Paavo Airola on Juice Fasting

Dr. Paavo Airola, N.D., PhD: How to Keep Slim, Healthy and Young with Juice Fasting: The Age Old Way to a New You! (Health Plus Publishers, Oregon 1990). First published in 1971.

Also see: My juice fasting diaries

"Let me be your guide to a modern, scientific, health-restoring and rejuvenating miracle of juice fasting! Juice fasting not only accomplishes a physiological regeneration and revitalization of your body, but has a profound stimulating effect on your mind and mental facilities. It stimulates and sharpens mental and aesthetic perception and increases your spiritual awareness."
- Dr. Paavo Airola, p. 9

paavo airola, juice fasting, miracle of juice fasting

This is more of a summary and a collection of quotes from Dr. Paavo Airola's book, than a review. It is a concise, easy-to-read book full of useful information. Although the language comes across a little old, and perhaps some advise has been updated (e.g. juicing of raw potatoes is not recommended anymore!), this book is nevertheless a very useful and thorough guidebook on how to fast at home.

"You are as young or as old as your smallest vital links - the cells. The aging begins when your normal process of cell regeneration and rebuilding slows down. This slowdown is caused by the accumulation of waste products in the tissues which interferes with the nourishment of the cells." (p. 20)

From the inside cover:
- "Rejuvenating, reducing and healing power of juices.
- Facts, fads and fallacies about fasting
- How to fast - and how not to
- Why juice fasting is superior to water fasting
- The fastest and safest way to reduce
- Actual cases of recovery from various diseases through juice fasting
- What juices to use for specific conditions"

"Juice fasting" is a short book, 77 pages, but very inspiring and useful. The text comes across a little old-fashioned but on the other hand I sometimes like reading older books because often they seem a bit less corrupted by financial interests than some contemporary writing.

"This book is not a theoretical, philosophical work on fasting, but a practical do-it-yourself guide which will help you to understand the common-sense wisdom and mechanics of fasting, and help you to employ fasting for your own benefit - be it for prevention of disease and premature aging, or for treatment of the many ills of modern man." (p. 7)

Yet, there is a bit of fasting philosophy, too:

"Throughout the long medical history fasting has been regarded as one of the most dependable curative and rejuvenative measures. Hippocrates, 'the Father of Medicine', prescribed it. So did Galen, Paracelsus, and all the other great physicians of old. Paracelsus called fasting 'the greatest remedy; the physician within'. Fasting was practiced by many great thinkers and philosophers, such as Plato and Socrates, to 'attain mental and physical efficiency'. Most Eastern philosophers and super-yogis, known for their long life, mental efficiency and spiritual awareness, fast regularly, along with meditation, to attain long life and a high level of spirituality." (p. 11-12)

Benefits of Juice Fasting

"Contrary to the popular notion, you don't get weakened or depleted by fasting; the opposite is true, particularly if you employ a juice fast. After juice fasting you will feel stronger and revitalized; your health condition will be markedly improved, your physical and mental working capacity will be increased. You not only will feel revitalized but also will look younger than before fasting. And this is not only because of lost pounds, but mostly because the fasting has such a profound rejuvenating effect on the functions of all the vital organs, including the functions of the all-important endocrine glands, which are so decidedly responsible for how young or how old you will feel and look."
- Dr. Paavo Airola, p. 16

"At the Stobhill General Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, fasting was clinically tested with remarkable results. One 54-year old woman with a painful arthritic condition and grossly overweight, was put on a liquid fast for 249 days and lost 74 of her 262 pounds [32/ 119kg]. As a pleasant side-effect, her arthritis cleared up completely, too!" (p. 14)

- Asthma dramatically improved
- Arthritic pain improved or arthritis cured completely
- Breathing problems improved
- Tumors reduced
- Heart functioning improved
- Bronchitis, tonsilitis completely cleared up
- Quick weight loss
- A renewed sexual vigor 7, 10, or more days of fasting
- ... and many more case histories explained in the book

"Fasting not only accomplishes a physiological regeneration and revitalization of your body, but has a profound stimulating effect on your mental faculties." (p. 76)

"You will notice that during fasting your visual and mental perception and awareness of aesthetic beauty will be sharpened and that your thoughts will gradually raise from a lower, everyday level of unpleasant realities to higher realities, concerned with the purpose and meaning of your Divinely designed life. [...] Your heart will rejoice, your earthly problems will seem unimportant, and you'll feel happy to be alive. [...] And you will be amazed at how your mental activity will be sharpened and how thoughts and new ideas will flow with ease." (p. 76)

paavo airola, juice fasting, strawberry juice, beetroot juice

Although the above seems life a lofty explanation of such a simple thing as a juice fast, I can say that from my own experience this is absolutely true. To put it in less abstract and religious terms, I felt much more happy, my heart was more at ease and I felt that my mind would come up with many inspiring thoughts when I took a moment to relax and hear my own thoughts. I also often (not all the time) noticed an 'enhanced' beauty of my surroundings.

