Health and wellness is a major theme for many travelers visiting Lake Baikal in Siberia. Lake Baikal is the oldest and deepest lake in the world. It is associated with pure water, hot springs, herbal remedies and a pristine environment.
I recently visited this area to discover more about the health practices in this remote part of the world. From Ulan Ude, the capital of Buryatia, I drove three hours to Lake Baikal to learn more about the benefits of therapeutic fasting. For this purpose, I visited a branch of the famous Oriental Center for Medicine.
HOLISTIC APPROACH TO HEALTH
The Oriental Center for Medicine practices a combination of Western medicine and Oriental medicine based on ancient Tibetan medical practices. The result of this combination is a practical diagnosis and treatment together with a holistic medical philosophy.
The Lake Baikal branch of the Oriental Center for Medicine focuses on therapeutic fasting. It’s quite a simple place but many people come from all over the world to regain their health in this innovative way.
VISITORS TO LAKE BAIKAL
When I visited the centre, there were three people from Switzerland, and several people from Germany and Italy. Of course, Russians from as far as St. Petersburg and Moscow come here for fasting therapy as well. They stay in this simple wood complex and spend most of their days not eating any food.
What do they do with their days, I wondered. I espied some adult colouring books and some meditation books in one of the common rooms.
HOW TO DO THERAPEUTIC FASTING
This is the best type of fasting for real medical results, said Dr. Sergey, the chief doctor at this centre. “Europeans come here because they can do a complete fast for 14 days,” he explained. “In detox centres in Europe, a fast means going on a low-calorie diet or a liquid diet for several days. This is not proper fasting and it puts you in danger of a decreased muscle-to-fat ratio.”
BENEFITS OF THERAPEUTIC FASTING
“What happens to people who go one such radical food fasts?” I asked.
The doctor replied: “With proper medical supervision, they can gain a lot of benefits from fasting. They will see many of their chronic ailments disappear, and their brains will work faster. At the same time, we put them through a regimen of sauna and massage for a complete detox. This is combined with the healing air of Lake Baikal for best results.”
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH
“Is there anything people can do to improve their health, apart from going on complete food fasts?” I asked, just before leaving the centre. I wanted to join such a program. But, as always, my problem was a lack of time.
Dr. Sergey answered: “You can always do intermittent fasting, as this is better than not doing anything. Eat dinner early, skip breakfast and then have a late lunch. Doing this once or twice a week will definitely help improve your health.”
Read more stories about traveling around Lake Baikal in Travelife Magazine.