adaptation: a long-term change in the structure or regulation of an organism in response to the stimulus of an external stress, which enables it to better tolerate future occurrences of that stress.

cold water therapy: showering, bathing, or swimming in cold water in order to induce thermogenesis or other stress response.

constraint: an external device or internal discipline used to ensure adherence to proper form in a training exercise, thereby directing the focus of an applied stress to maximize the strengthening of a weak part of the organism.

Constraint-induced (CI) movement therapy: A rehabilitation method based on extensive and increasing use of a weakened body part, while restricting the mobility of any stronger body part to prevent it from compensating for the function of the weaker body part.  Examples include the use of mitts, splints or slings to restrict a stronger hand, finger or arm, while exercising the weakened limb.

crutch: an external agents or behaviors used to directly prevent or compensate for the direct effects of an external stress stimulus. Crutches immediately relieve both the objective stress response and any perception of stress, but do nothing to strengthen the organism to handle future occurrences of the stress, and commonly increase future vulnerability to the stress. Examples include canes, eyeglasses, hearing aids, sunscreen, and allergy medications.

Cynics: A school of Greek philosophy that regarded the denial of pleasure as the route to happiness; an early form of asceticism.  The Cynics were rivals of the Stoics.

Cyrenaics: A school of Greek philosophy that regarded pleasure as the highest good; the earliest hedonists.  This was a rival school of the Stoics.

Deconditioning Diet: A method of weight loss based upon the use of classical behavioral techniques such as extinction, counter-conditioning and putting on cue, combined with intermittent fasting and variation in meal timing, in order to reduce the insulin response to food cues.

high intensity training (HIT) exercise: A form of exercise which emphasizes maximum exertion to the point of muscle exhaustion, usually in a small number of repetitions or for a short time, in order to build muscle and metabolic capacity.

homeostasis: self-regulation that maintains an organism’s internal environment within a stable range, in the face of perturbations induced by the external environment. The concept of homeostasis was first described by Claude Bernard in 1865. Multiple dynamic equilibria adjustments and regulation mechanisms make homeostasis possible.

hormesis: a beneficial effect, such as an increase in the stress tolerance or longevity of an organism, in response to stimulation by a low level of a stressor that would be toxic or otherwise detrimental when applied at higher levels. Hormesis operates by activation of various defense and repair mechanisms. Examples of hormetic stressors are chemical toxins, radiation, heat shock and calorie restriction.

Hormetism: a practical philosophy for increasing strength by the deliberate application of progressive, intermittent stress: the focus of this website and blog.

gradualism: the principle of increasing strength by progressively increasing the magnitude of an applied stress, while allow sufficient time for recovery or adaptations between applications of stress.  One of the five central principles of Hormetism

insulin: a peptide hormone that facilitates storage of glucose and fatty acids as glycogen or fat, potentiated by elevated levels of glucose or amino acids in the bloodstream.

intensity: the degree of stress applied to an organism

intermittent fasting (IF): the practice of refraining from eating for periods of about 12-24 hours, or sometimes up to about 48 hours, leading to hormonal rebalancing (including insulin reduction) that provides benefits of weight, improved health, and increased longevity.  IF has been shown in animals to result in increases in lifespan similar to that from simple calorie reduction, even without any actual net calorie reduction.

negative reinforcement: removing something undesired in response to a behavior in order to encourage more of that behavior

neuroplasticity: an understanding of the brain wherein brain functions are not rigidly localized to specific structures or regions of the brain and central nervous system, but by which neural structures can gradually be adaptively remodeled to assume new or reassigned functions,  in response to environmental stimulation and training

perception: The subjective reaction to an objective stress response. Examples include the soreness from muscle tearing after lifting weights, the pain of sunburn from exposure to UV light, or hunger cravings that result from low blood sugar in response to not eating

plus lens therapy and anti-corrective lenses. A treatment for weaning oneself off of the uses of corrective lenses (glasses or contact lenses) by using lenses that force the eye to focus right at the limit of its capability, resulting in permanent adaptive remodeling of the eye to accommodate a broader focal range.  Not to be confused with the Bates Method or other “eye exercises” to supposedly strengthen “eye muscles” or reduce muscular tension.

positive reinforcement: providing something desired in response to a behavior in order to encourage more of that behavior. The more immediate and desired the reinforcement, the more effective.

Premack principle: performing a less probable or less favored behavior before a more probable or more favored behavior in oder to reinforce the less probable, less favored behavior.  Sometimes called “Grandmother’s principle” (eat your vegetables before you get your dessert).  An effective way to get through a to do list faster, minimize procrastinating avoided activities, or reward yourself for overcoming bad habits.

putting on cue: a method of controlling or extinguishing a problematic behavior by first rewarding it only when performed in response to a deliberate stimulus, and then limiting or elimination the stimulus.

reinforcement: anything action in consequence of a behavior which results in more of that behavior.  See positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement.

response: a direct physical response (but not the perception or subjective reaction) to a stress stimulus. Examples include the immediate muscle tearing and weakness resulting from lifting heavy weights, or sunburn or tan from exposure to UV light. Hormetic adaptations are designed to weaken the relationship between stress stimulus and response.

stimulus: the external physical cause of response which is injurious to the organism and may also be perceived as stressful. Examples include: lifting weights, UV sunlight, allergens, unfocused images, and appetite cues such as flavor or aroma.

Stoicism: a school of Greek philosophy, later adapted by the Romans, which taught that true happiness comes from appreciating good things (such as friendship, wealth, and pleasure) only to the extent we can learn to do without these things, both by contemplating their disappearance and periodically going without them.  Stoicism also taught that we should be concerned only with that which is within our direct control, and realize that much of life is not.  In Greek philosophy, Stoicism represented a “middle way” between the Cynics and the Cyrenaics, but unlike either of those philosophies, it embraced living a life full of responsibilities and challenges, and a way of strengthening oneself to face those challenges.

strength: the capacity to resist or overcome a physical, psychogical, or social stress or limitation.  In organisms, strength is developed as an adaptation in response to a stressor. (From home page: Strength should be understood as the unaided, internal capacity of the organism or system to accomplish tasks or resist stresses in a given respect)

stress: a stimulus that induces an response which is objectively injurious, and may also be perceived as such

stress inoculation: a set of military hardening techniques based on exposing oneself to progressively greater physical and mental stresses in order to be able to better handle those stresses.  Stress inoculation is used to train Navy Seals and other special operations forces.

tolerizing: also known as allergen immunotherapy, a method of strengthening the immune response to allergens or other antigens by progressive exposure to increasing doses of the allergen, while avoiding a full blown allergic response.


  1. Nice list. I’ll definitely be using this as a resource in the future:)

    I’m working on one of my own at my website.


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