Fasting: How to have a healthier, happier, longer life


The history of fasting stretches back thousands of years, with all the main spiritual and religious traditions using fasting as a means to cleanse, purify, or reach closer proximity to the divine. Fasting has seen a renaissance in recent years and is supported by an ever growing body of scientific research pointing to a variety of health benefits.

At Sen Wellness we have facilitated hundreds of guests from many different countries and cultures through fasting and detox programmes on retreat with incredible results. Over the years we have observed that overeating and the consumption of certain food types are habitual behaviours. In order to create sustained change, we therefore have to take the time out to stop and become conscious of our eating habits, asking ourselves why we eat the way we do. A dedicated wellness retreat is an ideal space to do this in, but later in the blog we will also share some simple fasting practices for you to experiment with at home.

All of us have experienced feeling lethargic after a heavy meal, or after eating highly processed foods or refined carbohydrates. This is because the body is using a lot of energy to break down our food. In our culture of continuous grazing, we therefore hijack our body’s innate intelligence system which is diverted to the immediate task of digesting food. Witholding food helps the body’s intelligence to kick in, allowing the body to reset and regenerate.

So what exactly happens in the body when we fast? About 12 hours after your last meal, growth hormones start to be released, stimulating fat burning and helping to build muscle. Continuing to fast into 13-15 hours will generate ketones, switching you from burning energy from sugar to burning energy from fat, and stimulating healing in your brain and cells. After 17-18 autophagy kicks in, breaking down toxins and inflammation within your cells.

Three of your major organs – liver, pancreas and intestines – all start repairing at the 24-hour mark, making this a great solution for digestive issues like leaky gut and candida. Serotonin production also increases, and inflammation and blood pressure start to go down. 36-48 hours is the sweet spot for those who want to lose excess weight, as ketone production continues to rise.

Ancient yogis knew these secrets, which is why when they practiced meditation to attain Samadhi, a highly advanced state of consciousness, they restrained from eating for days, weeks, and months at a time.

Three fasts you can do at home:

There are different types and levels of fasting. If you are generally healthy, have no diagnosed medical conditions and are not on any medication, then it is safe for you to fast. However, it is not recommended if you have diabetes, are pregnant, breast feeding, or have problems with your blood sugar levels.

Intermittent Fasting

The most common and popular method of fasting is intermittent fasting (IF) and this is also the easiest to maintain as it won’t require you to make drastic changes to your current lifestyle. With IF it is recommended that you eat all of your meals within a six to 10 hour window. The key is giving your body more than 12 hours without food, and as recent research published by Harvard Medical School suggests, to abstain from snacking and not to eat past early evening.

Juice Fasting

Again, this is a popular and effective way of fasting without breaking too much sweat. We recommend consuming three to four vegetable juices throughout the day, and having your last juice at around 3-4pm. If you’ve never done a juice fast before, we recommend trying this once or twice a week for a period of six weeks and then assessing how you feel. For those looking for hard evidence of results, we can arrange ‘before’ and ‘after’ blood tests via our London Clinic. We are also happy to chat to you about incorporating fasting into your lifestyle longer term.

Water Fasting

In our personal experience, a 36-hour water fast is the most effective form of fasting, giving a complete break to the digestive organs, especially your pancreas and liver. If your lifestyle allows, we suggest aiming to do this once a week. This will help your body break down toxins at the celluar level and reduce inflammation in the tissues, which a 24-hour juice fast will not. With time, we recommended continuing to fast for up to 72 hours for even more mental and spiritual clarity. Go gently with reintroducing food after the fast, for example by eating a broth or warm soup before solid food.

Fasting and Detox Programmes at the Sanctuary:

At Sen Wellness Sanctuary, we offer a variety of detoxing and fasting programmes under the expert guidance of Dr Waruni, our much loved Resident Ayurvedic Doctor. As well as walking you step-by-step through the technical process,Dr Waruni will also attentively support you with the mental and emotional aspect of your fasting journey.

Both our juice fasting programme and our one-day Ayurvedic cleansing programme are very popular for their impressive results within a short time period. If you are looking to lose weight, reduce cholesterol, or balance your blood sugar levels then we offer highly personalised detox programmes which are tailored for your individual health profile.

We are now offering special discounted rates on all Bespoke and Signature Retreats at Sen Wellness Sanctuary, valid from our reopening in October 2020 until April 2021. There has never been a better time to reap the benefits from fasting! To enquire please email [email protected].


Coming from a lineage of healers, Lina works with somatic embodiment, breathwork, energetic healing, sound, and naturopathic nutrition. She channels her practice into words and thoughts to share with you. Her warmth and radiant energy will capture you through her words

