5 Signs of Life and the Importance of Adaptability

signs of life

The 5 signs of life...


What is the difference between an organism that is living and one which is dead? There comes a transitional moment where an organism stops being alive and becomes dead, the body looks the same, however something has changed. One moment we classify something as living, and the next it is not, and never will be again. So how do we make that distinction? In order to establish this we need criteria for life, in Chiropractic we call these criteria the Five Signs of Life.

There are five signs of life..

recognised in living organisms which must be present in order to classify them as living:
Assimilation is the selective ability of an organism to take certain food materials into its body that are needed for growth and maintenance.
Excretion is the body’s ability to rid itself of selected materials.
Adaptability is the intellectual ability that an organism possesses of responding to all forces that come to it.
Growth is the ability to expand to maturity according to an intelligent plan.
Reproduction is the ability of the organism to replicate new cells within intelligent control.


In Chiropractic we talk a lot about adaptability, this may be a new concept to many people but it is important to understand. When relating adaptability to human health and existence we define it as “dynamic capacity to effect and unfold multiple evolutionary trajectories”. In simple terms our bodies are constantly required to adapt to our environment in order to overcome stressors, these stressors come from a host of different sources and can be physical, chemical, or mental in nature.

If we fail to adapt to a stressor the result is a net loss in health, therefore having potential to shorten our life’s trajectory. If this happens repeatedly over the course of a lifetime these net losses accumulate and can become symptomatic. This is when it becomes noticed and diagnosed as a disease. However, is the disease an entity in itself, or is it a result of a loss of health? This will be addressed in a future blog post.

In order to understand the adaptability of a person we need a way to assess and measure it. There are two primary ways in which we measure it in our practice. First of all we use infrared paraspinal thermography. This gives us a heat reading from either side of the spine which gives us information over time about how well your body and nervous system is adapting to the external and internal environments. The other measure we are introducing is called HRV or Heart Rate Variability testing. This allows us to measure the adaptability of heart rate and there is an increasing amount of research to show the reliability of this measure for assessing pathological states of physiology. Look out for other blog posts about how we use these and why they are so important for looking after people in the clinic.



Our Birmingham office is located in Kings Norton, take a look


Leave a Comment