Most frequent questions and answers
Fasting is voluntarily abstaining from eating in order to provide the body with the opportunity to cleanse itself of stored toxins, speed up the healing process, and optimize balance on all levels in the body.
Every living organism is self-healing, and there’s no better way to provide the body with the conditions and opportunity to bring itself back into balance and heal illness. Because fasting provides the body with the optimal conditions for healing, it will assist virtually anyone, in almost any condition, to achieve a far higher level of health and vitality.
By eliminating the necessity for the digestion, assimilation, and elimination of foodstuffs, your body is freed of a great deal of its daily energy expenditures. By resting and limiting unnecessary mental and physical activities, more energy is conserved. This available energy can now be used by the body for cleansing and healing. When the body begins it’s cleansing, you’ll likely experience a host of various symptoms (sometimes called a “healing crisis”)including almost any symptom you can imagine. These symptoms are evidence that the body is ridding itself of various toxins, and cease when the system is clean.
Most people will experience some symptoms, though for the vast majority, it’s nothing more than feeling very tired and/or weak. Virtually everyone will experience a drop in blood pressure, which can create a feeling of dizziness when rising too quickly. Body temperature also typically drops, though this can be punctuated by periods of fever, too. Finally, most will find their tongue gets coated as the body’s elimination processes speed up. Depending on your condition(s), you may experience one or more other symptoms. Having said all that, a few people feel terrible the entire time, most people feel pretty well through most of the fast, and some feel great.
There are some people who should not fast because of their conditions, including women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, anyone who is seriously emaciated or undernourished for any reason, and people on certain medications. Most other people will derive enormous benefit from fasting properly and in the right conditions. We can discuss your situation once we have your registration form.
Many people have been told that they cannot fast with these conditions. This stems from a lack of understanding of both fasting and the conditions. Over 90% of diabetics suffer from type 2, or insulin-resistant diabetes. Over 95% of hypoglycemics suffer from Reactive hypoglycemia. In both cases, fasting is safe, and there is no better way to balance the blood sugar and restore health to the body. This health can be maintained with proper diet and lifestyle.
We’ll check your blood pressure, pulse and temperature, look at visible signs and discuss what you’re experiencing every day. We’ll check your weight, muscle mass, fat mass, and level of hydration every week. Knowing what is and isn’t OK while fasting allows us to insure your safety.
Since fasting means “abstaining from all nutrients”, drinking juices, which provide both calories and nutrients, is not technically fasting. In fact, the difference is significant. Though consuming a lighter-than-normal diet of juices reduces the digestive system’s load and allows for more cleansing than when eating normally, the amount of energy saved by drinking juices is likely minimal (for a variety of different reasons) There are also specific, beneficial physiological changes that occur in the complete absence of all nutrients. We offer only water fasting, because it is far more powerful, effective, and efficient than consuming a “juice diet”.
Fasting is normally quite safe, but can be dangerous in rare cases. Most people have a much better experience when fasting in the ideal environment and it’s wise to have experienced and knowledgeable supervision to insure your safety and health.
Your fast will be supervised by Tanglewood’s founder and center director, Loren Lockman. Loren will guide you through the process. Loren has supervised more than 4000 fasts since 1995 and has helped clients in over 97 countries attain amazing levels of health.
In the unlikely event of an emergency, there is a medical center within 15 miles. In our experience so far, less than .5% of our guests have ever needed any kind of medical care while fasting.
When we fast, the body actually feeds both on reserves of stored nutrients and abnormal and unhealthy tissues, including long-term fat stores as well as growths such as fibroids, tumors, lipomas, stones, etc. Anything the body doesn’t need will be broken down and used for fuel and a source of nutrients. Studies show that not only are deficiency conditions almost unheard of while fasting, most deficiencies are corrected while fasting.
We’ll encourage you to relax as much as possible, since the greatest benefits come when we give the body the highest levels of rest. Fasting is typical in nature when an animal is badly injured or ill enough, and when animals fast, they generally lie down, close their eyes, and don’t move. This is the best way for people, too, and invariably brings the best results. We offer an optional daily lecture/Q&A session (6 days/week) for any questions you may have. If desired, you can read some of the many books in our excellent library, write letters or poetry, enjoy nature, draw, walk, stretch, play games, feel your feelings, or contemplate your navel. We’ll always encourage you to do as little as you’re willing to do, and encourage you to consider your fast as a time to totally relax.
Though these activities may seem passive, they can both be very draining. With large amounts of nervous system stimulation, tv is not “restful”, and so with the exception of our Wednesday night movie, is not offered here. You will be encouraged not to watch videos on your computer or spend any more time in front of the screen than is necessary. You can listen to music if you use a personal stereo with headphones/earbuds and keep the music quiet enough that others cannot hear it.
