of the time while the patient is fasting.
4. The condition develops only in certain types of individuals, and in these types of cases, such developments are quite common while eating three square meals a day in people who never fast. While I have emphasized the fact that these developments occur, so far as my experience extends, only in pronounced neurotics, they are rare, even in these patients. I have had many neurotics to fast for prolonged periods and receive nothing but benefit. No mental and nervous symptoms have developed during or after the fast in all save the seven we are here considering.
5. In two of my cases the trouble has developed after periods of great physical stress growing out of their diseases and would seem to have been due to the drain placed upon them by their diseases. One of these, a man who developed a severe diarrhea late in the fast that lasted for several days, had slight confusion for three days after his fast was broken, but he never grew irrational. The dysentery constituted a serious drain upon his powers and resources. A second case was unable to take food after the return of hunger. For three days she vomited all food given her. Thereafter she was able to retain food, and after she had begun to eat, she developed mental symptoms that lasted for about three weeks.
6. Certain of these patients who had had such disturbances before fasting have had none since. This is to say, the trouble that followed breaking the fast was the end of their mental troubles. One woman who had had such periods of confusion before going on the fast, had such a period after the fast was broken, and has had no more such troubles for twelve years.
7. In one case, at least, the clearing up of the mental symptoms has been accompanied with the disappearance of other symptoms that were of long standing. This woman, a neurotic, psychotic and drug-poisoned patient, became confused three days after her fast was broken (she had had such periods before fasting) and remained so for a period of about seven days. When she became normal, certain subjective head symptoms of which she had complained for over a year were gone and did not recur.
8. Most of these patients are now holding responsible positions and are enjoying good mental health.
There is no means of proving that these people would have had these developments at the times they did had they not fasted, but I think the inference is plain that they would have. In at least four of these cases previous such periods while eating point in this direction. In two other cases in which I have no positive proof of previous such periods, I have some evidence that such periods of mental disturbance had been previously experienced. If we add to this the frequent and great beneficial results that accompany and follow fasting in severe neurotic conditions and in cases of actual insanity, the evidence seems to be complete that the fast is not responsible for these conditions. It may well be said that the chief result of the fast is to retard their development, or even, in many cases, to prevent them altogether.
In considering these developments, it is well for us to keep in mind the ability of the body to nourish and sustain the brain and nervous system and to maintain their functional and structural integrity throughout the most prolonged fast by drawing upon its nutritive reserves, and the actual benefit that is seen to accrue to the nervous system in many cases of paralysis, neuritis, neuralgia, various neuroses and even in insanity, while fasting, even prolonged fasting, all of which should strongly indicate that the brain and nerves are not injured.
Due, no doubt to wrong life, man's senses are comparatively dulled. In all cases of fasting the senses become more acute. So invariable and distinctive is this that Hygienists have long regarded it as more or less certain evidence that the patient is fasting. Professor Morgulis says that "the acuity of the senses is increased by fasting" and that at the end of his thirty-one days abstinence from food "Levanzin could see twice as far as he did at the beginning of the fast."
The acuteness of perception is most marked in fasting cases. Many users of glasses are enabled to discard their glasses and see as well as ever without them. I have had one complete recovery from complete blindness in one eye while fasting. Invariably the eyes become clear and bright.
There are occasional fasters in whom, towards the end of a very prolonged fast, vision grows dim and coordination of their eyes is impaired. They see double, see spots floating before their eyes, and are unable to read. This is a temporary weakness that disappears after the fast is broken. I have never seen any permanent injury follow in these relatively rare cases, but have seen distinct and permanent improvement in vision follow. People who, before the fast were unable to get along without glasses, have been able to discontinue their use, after recovering from this temporary weakness.
The sense of touch is invariably sharpened. It is not easy to determine the state of the sense of taste during the fast, but the patient invariably discovers that his sense of taste is more acute and discriminating following the fast than before the fast.
