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

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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].

Lina

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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Claire White
Claire White
1715076485
I have just completed a 10 day retreat at Sen Wellness and having researched many options, I was drawn to this but it was way beyond my expectations, it was amazing. The yoga by Frances and the monk was incredible, the doctors were kind and helpful and all the staff could not have been more helpful. Special mention to treatments from Tanisha and the manager Sanath who got me out on the beach one evening to see the mother turtles. A dream come true in so many ways, left feeling refreshed,so much healthier in body and mind!! I would highly recommend to anyone who needs a reset.
britta barth
britta barth
1713871962
I had a wonderful stay and participated in the Signature Retreat. The resort is located in a very beautiful nature reserve. There is a beautiful beach for long nice walks and you also can see turtles.Meditation and Yoga were very also so good as were the ayurvedic treatments. I love it.The Signature Retreat led by Sam is a great, inspiring journey in itself - I can highly recommend.The ayurvedic food was delicious and the staff is great.I hope to go soon again to this wonderful place.Mandy thanks to Sam and his team at Sen Wellness Sanctuary. Britta
One of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had in my life. The 10-day retreat is the ultimate in relaxation. They feed you all your meals (delicious homegrown/homemade food), schedule yoga and daily spa treatments and hold special ceremonies throughout the week. The staff go above and beyond to make your experience deep, meaningful and heartfelt. The sanctuary is located in a jungle so be prepared to be immersed in wildlife! Monkeys, reptiles of all kinds, turtles on the beach, eagles/birds and more! I stumbled across this place researching Sri Lanka and it was truly meant to be. The faculties are stunning, comfortable and reasonably priced. Don’t miss an opportunity to come here!
Melanie Farfel
Melanie Farfel
1711609773
A wonderful stay! The staff was so incredible and thoughtful throughout. I left feeling very rejuvenated. Thank you !
M UW
M UW
1710650939
I had really nice experience at Sen Wellness for 8 nights. Here is in the middle of nature, we can feel that we are a part of nature and it is very natural to live with all kinds of animals and plants. I am now mentally and physically fit.What I really appreciated is food - healthy, everyday different menu, some vegetables that I have never seen… I felt that my feeling of taste transformed through my stay and skin condition and body condition became better.All people here is really kind and peaceful.Yoga teacher, Stefania, is a wonderful teacher, she is really knowledgeable and so kind to care all participants. I had enjoyed conversations with her at breakfast, lunch and dinner.Doctors, therapists are nice, I could ask questions and request whatever I feel comfortable.There are different types of rooms, I experienced the most luxury cabana and eco-cabana with Air Conditioning, too. Luxury cabana was awesome but I liked eco-cabana as well. It was an old facility but authentic, compact and I felt cozy. I was alone in the room so the space was enough for single use. If you wish to have luxury stay, I would recommend you to go for Luxury cabana.Everyone has different purpose and expectations. My purpose was feel nature, have simple life and feel appreciation of life. And it was fulfilled. Thank you so much for all Sen wellness team.
sunil damodar
sunil damodar
1710516667
Went to Sen Wellness with family for a retreat, it was a nice spiritual and healthy experience. Fantastic team who were friendly and did everything possible to make it us feel special, great doctors and therapists and of course the daily yoga and one on one interaction with Sam was icing on the cake. Would recommend this to anyone looking for a great mix of spirituality, yoga, treatment and healthy eating. Look forward to my next one at Sen Wellness.
Jessica Crozier
Jessica Crozier
1709904229
Sen Wellness is the perfect place to go to when you are exhausted by life and need a rest to get back to yourself and work through any difficulties you may be experiencing.There’s lovely yoga and meditation classes every day plus a set schedule which is a great way to structure your day of rest alongside tailored Ayurvedic treatments and healthy food.The place is for me perfect but it’s not like a 5 star hotel so if that’s what you are looking for it may be the wrong place for you.If you are lucky you’ll see some turtles as well.Samath and Francis are great managers and will make sure everything goes well.
Kumail Syedain
Kumail Syedain
1709739998
Beautiful experience, beyond my wildest expectations. Would recommend to anyone interested in Ayurveda and healing
Neil Wadhawan
Neil Wadhawan
1709656423
I was fortunate to lead a yoga retreat in early February of 2024. Everything was absolutely spectacular. Sen is a very special place with a beautiful energy that is perfect for retreat and healing.What really makes Sen so special are the people. Every single one of the staff members as well as the ayurveda doctors and all the managers were so kind and always trying to make each experience special. The entire team was led by Sanath and Frances and they were both absolutely wonderful. I can't possibly find enough kind words for both of them. Their leadership and warmth really allowed me to lead the retreat in the best way I could and they were always there for me whenever I needed. Thank you!
helen wright
helen wright
1709279369
Sen wellness is a perfect sanctuary. The Ayurvedic retreat was insane - I loved every minute of it . Thank you
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