Some do. However, there are enormous benefits to be gained through practicing quietness and stillness, and the harder it is for you, the more you have to gain from it. People in our culture generally keep busy all the time. Even when we’re “doing nothing,” we’re actually doing something; watching tv, reading, etc. I believe the reason most have a hard time really doing nothing is because when we cease distracting ourselves in every moment, our emotional “stuff” comes up. Being quiet and contemplative allows for self-knowledge, and a degree of emotional release and healing that can be life changing for many.
Every situation is unique. In our experience, most clients detoxify at an accelerating rate for the first 3 or 4 weeks. Generally, this means that for at least 21 days, each day is more valuable than the last. We find that 2 weeks is roughly three time as valuable as 1, and that 3 weeks is roughly twice as valuable as 2. For most, a 3-4 week fast seems to be the ideal length to provide the greatest benefit in the shortest amount of time.
Though detoxification continues after 3-4 weeks, most people will begin to detoxify more slowly. At the same time, as we get deeper into our body’s reserves, our “recovery” time can increase dramatically. For those want to cleanse as thoroughly as possible, we offer fasts of up to 6 weeks and have taken more than 150 people through fasts of that long or longer (in the past we were open all the time and so allowed for fasting for 8, 9, 10 weeks or longer.
The body rebuilds with rest, so rest is still primary once eating again. We encourage exercise when the body is rested and ready for it. Depending on the length of the fast, this usually occurs 3-5 days into re-feeding. Activity should be increased gradually making sure not to overdo it.
We offer fresh, locally grown, ripe, whole fruits, the easiest thing for the body to digest.
Juices are not whole foods as they are unnatural and fragmented. They are abnormally concentrated, they contain no fiber for proper bowel function, and none of the vital nutrients that are bound up in the fiber. This lack of fiber means that sugar, protein, and other nutrients can be absorbed too quickly. Virtually every species fasts, and all use whole foods to break the fast. We get the best results doing the same thing.
We don’t offer colon hydrotherapy of any type here, and have found that in over fifteen years with more than 2,000 clients, it is virtually never necessary. The body is almost always perfectly capable of eliminating when it needs to, and we believe that there is far more potential harm than benefit. As stated before, the body is an amazing organism and has virtually infinite intelligence with regard to its own processes. The best we can do is to get out of the way.
We recommend about 2 days of refeeding for each week of fasting, and this works very well for most clients for fasts of up to 3-4 weeks. This means that a typical 3 week fast equals a 4-week stay. As fasting length increases beyond 3-4 weeks, refeeding time usually increases in proportion to the time fasting. A six-week fast requires a three-week re-feeding period.
We’ll teach you the basics of eating well, and help you reconnect with your intuition. You’ll leave knowing what belongs in the body, and when, why, and how to eat for optimal health and vitality. And we’ll send you home with a “6 Week Plan” designed to help guide you to make the best diet and lifestyle choices in every area of your life after you leave the center. Making the best choices possible after you leave is critical to maintaining the gains you achieve at Tanglewood, and so we strive to provide you with the best, paradigm-shifting information available.
We do not permit fasters to drive or ride in cars while fasting. You can take walks if you choose, though we don’t recommend putting yourself in any situation that might be stressful or enervating in any way. Remember, complete rest is optimal and will insure that you maximize the benefit from the process.
We encourage you to limit your use; speaking to well-meaning loved ones who don’t understand fasting can be very draining for you. It’s often best to tell those in your life that you’ll be away and will call them when you return. Postcards are a great way to tell people you’re OK. If you do want or need to make calls, you can make calls through the computer with a Skype account. If you don’t have one, you can download it free. You can bring your own laptop or can use one of the computers in our internet lounge. Please note that there is no wifi on site (wifi causes cancer) and so you will need to plug a network cable into your laptop. If your laptop doesn’t have a network jack, please bring a connector so that you can connect the network cable to a USB port on your computer.
We are located in the little village of La Mercedes up in the mountains at about 3000 feet, between Carmona and Hojancha in the province of Guanacaste on the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.
You have two options; you can fly into the International Airport in Liberia (LIR,) or San Jose (SJO,) Costa Rica. From either airport, we can arrange to have a driver local to us (who knows where we are) pick you up and bring you to the center. This service runs about $135 from Liberia (2 hours away,) and about $245 from San Jose (4 hours away.) We also offer a shuttle from SJO to Tanglewood for $80/person at 3pm on the Saturday you’ll arrive. You can pay for the shuttle on our website with any credit/debit card.
There are also buses if you prefer a much more economical method. From Liberia, there’s an hourly bus that takes you to the bus station in Liberia. From there, there are regular buses to Nicoya, and from Nicoya, you’ll take a second bus to Hojancha where a local driver can bring you to the center. Costs including all buses, and the taxi up here will run $30-40 each way.
