How fasting was adopted in the United States

How fasting was adopted in the United States

It was in the 19th century that doctors in the United States first examined the therapeutic virtues of fasting, outside any religious context.

It must be said that the framework was conducive to alternative medicine. American cowboy doctors were even stronger than their European counterparts in using strong methods to fight diseases. In addition to the well-known bleeding, enemas and vomit in Europe, the American doctor's pharmacy was mainly composed of extremely toxic products: alkaloids (opium, apomorphine, digitalis) and salts of metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic and antimony.

At the same time, several doctors are trying to promote the benefits of fasting using the methods of the time. Thus Dr. Henry Tanner staged himself for a 40-day fast in a Manhattan theatre, under the close supervision of a cohort of suspicious doctors who surrounded him day and night. His fasting began on June 28, 1880. It is the event of the year: many onlookers come to encourage the fasting, while the two leading newspapers New York Times and New York Herald make it a daily column. As a result, newspapers across the country are getting involved in this case.

The measurement of weight, pulse and breathing rate are announced regularly.

Letters of encouragement flowed in from all over the world, and fasting continued without incident until August 7, as agreed. Tanner has lost 16 kilos, he is alive and well, and the medical profession's warnings against the alleged dangers of fasting no longer frighten anyone.

Therefore, and today we may find ourselves in equivalent circumstances, the way is clear for fasting for a larger population.


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