I would like to comment here that following forums about fasting, I have noticed that some people experience prolonged and difficult detox symptoms as well as emotional problems, such as sadness and anger. Apart from possible emotional detox, which should, in my opinion, be fairly short-lived (not more than a day), I suspect that people who experienced these complications in their fasts were not taking enemas/ colonics and/ or perhaps included strong superfoods or supplements in the fast. I've heard of many who successfully include chlorella, spirulina and wheatgrass in their fasting juices but with many other superfoods I would recommend caution - and with all of them moderation. I know of at least two people who took superfoods while juice fasting... the first person started getting very angry, and the second became very sad. Both decided to quit the fast prematurely.

I do believe, however, that following Dr. Paavo Airola's advise it is possible for most people to feel good on a juice fast. Exceptions might be those with underlying illnesses and conditions, or those with allergies/ food sensitivities to some of the ingredients in the juices.

What Happens During a Juice Fast

"During the juice fast the process of elimination of the dead and dying cells is speeded up, and the new-building of cells is accelerated and stimulated. At the same time the toxic cells are effectively eliminated and the normal metabolic rate and cell oxygenation are restored. [...]

"1. During a prolonged fast (after the first three days), your body will live on its own substance. When it is deprived of the needed nutrition, particularly of the proteins and fats, your body will burn and digest its own tissues by the process of autolysis, or self-digestion. [...] ... your body will first decompose and burn those cells and tissues which are diseased, damaged, aged or dead. In fasting, your body feeds itself on the most impure and inferior materials, such as dead cells and morbid accumulations, tumors, abcesses, damaged tissues, fat deposits, etc."
- Dr. Paavo Airola, p. 22

"2. During fasting, while the old cells and diseased tissues are decomposed and burned, the building of new, healthy cells is stimulated and speeded up." (p.22)

"3. During a juice fast, the eliminative and cleansing capacity of the eliminative organs - lungs, liver, kidneys, and skin - is greatly increased, and masses of accumulated metabolic wastes and toxins are quickly expelled. For example, during fasting the concentration of toxins in the urine can be ten times higher than normal. This is due to the fact that eliminative organs are relieved from the usual burden of digesting foods and eliminating the resultant wastes, and can concentrate on the cleansing of old accumulated wastes and toxins such as uric acid, purines, etc. from the tissues." (p. 23)

During fasting I was wondering why I was still getting occasional bowel movements after juice fasting/ feasting for over two weeks, and taking enemas. Dr. Paavo Airola seems to have an answer:

"Keep in mind that the activity of the human bowel system is not limited to the absorption of nutrients from the foods and the elimination of the indigestible food residues. Bowels are also one of your eliminative and detoxifying organs in a general sense: through the intestinal walls the toxins and metabolic wastes from the blood and tissues are discharged into the intestinal canal to be excreted from the body. This internal excretion is accelerated during fasting." (p. 23)

"4. Fresh vegetables and fruit juices hardly require any digestion and are easily assimilated from the upper digestive tract without putting any burden on the digestive organs. After fasting, the digestion of food and the utilization of nutrients is greatly improved, and sluggishness and further waste retention is prevented. The rejuvenated cells are thus supplied with nutrients and oxygen more effectively." (p. 23)

"5. The nervous system is rejuvenated; mental powers are improved; glandular chemistry and hormonal secretions are stimulated; biochemical and mineral balance in the tissues is normalized." (p. 23)

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Where to Get Protein While Fasting

This was the first question I was asked when I told people about my 3-week juice fast. Dr. Paavo Airola's response is interesting...

