Document Type: Review Article
Associate Professor, Department of Ayurveda, KMC, Manipal University, Manipal- 576104, Udupi, Karnataka, INDIA
Ayurvedic Consultant, ‘Aryavartha’ Hegde temple, Handady, Brahmavara, Udupi, Karnataka, INDIA
Ayurveda, the Indian art of holistic medicine describes fasting in terms of Upavasa and considers it as one among the depletion therapies. Besides the extensive explanations on the preventive purports of fasting, the classics have explicitly explained and exemplified the therapeutic importance of fasting while treating different diseases and dealing with different stages of the diseases. Fever, eye disorders, diarrhoea, nasal disorders, vomiting, gastroenteritis are a few diseases elucidated, where fasting plays a pivotal part. Ayurveda acknowledges the aspect that fasting brings about the digestion of the metabolic toxins, kindles the digestive fire, removes the blockage in the channels and there by aids in minimizing the disease. And also, the stage/ intensity of the diseases [mild/moderate/maximum] is of great importance to modulate the manner of fasting; either solely or stringed along with the required therapeutic procedures. The duration of fast depends upon the dosha involved; it is longer in Kaphaja disorders and shorter in those due to Vata dosha.The classics have elaborately and exceptionally explained the signs and symptoms of adequate, excess and inadequate fasting along with the contraindications during the execution of fasting, with a view to aid the physician administer apt and accurate treatment and thereby help the individual attain perfect health. The concept and canons of fasting are so very much incorporated and interlaced in the vast science of Ayureda that it advocates, acknowledges and admires depletion therapy, which includes Upavasa / fasting, as the best treatment modality a physician should adopt, by stating, “langhanam paramoushadam”.