Home / Survival Value. The most important calculation you can use to help gauge your total health & healing capacity

Survival Value. The most important calculation you can use to help gauge your total health & healing capacity

Let’s get started.  Today’s conversation deals with the term: Survival Value.  First coined in 1915 by philosopher Elbert Hubbard, What is Survival Value?  

Survival Value is one of the key tenets of Chiropractic Philosophy and it is based on universal laws.  Because it is based on universal laws, it is applicable to every woman, man & child, period.  

The late Dr. Barge sums it up best in his book A Life Without Fear.  “Survival Value is the unit element of evolution”.  It can be thought of as a unit of successful adaptation.  

This is so important since the underlying cause of virtually all disease ultimately comes down to an inability of the body to properly adapt to a change in the environment, some sort of threat or challenge.  For example, In most cases of sickness, the body does not adapt appropriately with a sufficient immune response to eliminate bacterial, fungal, or viral pathogens.   Most chronic diseases now appear to result from the body not properly adapting to either deficiencies, allergens, toxin exposures, excessive stress, infective agents or structural imbalances & chronic injury that result in excessive amounts of inflammation.  

Therefore, the more one is able to adapt properly, or in other words, the more units of Survival Value one has, the greater potential they have for optimal health and optimal healing!  

Survival Value can be positive, which is considered constructive in nature.  Survival Value can also be negative, which is considered destructive in value.  

Dr. BJ Palmer sums up this concept nicely in his book Evolution or Revolution, “Accumulative constructive survival value and accumulative destructive survival value meaning that what uses a person makes of his time – thinking, saying, and doing – are accumulative, day after day, year after year; and as they accumulate they are either CONSTRUCTIVE for welfare of man, or DESTRUCTIVE, injuring people with whom he commingled. Elbert Hubbard’s life had an ACCUMULATIVE CONSTRUCTIVE SURVIVAL VALUE. Hitler’s life was that of ACCUMULATIVE DESTRUCTIVE SURVIVAL VALUE”

How does this tie in with an individual’s health and healing?  Here’s how: Every single person is born with two minds, really.  Most of us are well aware of the modern terminology, that being our conscious mind and our subconscious mind.  Those terms, although modern, are really not the best terms to use.  Better terms are as follows.  Instead of having two minds, we really have two sources of intelligence.  The conscious mind is better described as our educated intelligence.  Our educated intelligence develops when we learn to walk, learn to talk and when we go off to school we begin to learn educated facts and our educated intelligence expands. 

Now the subconscious mind, sub meaning below, is an inappropriate term, as that mind is better described as our innate intelligence.  Our innate intelligence is actually far above and beyond our educated intelligence.  It is the innate intelligence that knew how to grow an entire human being from a single cell!  It is the innate intelligence that monitors, controls and regulates every one of our 70 trillion cells, tissues, glands & organs and is working 24 hrs per day for 365 days per year, never taking even a second off, ever!  Think about every cut, bruise, scrape or even broken bone you have ever had.  It was your innate intelligence that governed the repair and regeneration of tissue for each and every one of those injuries.  Even if you needed a skilled surgeon to surgically fixate the broken pieces of bone, it was your innate that directed your osteoblast cells to grow new bone exactly where it was needed. 

The innate intelligence that knows how to run just one single cell, which by the way is capable of over 100,000 functions per second is so far above and beyond anything we could ever learn to do with our educated intelligence, more advanced than any computer or AI that has ever been developed by educated intelligence. Our innate intellegence is responsible for ALL Healing.  As Dr. Andrew Weil stated in his landmark book, Spontaneous Healing, “You can’t afford to get sick, and you can’t depend on the present health care system to keep you well. 

It’s up to you to protect and maintain your body’s innate capacity for health and healing by making the right choices in how you live”.  This is a tough pill to swallow for many doctors but it is true.  True healing comes from within.  That is why the age old quote from Hippocrates remains forever true, “Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work.  The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well”   

To learn more about innate, I will quote Dr. Stephenson from his landmark book, the Chiropractic Textbook, “Innate Intelligence is perfect, has no faults, does not know error, is part of Universal Intelligence – realizing these facts we also are aware of what innate has to work with, the finite human body of man. 