"During the famous Swedish fast marches it was observed that the protein level of the blood (serum albumin reading) of fasting people remained constant and normal throughout the fasting period, in spite of the fact that no protein was consumed. The reason for this is that the proteins in your body are in a dynamic state; that is, they are changed from one state to another, being decomposed and resynthesized constantly and re-used for various needs within the body. Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are not wasted, but are released from the decomposed cells and used again in the new-building of young, vital cells. (...) During fasting, the proteins needed for the new cell buildings are resynthesized from the decomposed cells."
- Dr. Paavo Airola, p. 22

The Swedish Fast Marches from Gothenburg to Stockholm in 1954 and 1964

"Famous Swedish Fast Marches: Perhaps the studies at the Karolinska Institute [on fasting] where inspired by the famous Swedish Fast Marches of 1954 and 1964 which are described in detail in my book Health Secrets from Europe [...] In these experimental fast marches, which made the headlines in the world press, first 11 and then 19 men walked from Gothenburg to Stockholm, a distance of over 325 miles, in 10 days. Throughout each march the participants fasted - didn't eat any food at all! Dr. Lennart Edren, D.D.S., who directed the fast marches, said after the 1954 march: 'This fast was the first in the series of experiments to determined the effects of total fasting under severe conditions of stress. [...]'

"Dr. Karl-Otto Aly, M.D., one of the leading biologically-oriented doctors in Sweden, and one fo the participants of the fast marches, said: 'The march clearly showed that man can live for an extended period of time without food, even accomplish a hard physical effort while fasting... The general expressed feeling among participants was that they felt stronger and had more vigor and vitality after the fast than before it...'"

- Dr. Paavo Airola, p. 12-13

"Dr. Ragnar Berg, one of the greatest nutrition experts in the world and Nobel Prize Winner, said after the Swedish fasts of 1954 that the succesful completion of this unprecedented fast was no surprise to him. He had fasted himself many times and also had supervised many fasts, including one of over one hundred days. He called the Swedish fast marches a 'great scientific success'. (p. 13)

Dr. Paavo Airola's Tips for Successful Fasting

"If you fast according to the recommendations of this book on fresh fruit and vegetable juices and vegetable broth, plenty of exercise and daily enemas you are well protected from any real danger in this respect [in the respect of DDT, an insecticide, poisoning]."
- Dr. Paavo Airola, p. 33

"Undereating is the word that is easy to say but... oh, how difficult to practice! As many compulsive eaters will testify, eating less is more difficult than not eating at all! In my experience, it is much easier for most people to reduce weight by total fasting than by cutting down on the amount of food. Particularly juice fasting is the most suitable for purpose of reducing. It keeps hunger to a minimum while it takes inches and pounds off faster than any other reducing regime." (p. 37)

juice fasting retreat
Thank you for the image.

"To let the patients fasts without making an effort to wash out this constant source of auto-intoxication [i.e., without taking enemas], is indeed unwise. During fasting, copious amounts of toxins are released from the tissues and thrown into the bloodstream for elimination. If these toxins can not come out through the alimentary canal, the body will try to get them out through other eliminative organs, particularly through the kidneys, which, as a result, will often be overloaded and even damaged. At our spa, all fasting patients are given daily enemas in addition to colonic irrigations once a week. To further assist the body in its detoxification and elimination processes, fasting patients are given dry brush massage twice a day to stimulate the eliminative capacity of the skin, the biggest eliminative organ. Patients are also advised to walk and exercise in fresh air as much as possible to help the lungs in their blood-purification work." (p. 43)

"Should you discontinue with your work and rest or stay in bed while fasting? Not at all! On the contrary, staying in bed while fasting is definitely harmful. Your body needs lots of assistance in the form of fresh air, motion and exercise, in order to accomplish a thorough cleansing of the blood and tissues and to effectively regenerate and revitalize all the body functions. Therefore, patients in the fasting clinics are advised to do lots of walking and mild exercises, especially deep breathing exercises, in addition to sunbathing." (p. 65)

What teas to drink while fasting:
- Peppermint (one of the best herbs, has a calming and strengthening effect on the nerves and has been used for ages as a home remedy for gas, indigestion, nausea and flatulence. Also mildly antiseptic.)
- Camomile (useful for colds, throat infections, catarrhal conditions, digestive problems, helps for a good nights sleep)
- Rose hip tea (vitamin c in it will help speed up the healing activity of fasting, vitamin c also helps prevent wrinkles, as it helps keep collagen of the skin elastic and strong)
- Ginseng, fo-ti-tieng, gotu kola and sarsaparilla (For the purpose of rejuvenation. Youthening, the first two have a stimulating effect on the brain, nerve and glandular functions, and help to revitalize the activity of sex glands. Sarsaparilla is an aphrodisiac and contains sex hormones testosterone and progesterone, as well as the adrenal hormone cortin.)