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Elly G
Elly G
Came here for a yoga retreat with our teacher. This is the place to unwind, do yoga, relax and get Ayurvedic treatment. Ayurvedic drs and therapists are so helpful and friendly. Staff are so warm and helpful. Frances is the manager at Sen, a person with a beautiful soul who is very sensitive to our needs and intentions when visiting the sanctuary. Saneth (pardon my spelling) is a very dedicated and hardworking gentleman who made sure that our stay was a pleasant one. Highly recommend Sen Wellness Sanctuary 🙏🏽
Heike Mucha
Heike Mucha
I stayed at Sen Wellness Sancutary for the festive retreat 23/24 - for me a 10 days commitment to complete immersion. I enjoyed every bit of it already at the Sanctuary! Now, back home and 40 days later, I am still profiting from the treatments, the experiences I made and my 40-days-practise that I started, as soon as I arrived home.Here is my deepest gratitude for the gifts I received during this retreat: a wonderful place, a kind, supportive, attentive and friendly team, support and grounding in my personal difficult moments, fantastic and soothing Ayurveda treatments (thanks to the doctors & massage therapists - always there with a smile and advice), delicious food, fascinating ceremonies (an unforgettable experience!), a lot of fun & laughter with other group members...Just to name a fiew.The biggest gift is, that I still have all this in my heart, that I can feel the connection to it. And that the practice of pranayama and meditation starts to become a routine! I hope, I can return to this unique place one day.
Sally Emerson
Sally Emerson
My stay at Sen Wellness was exhilarating, from the dramatic colours of the sunsets to the naughty monkeys bouncing on the roof of our yoga room then leaping into the jungle. Best of all was watching, after a sunset walk over the wide empty white beach, newly hatched turtles hurtling over the sand to the ocean beyond. Good food, kind smiling staff, excellent and varied company from all over the world at the communal meals, massages, swimming pool, meditation, yoga, it was all pretty faultless and very inspiring.The serene and mesmerising Tseyang from Tibet provided me with a yoga programme I am actually keeping to.
One of the most relaxing and intriguing stays I’ve ever had. From the moment you walk in to the moment you leave, the hosts and staff anticipate and provide for your every need.The creative Vegan meals, yoga, meditation and daily treatments make this retreat a must-do for anyone who wants to experience an absolute gem.
Melbin Abraham
Melbin Abraham
I recently attended a 14-day Ayurveda and Yoga retreat at Sen Wellness Sanctuary, and I can confidently say it was the best decision I made in 2024!The sanctuary is nestled in a truly enchanting environment, providing a perfect blend of calmness and nature. Being located next to Turtle Beach added a unique touch to the overall experience, making it an ideal destination for anyone seeking serenity and relaxation.The staff at Sen Wellness Sanctuary is exceptional. From the moment I arrived, I was greeted with warm smiles, and their hospitality throughout my stay was beyond compare. Special shout-out to Sudheera, Sanath, the Manager, whose dedication to ensuring a seamless experience stood out. Frances,The wellness Manager with her beautiful soul, Tsayang, my Yoga guru, Gopi, my transporter, and the entire team, including Kavindu, Dr. Tarushi, Dr. Udari, Mahil, Madhu, and many more, contributed to making my stay truly memorable.The food was another highlight of my experience. Traditional Sri Lankan dishes, rich in veggies and fruits, were served daily, creating a culinary journey that added to the overall wellness experience.One of the most rewarding aspects of my time at Sen was the opportunity to make new friends from around the world. Connecting with like-minded individuals enhanced the entire retreat experience, and I left with a profound sense of personal evolution.In conclusion, Sen Wellness Sanctuary is more than just a retreat; it's a haven for personal growth and well-being. I completed the program with a genuine feeling of having evolved into a new person. I highly recommend Sen to anyone seeking a transformative and rejuvenating experience.Thank you, Sen Wellness Sanctuary, for the exceptional hospitality. I look forward to returning in the future!
Linda Deverell
Linda Deverell
I have spent time in very austere ashrams through to very high end spa retreats but, Sen Sanctuary is in a league of its own, it is the only place I have ever been where I haven’t for one moment thought, what am I doing here? It is unique in its ability to blend wellness, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, diet and joy in a relaxed, unpretentious and thoughtful environment. Every member of staff is there to guide you on your way ,all you have to do is turn up with an open heart and mind!I first went there in March 2023 having met the amazing Dr Sam in London and I returned again in January 2024, both times unique, both times wonderful. I have no doubt I will go back again and again.Sen Wellness Sanctuary is a place built with love and integrity straight from Dr Sam’s heart to every one who has the great good fortune of staying there.
Ryan Samtani
Ryan Samtani
First of all, I’d like to thank everyone working at this place for making it so magical. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here and found it so incredibly rejuvenating - from the organic food, top notch Ayurvedic massages, health advice, breathwork, yoga, community.. the retreat is truly unique and unmatched.. it’s really a place that welcomes everyone and caters to each and every person’s needs. I loved connecting with others on the retreat too. I stayed for 3 short nights, but will remember the experience for a lifetime.
Elisa Brugnera
Elisa Brugnera
I just came back after spending a week at Sen Wellness, and the experience was above my expectations.The location is beautiful, immerse in nature and with an amazing beach available.Yoga and meditation classes vary every day, and I can say I learnt so much.The main feedback I’d like to leave is about the team: all of them did everything in their power to make us guests happy, they personally cared about our wellbeing.I can say I came back relaxed, but also changed and nourished internally, I’m looking at problems with a different perspective.I am already planning to be back!
Pia Schmoeckel
Pia Schmoeckel
All I could have asked for in an Ayurveda retreat. Beautiful place and nature, with lovely people and a lot of thought and intention in the programs.
Richard S
Richard S
hat an incredible place and lovely team and special stay. Situated between the beach and the lagoon you are surrounded by wildlife and feel completely isolated from the outside world. The treatments, food and yoga/meditation work together to ensure an incredibly restorative and nourishing stay. Ten days seemed a good length of time to stay to maximise the benefits.Thank you to all the team at Sen for a magical stay
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