Nowadays, in many people the colon is chronically impacted with accumulated feces and mucus backed up all the way to the small intestine. The intestinal plumbing backs up like a full and overflowing septic tank. The blood vessels and lymph vessels in the colon pick up the toxins and carry them to all parts of the body.

As a protective measure to get the disease-causing toxins out of the circulation, the body removes these poisons from the bloodstream and stores them out of the way in cells and tissues everywhere where fat has been deposited, causing what Dr. Norman Walker calls tissue constipation, meaning the tissues are burdened with excess toxins which then cause cellular and tissue inflammation, congestion, eruptions and disease. In general, excess toxins are continually stored in the cells and tissues as long as the person is taking in that particular offending unhealthy food. Only when fats, proteins and carbohydrates are completely eliminated from the diet do the cells release those particular toxins back into the bloodstream and lymph on their way to the eliminative organs, e.g. the intestines, and out of the body.

Fasting is the fastest and most effective way to deal with blood and tissue toxicity and to rid the body of the toxic residues and putrefactive wastes in the colon. In order to effectively cleanse the blood and tissues, it takes a minimum of three full days. That’s how long it takes for the body’s internal cleansing and healing mechanisms to shift into full gear. However, three days is not long enough to experience the so-called healing crisis which normally occurs sometime between the third and fifth day of a fast. The healing crisis marks the point in a fast when tissue detox has reached its peak and symptoms of the body’s most serious conditions come out of hiding and begin to manifest. For example, in someone with arthritis, the healing crisis occurs when the deepest deposits of toxic residues are dislodged and drawn out of the joints, causing pain in the joints and connective tissues. For someone suffering from heavy liver toxicity, the healing crisis comes as the most poisonous substances are dissolved and eliminated from the tissues of the liver, bringing out all the unpleasant symptoms of liver toxemia such as overwhelming fatigue and listlessness, anger and irritability, yellow eyes and skin, foul breath and body odor, and throbbing pain in the liver itself. The good news is that this crisis marks the mid-point from which the rest of the fast is all downhill. It means that the worst stage of the fast has passed and that the healing stage has begun.

The ideal duration of a therapeutic detox fast is 7-10 days. That’s because it takes precisely seven days to completely purify the bloodstream and cleanse the lymphatic system of all residual wastes. When the blood and the lymph have been totally purified, the whole body and all its parts are free of toxicity, because pure blood and clean lymph automatically cleanse the body and eliminate toxins from the tissues on a day-to-day basis. If you eat properly, you will not need to fast so often to rid yourself of putrefactive digestive wastes and metabolic toxins. Generally speaking, one 7-10 day detox fast each year, while taking care to control your diet in between, is usually sufficient to protect you from serious diseases such as cancer and arteriosclerosis, prevent the onset of common degenerative conditions such as arthritis and senility, and pave the way to a long and healthy life. Almost anyone is capable of completing a seven-day fast, but for those who have never tried it and worry about going that long without food, a few three-day mini-fasts may be tried first as a sort of warm up. This is a good way to gain confidence and gradually work up to a full seven-day fast.