"...while fasting, the intake of vitamins or other food supplements should be discontinued completely." (p. 74)

"It is best not to tell your friends of your new exciting venture until the fast is completed. If they know you are fasting, they will study you carefully and tell you how much worse you look each day. If they don't know of your fasting, they will ask you, 'What is happening? You look better and better each day!' Such is human nature. I know from a quarter of a century experience that when your fast is over, both you and your friends will be surprised and amazed at the remarkable - yes, miraculous - transformation that has taken place." (p. 76)

In addition to these, Dr. Paavo Airola's 'How to Keep Slim, Healthy and Young with Juice Fasting' contains, among other things, short instructions on how to prepare for fast, how to break a fast, how to take an enema, how to prepare potassium-rich vegetable broth, and recommended juices for specific conditions, e.g. carrot, tomato, celery and cabbage juice for stomach ulcers; and lemon, comfrey, garlic and horse radish juices for asthma.

Why Juice Fasting is Better Than Water Fasting

"I have supervised both types of fasting and am thoroughly convinced of the superiority of juice fasting. Dr. Otto H. F. Buchinger, who has supervised more fasts than any other doctor (over 80,000 fasts), employs only juice fasting. He told me that, in his experience, fasting on the fresh raw juices of fruits and vegetables, plus vegetable broths and herb teas, results in much faster recovery from disease and more effective cleansing and rejuvenation of the tissues than does the traditional water fast."
- Dr. Paavo Airola, p. 38

"These vital elements [vitamins, minerals, trace elements and enzymes] are very easily assimilated [from juices] into the bloodstream, without putting a strain on the digestive system - thus they do not disrupt the healing and rejuvenating process of autolysis, or self-digestion, as suggested by some water fast proponents." (p. 39)

"Contrary to the opinion of some writers, fruit and vegetable juices do not stimulate the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach [...] Hydrochloric acid is mainly secreted when protein-rich foods are eaten." (p. 39)

"According to Dr. Ralph Bircher, raw juices contain an as yet unidentified factor which stimulates what he calls a micro-electric tension in the body and is responsible for the cells' ability to absorb nutrients from the blood stream and effectively excrete metabolic wastes." (p. 39)

"During fasting the body burns up and excretes huge amounts of accumulated wastes. We can help this cleansing process by drinking alkaline juices instead of water while fasting."
- Dr. Ragnar Berg, as quoted by Paavo Airola on page 40.

"The proponents of water fasting like to tell you that the juice fast is not a fast, it is a liquid diet. They misunderstand the therapeutic meaning of fasting. Any condition when your body is encouraged to initiate the process of autolysis, or self-digestion, is fasting. During juice fasting, when no solid foods, proteins or fats are consumed, your body will decompose and burn all the diseased and inferior protein and fat tissues, just as it does during a water fast. Juices are absorbed directly into the bloodstream without the usual process of digestion."
- Dr. Paavo Airola, p.40

Further Information/ References

Dr. Paavo Airola on his background on page 8:
"I have studied various methods of fasting for several decades in several countries. My early teachers were two famous Swedish health pioneers Are Waerland and Ragnar Berg. I also studied fasting in Swedish clinics, especially those operated by Dr. Jern Hamberg and Dr. Lars-Eric Essen. Later, I visited famous fasting clinics in Germany and studied modern fasting methods with such giants of biological healing as Dr. H.F. Buchinger, Jr., Professor Werner Zabel, and many others. Dr. Otto H.F. Buchinger, Jr., M.D., is, perhaps, the greatest authority on fasting in the world."

Other books by Dr. Paavo Airola:
- How to Get Well
- Are You Confused?
- Swedish Beauty Secrets
- Cancer - Causes Prevention and Treatment - the Total Approach
- Stop Hair Loss
- Hypoglycemia: A Better Approach
- The Miracle of Garlic
- Everywoman's Book
- The Airola Diet and Cookbook
- Worldwide Secrets for Staying Young
- Health Secrets from Europe

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More quotes from Dr. Paavo Airola's book, including case histories, here: "Benefits of Liquid Fasting - It Can Really Be Fantastic" ( )

Benefits of Juice Fasting
28-Day Juice Fasting Documentary Summary
Cell Membrane Permeability - How nutrients get in and out of cells
Juice Fasting for Hormone Balance
21-Day Live Juice Fast
Green Juice Fast
Benefits of Juice Fasting
7-Days Water Fasting, Diary Summary
Will It Magically Heal You To Stop Eating for 7 Days?


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