If you choose to fly into San Jose, there are buses that take you to Carmona 3 times each day. You’ll need to take a cab from the airport to the Ryozumo bus stop in Alajuela (just 10 minutes from the airport) to bring you to Carmona/Nandayure (same place.) We can often arrange for a driver who knows where that stop is and can insure that you get on the right bus. The bus from Alajuela to Nandayure takes about 3.5 hours. If you call us from the bus (you can usually borrow your seat-mates cell phone for a quick call) to let us know what time your bus left, we can have a driver (who knows where we are) waiting to pick you up to bring you to the center. Cost from SJO to Tanglewood including the bus and taxis on each end run around $40 each way.
If you are arriving into SJO later, we can help you arrange accommodation at a comfortable & inexpensive hotel near the airport and we can have a car pick you up there ($160) or you can take a taxi to a bus the next day. If you can’t find a flight that works to get you here or home on Saturday, you may want to fly in on Friday and stay at the hotel and/or fly back out on Sunday when you leave.
Your investment is $1295 for up to one week, $2195 for up to two weeks, $2795 for up to 3 weeks, and $3295 for up to 4 weeks, $4095 for up to 5 weeks, $4795 for up to 6 weeks, $5495 for up to 7 weeks, $6195 for up to 8 weeks, and $6795 for up to 9 weeks
All rooms are normally shared. If alone, you’ll be assigned a roommate. Most clients enjoy sharing the experience, and leave with great new friends. When available, private rooms can be reserved for an additional $50/night.
No. Once you get to the center our rates above include everything you need: room, plenty of water, cotton linens and towels, personal laundry service (once/week), all of your food for re-feeding, daily vitals, an amazing education and the ticket to an amazing new level of health and vitality. Not included are massage and other optional treatments, your ground transportation between the airport/Tanglewood/airport, $28 exit tax, and any other travel expenses.
Gratuities: Though you are in no way obligated to pay gratuities, our housekeepers will be cleaning your room, washing your clothes, and doing whatever possible to insure your comfort while here at Tanglewood. We pay them a fair wage here, and most of our guests choose to show their gratitude for the ladies’ care by offering a tip prior to the guest’s return home. Whether you choose to do the same or not is up to you. Typical gratuities are $5/week here for each woman. And though this is by no means expected of you, as in other service businesses, gratuities are an excellent way to motivate the staff to provide the best service that they can, and to thank them for the care that they’ve offered. Your $5/person will add roughly 3% to the cost of your stay here, but will make a huge difference to our hard-working housekeeper and her family, currently living at a much lower standard than most of our guests enjoy, and will be very much appreciated.
The more you rest while fasting, the more you’ll benefit from your visit to Tanglewood so while you’re with us we do everything that we can to make your complete rest possible. The purpose of this list is to ensure that you have what you need with you to be completely at ease.
Bring clothes that are consistent with the tropical climate; day time temperatures are usually between 75-80 F and rarely above 85F and nighttime temps may drop as low as 62F. And because your body temperature usually falls while fasting, it’s even more likely that you will need some warm clothes. Days sometimes include downpours and more frequently light showers. You may want to bring clothing for hiking and exercising after your fast, (once you are re-feeding again.)
We offer free personal laundry service once each week, and your body odor will likely be stronger than usual while fasting, so please be prepared with enough clean clothes to last a week. Remember too, that you will be losing weight, so you might want pants/shorts with elastic or drawstring waists. The more excess weight you’re carrying, the more weight you’ll lose.
Ideally, you’ll want to minimize the use of all personal care products while fasting. If you choose to bring personal products for use before or after your fast, please make sure they are natural and unscented as we request that no scented products be used on-site.
There are few stores nearby, so be aware that we may not be able to get what you want as promptly/easily as you might like; it’s much easier to bring what you need than to get it here.
Please Do bring:
1) Enough comfortable clothes to relax in while fasting and re-feeding including both clothes for warm weather, (shorts, t-shirts, bathing suit) and some warm clothes (sweats, sweaters, pants, pajamas, shoes and socks). Have enough to last at least a week.
2) Shoes that you can easily slip on and off including flip-flops, sandals, etc. You may want shoes to exercise or hike in for after the fast.
3) Things that you might enjoy while resting here, including:
a) laptop with headphones/earbuds and if your laptop doesn’t have a network jack, please bring the appropriate connector so that you can connect to a network cable. There is NO wifi, so you’ll need to plug in.
b) reading materials
c) a journal and pens
d) photos from home
4) Personal care items including toothbrush, razor, natural, unscented soap and shave cream
5) Other useful items include: A flashlight, a camera, a hat with a brim, a small umbrella, ear plugs, batteries for any devices you bring, and of course, your teddy bear.
Please Do Not Bring:
Candles, incense, food, beverages, perfume/cologne/aftershave, drugs, cigarettes, weapons, pornography, t-shirts or other clothes with profanity, racist, or sexist language on them. Please forgive us if this list seems largely unnecessary; we realize that most of our guests would never bring most of these items, and seek only to insure that this is the case.