Hey there – James here,
I did an 8 day fast about a month ago – with the first 4 days in the high country in Victoria.
The altitude was 1500 meters above sea level.
The fast was on juices, coconut water, water and herbal teas with daily meditation, yoga, walks and coffee enemas.
What I experience was profound. I felt my body going through the stages I usually experience with fasting much quicker. It was like I was experiencing the benefits of 2 days of fasting for every 1.
On day 1 (I had been at that altitude for a few days before), I was experiencing detox symptoms that I usually go through on day 2 or 3 of a fast – mainly fatigue and mental fog.
As the fast progressed the message kept coming through that being at altitude and fasting is a healing double wammy – by day 3 of the fast I was charging and full of energy and clarity like I had been fasting for 6 days.
From what I have experienced – fasting at altitude is powerful and perhaps a way to accelerate the healing and detoxification process significantly when compared to fasting at sea level.
So what could be going on in the body at higher altitude to accelerate the healing during Fast?
No studies seem to have been done on fasting at altitude and the benefits – so until I or someone else does a study it is just throwing theories around. But to take a crack at it:
- There’s less oxygen for the same given volume of air at sea level. As a result the kidneys produce more EPO (erythropoietin) – which is the stuff athletes sometimes dope on and it promotes the production of more red blood cells. This enhances the bodies ability to get the oxygen that is available around to the bodies cells (athletes – especially endurance runners and cyclists are all about altitude training at the moment because it is like legal doping). With more red blood cells, and more oxygen being taken to the cells, I would say swifter healing can occur.
- Fasting – especially with pulp free juices, coconut water or water provides the digestive system a break and free’s up this energy to heal the bodies tissues and organs (20+ % of our bodies energy goes into breaking down solid foods during digestion). This free’d up energy can then be repurposed to healing organs and tissues in the body that need more love.
- Fasting also provides the body with a safer environment to begin letting go of some of the toxic waste materials it has been accumulating and storing to protect the organs. The organs are no longer busy processing large amounts of toxins coming in through the mouth (and if done in the right low stress environment – through cortisol generated from stress), and can start eliminating some of the toxic buildup.
So when fasting at altitude what I experienced could be explained by the accelerated healing conditions arising from fasting mixed together with the increased healing effects that exist at altitude.
Whether your into fasting or not – my experience and some of research mashed together seems to suggest that accelerated healing occurs when at altitude.
After what I experienced on my last fast, I have decided to run a fasting retreat December 9th-14th at altitiude at Dinner Plane in the Victorian High Country near Mount Hotham. There’s more info on the fast here
If you are interested please shoot me an email [email protected] for more information