The improvement in the sense of hearing is, commonly, even more marked than that of the other special senses. No doubt part of this improvement in the sense of hearing results from the clearing of catarrhal conditions in the ears and eustachian tubes. Part of it is the result of the general rise in nervous condition. Although no one makes the claim that all deaf and near-deaf individuals can regain their hearing by fasting, it is, nonetheless, a fact that many deaf people have so regained their hearing. I had one patient who had been completely deaf in one ear for twenty-five years who regained her hearing in thirty days of fasting and was able to hear her watch tick at arm's length with her formerly deaf ear. It should be understood that spectacular results, such as the recovery of sight by the blind and recovery of hearing by the deaf are not to be expected as a regular result of physiologic rest.
The sense of smell is invariably sharpened, often as a result of the disappearance of nasal catarrh, but even in those cases where there is no catarrh of the nose, the sense of smell becomes very acute. Indeed, its acuteness is often so marked as to be a source of discomfort due to the fact that the faster smells disagreeable odors in his environment that were not detected before the fast. On the other hand he derives added pleasure from smelling agreeable odors.
The following is from a letter from John W. Armstrong which was published in the Yorkshire (England) Evening Post, January 16, 1933, and illustrates not merely the heightened acuteness of the sense of smell produced by fasting, but also the strength and endurance an animal may have after fourteen days without food.
"Shortly before the war a discussion between Russian professors of medicine and a body of physical culturists resulted in an acid test being made of the respective fitness and sensitivities of well-fed and "starving" (?) bodies. Wolves were chosen for this test, 36 animals being kept in a pit where a stream of fresh running water was diverted to run through and a similar number of the untamed creatures placed in a second pit and fed every day on fresh raw meat and water.
"For 36 hours the unfed wolves were restless and snappy, then, appearing to accept the inevitable, the pack grew quiet and lazy. Until the tenth day they proved the assertions of the Naturopaths that the body never feeds so calmly and easily as when feeding upon its own tissues, by sleeping most of the time. Towards the 14th day they began to grow fierce and super active, having lost all their flesh (the healthy flesh formed of natural food in the wilds in outdoor creatures melts readily and quickly under the internal heat engendered by the process of fasting--thrice as quickly as flesh formed from civilized cooked and prepared food).
"The wolves had reached that stage where fasting is approaching its end and natural hunger is setting in, a stage at which food must be given.
"Released on the 15th day with a herd of deer many miles beyond them and to windward of both packs the unfed pack took scent first, set up the chase and when overtaken by fleet motor-cars, had caught up with their prey and dined off the killed deer, leaving nothing but the bones.
"I leave the reader to judge what this proves, but would add, in passing, the findings of many experienced observers that fasting invariably restores, if conducted long enough, the sense of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch, and also the gift of speech when lost as in seizures, shock, etc."
I do not agree that fasting will invariably restore sight, hearing, smell, etc., but that it frequently does so is not a matter of doubt.
There can be no doubt that all of man's special senses are more or less dulled or weakened by civilized life and by his "disease" and degeneracy. In fasting, without the recorded exception of a single case, the senses are remarkably improved. Indeed, so distinctive a sign is this that we look upon it as evidence that our patient is fasting. I have seen hearing restored on a fast. Catarrhal deafness of long standing, where there are no adhesions in the eustachian tube, is always improved or overcome. Hearing in those who consider their hearing normal becomes so acute that sounds that ordinarily are never heard are noticed often to the extent that the faster is annoyed by them. People who have been deaf for years are enabled to hear the ticking of a watch and low sounds that before was impossible. I have seen the senses of taste and smell, which had long been paralyzed, restored to their normal condition while fasting. The sense of smell becomes so acute that the faster is often annoyed by odors in his daily environment that he never before knew existed. People who have worn glasses for years and who could not read without them are frequently enabled by a fast to discard their glasses and find their sight to be as good as ever. The eyes also become clear and bright. The sense of touch becomes very acute.
The weakening and deadening of man's sense perceptions is due chiefly to depleted vitality and the accumulation in the tissues of excess food and retained waste matter. The fast by cleaning out the excesses and wastes and eliminating them from the system and also by permitting nervous recuperation, removes the causes of dulled senses.
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