Herein lies the key to the response of the body to Innate’s demands.  When Innate expression is freed through the adjustment of vertebral subluxations, the body must respond to the restored nervous integrity.  But the body can be limited in response in respect to the amount of vitality it has left to produce a return to normalcy, to normal tone.  The age of the patient, the length of time he has had the condition, the extent of nerve damage, the extent of tissue damage, the vitality of the individual, etc.; all are contributing factors that make the degree of response to adjustments differ, in differing circumstances and people. 

These limitations of body response are referred to chiropractically as “limitations of matter”…to express it in another way, limitations of matter determine the degree of success chiropractic adjustments will have with each individualistic human body.  To prognosticate, with some degree of accuracy, the expected individualistic response, chiropractic uses the terms constructive and destructive survival values”.  

The principle of limitations of matter are not limited to the success of chiropractic care but all health care for any individual.  This concept explains why two different people can have the exact same problem yet one recovers their health 100% and the other is left with permanent impairment.  This is why two people can be infected with the exact same virus and one survives and the other does not. Those with the greatest limitations of matter or those with bodies that have the greatest degree of irreparable damage are those that have the lowest healing capabilities .  

Despite a person’s limitations of matter, it really is so incredible to think of just how great innate’s ablity to heal really is.  We all know people who have smoked for decades, yet have not yet had any significant health challenges.  Think of the work those folk’s innate intelligence has done to detoxify them of those countless dangerous cancer causing chemicals, the work their innate intelligence is still doing to continually repair the damage that occurs with each and every cigarette as the superheated air scours their epithelial tissues. 

However, we all know far too many people who eventually have enough smoking related damage that even innate intelligence cannot repair and these are the folks that end up with lung cancer or other related diseases linked to smoking.  That is an example of how limitations of matter, in this case, lung tissue damaged beyond repair ultimately leads to poor health.

So, to summarize, a person’s Survival Value gives significant insight to potential limitations of matter that one has which could limit their innate intelligence’s capacity to heal.  

Dr. Barge summarizes Survival Value in this way, it is “a formula to determine just how much Innate Intelligence has to work with”. 

To calculate Survival Value: Determine the sum of each individual constructive survival value such as, being active, not smoking, not having any significant spinal pathology, is managing stress, does not have any significant abnormal spinal curves.  Then, subtract from this number, the sum of each individual destructive survival values such as poor hygiene, use of alcohol, poor vitality, sub par sleep, eating poorly.  

You may ask, why are the spinal curves and presence or absence of spinal pathology included in the survival value equation?  Here is why: Innate Intelligence is transmitted throughout the body by the nervous system.  The nervous system is composed of the brain, spinal cord and nerves.  Vertebral Subluxations are dysfunctional vertebral joints which can directly interfere with brain-body, body-brain communication which is why the spine is a key consideration when calculating Survival Value. Chiropractic adjustments correct vertebral subluxations thereby improving innate intelligence’s communication throughout the body.

If the resultant number is positive, she or he is in the process of accumulating constructive survival value and therefore has a greater likelihood of achieving improved health and likely has an increased healing capacity.  The greater the positive value, the greater the health potential and healing potential an individual has.  

However, If the resultant number is negative, she or he is in the process of accumulating destructive survival value and therefore has a greater likelihood of worsening health and likely has a decreased capacity for healing.   

This equation is simple to calculate, however, this does not mean it is easy.  It requires those of us who are using this formula to get real and acknowledge not just our good habits but our bad ones as well. 

Think about this, how many healthcare providers have you recently seen who have asked you about: your diet, how many hours are you sleeping, what is your stress like, how much you are exercising?  If no one has, well it is not too late, we can all do a self audit now by reviewing all our habits that relate to health as noted above and put them into the Survival Value equation. 

If you are left with a negative value, begin to make some positive changes today that will vastly improve your likelihood of improved overall health and improved healing capacity!

If you are left with a positive value, that is great, see if there are other things you can modify to increase that positive number which will further increase your likelihood of having improved overall health and healing capacity!  

I hope you now know what Survival Value is, why it is so important, how to calculate your Survival Value and why having a positive survival value indicates a likelihood of improved overall health and an increased healing capacity!

You can find relevant links to things we discussed today on our show notes page at www.backtohealthchiropracticpodcast.com

If you can, please rate & review us on Apple Podcasts, that can help us tremendously by staying relevant and well placed in search results.  

Thank you very much for listening & have a great day!


Dr. Barge “A Life Without Fear”

Dr. BJ Palmer “Evolution or Revolution”

Dr. Andrew Weil, Spontaneous Healing