Herbalist Chen Jianmin Beat Fasting Record (49 Days)
Herbalist Chen Jianmin, a 50-year-old herbalist who attempt to beat the record for fasting set last year by US magician David Blaine is off to a good start.
Herbalist Chen Jianmin plans to fast for 49 days – five days more than Blaine and he is near the end of his first week without food.
Blaine set his record while suspended above London’s River Thames in a glass box. Chen, starting his fast around 3:00 pm on March 20, locks himself inside a small glass cabin built halfway up Bifeng Valley, a mountain resort in Ya’an City of Southwest China’s Sichuan Province.
Seating inside a 15-square-meter glass room, his entire fast closely monitored by 50 witnesses, including some from Ya’an City Notary Office and a special medical team sent by the City People’s Hospital and Huaxi Medical University.
During his planned 49-day fast, Chen will not leave the room or have food – he can only drink water.
Chen, from Luzhou City in Sichuan, said his fast would “attest to the regimen of traditional Chinese medical science”.
And because going into foodless seclusion, he undergoes a physical check-up while supervisors search every corner of the glass cabin to ensure that no hidden food there.
Chen is keeping a detailed record of his daily life, work, the volume of water consumed, excretions, and feelings of hunger, so as to provide first-hand data for future medical research. To better monitor his condition Chen asks for medical equipment place in his glass box.
In the first week, Chen got up as usual at 6:00 am and at noon took a one-hour nap. Without visits from the clients of his herbalist business, Chen said he would rather look on the fast as a vacation. On the first day, he practiced Chinese Kungfu for the audience outside his glass cabin.
Chen said he believed in the “magic of fasting” after studying ancient Chinese medical scriptures, which said that people could achieve longevity and maintain health through Jiang Zuo (sitting quietly) and pigu (not eating grapes).
Chen claims that he once went 81 days without food while still working regularly. Many of his colleagues knew of this feat and said the current planned 49-day fast would be a minor matter for Chen.
Before entering the glass cabin, Chen asks that instead of having to carried out by medical workers and rushed to the hospital – as the case with Blaine when his fast ended – he will walk out of the cabin
Chen’s “stunt” has drawn hordes of people, both local and from far away, to Bifengxia Valley. Initially, some have doubts that the water he is drinking is fortifying with nutrients as the pipes carrying the water are not transparent.
To ensure that the water is just plain water, from the second day of his fast, the notary office, the media, and supervisors personally check it.
Chen’s attempt on the fasting record has divided medical experts. Many hold that people can only survive one or two weeks without taking food and that 49 days is a great threat to their health and will prove to be impossible. Others have said that as different people have different physical abilities, the planned fast may be successful.
Now the Challengers of the Fasting Record
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Oct. 16, 2006 (AP) A Russian man on Monday claimed to have set a new world record _ for fasting. A bearded and hollow-cheeked Agasi Vartanyan finished what he said was his 50th day without food, climbing out of a plastic cube on the banks of the Neva River outside of St. Petersburg and promptly berating reporters.
“I feel offended because my efforts did not attract much attention,” the 46-year-old said. “Only local media wrote about it.”
He then hopped into a waiting car and drove away by himself.
Doctors who examined Vartanyan said he lost 51 pounds during the ordeal, dropping to 158 pounds.
A spokeswoman, Lyubov Kobzar, told reporters that Vartanyan drank about 0.8 gallons of water a day. To pass the time, he watched TV, listened to the radio, and talked on his cell phone. As the weather in the northern Russian city turned colder, he got an electric heater.
Beginning his attempt on Aug. 27, Vartanyan says he inspired by a similar effort by stuntman and illusionist David Blaine, who fasted for 44 days in 2003 while suspended acrylic box over the Thames River in London.
Vartanyan said he planned on submitting documentation of his efforts to the Guinness Book of World Records.