Introduction to savage Factors:
vaccination against modern disease;
path to your best mind & body

Houses and people differ.

In that simple idea, you will find the key to your best health, focus, sex, creativity, happiness, and healing.

If the weather around your house becomes hot or cold, nothing changes about the structure of your house. A house deteriorates with stress; it will not adapt to that stress and regenerate. The paint may peel with the heat. The wood may dry and crack, but the wood of a house will not regenerate. Non-living objects do not adapt to stress.

On the other hand, living organisms do adapt. I’m not speaking about evolution of species. I’m talking about adaptation of an individual living organism to something that happens to that organism—a living organism can adapt to stress by becoming healthier, stronger, better.

This idea can change your life and is the reason for this book, so to repeat—living organisms can adapt to stress by becoming healthier, stronger, better.

So if a living organism can adapt to stress by becoming better, why not study the stressors, and the amount of such stressors that cause a favorable adaptation, and then take doses of those stressors to prompt the body to become better?

What Space Travel Can Show You


About Why Civilization Will Make You Tired, Kill Your Sex Life, & Eventually Take Your Life

A living organism must replenish cells and repair injury to maintain homeostasis. Unfortunately, cell repair does not occur perfectly and dead cells are not fully replenished. The result of imperfect homeostasis is aging and eventually death.

More important to our current discussion, the living organism not only attempts to replenish to simply maintain homeostasis, but the living organism also changes in response to stress. When the stress to the organism is too great, the organism dies. But should the stress be of the ideal measure, the organism will adapt to stress in such a way to resist that same stress in the future, and this adaptation can improve the health and hardiness of the organism.

The process of the organism adapting to stress is called “hormesis.” The stressors are called “hormetic factors,” or “hormetins.”

The organisms in which hormesis has been researched and demonstrated include bacteria, insects, plants, monkeys, and of course people. All living organisms studied demonstrate hormesis.

People exposed to just enough stress (for example, a day without food) become healthier, but if they’re exposed to the same stress to an extreme degree (for example, weeks without food) then the person may die.

An astronaut in space, not exposed to the stress of gravity, develops weaker bones and muscles—he adapts to less stress by becoming weaker.

This adaptation to less stress causes the diseases of modern civilization.

What Doesn’t Kill You Can Make You Stronger; The Absence of What Makes You Stronger Can Kill You

We need stress to be healthy; but too much stress can hurt us. That same astronaut who becomes weaker in weightlessness (less stress) would be crushed if an extreme weight, say a car (too much stress), fell on those same bones.

So no stress makes bones weaker; best stress (say weight training or walking) makes bones stronger; and, too much stress (say falling from a building) breaks bones.

So people adapt to extreme stress and to no stress to become less healthy.

If a person does no exercise, then heart disease can occur. An ideal amount of exercise can lead to excellent health and increased aerobic capacity or VO2 max, psychological stability, and mental clarity. But too much exercise can lead to exhaustion, heat stroke, rhabdomyolysis, and even death.

So most hormetins exhibit a biphasic response where not enough causes disease, too much causes disease, but just enough leads to improved vitality and possibly to longer life.

Eventually all organisms die, but the careful consideration of known hormetins can lead to a smarter, stronger, more energetic, highly creative, focused, super sexually functioning human. Even if life for a particular individual is not extended, the person will live life better if hormetins are carefully considered and practiced.

If hormetins have such a profound effect on health, then careful consideration of hormetins and hormesis could hold the key to true anti-aging.

Hormesis is at work with your body whether you think carefully about the idea or not. So, this book will help you think carefully about the idea and how to implement.

What Are the Savage Factors?

The stressors (hormetins) of ancient civilizations include heat, cold, thirst, hypoxia (low oxygen), hypercapnia (high carbon dioxide), hunger, movement, lifting, walking, range of motion, silence, and sex transmutation.

Most of the diseases of the people of modern civilization occur because we do not experience enough of the hormetins that occurred naturally in the lives of primitive people.

For example, people of ancient civilizations needed to walk. They sometimes went hungry. They sometimes needed to walk because (and while) they were hungry and thirsty to find food and water. They sometimes had to exert themselves in very extreme ways—anaerobic muscle exertion (hypoxia to the muscle) and hypercapnia occurred.

The person of ancient civilizations didn’t need to schedule time to walk. Walking was required to get through a day. There was no need to schedule the low calorie day because some days food was just not available. Primitive people didn’t need to schedule a time for lifting weights because lifting was required to get through a day.

Some researchers have argued that hormetins of primitive people could be used to vaccinate us against the diseases of modern civilization: heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer.

Hormetins (hormetic factors) that commonly stressed people of ancient civilizations I call “savage factors,” not because the people of ancient civilizations always behaved “savagely,” but because the “savage” behavior in people of ancient civilizations would have exposed them to more hormetins.

So if the diseases of civilization could be prevented or attenuated by exposure to savage factors, if a body could be made stronger, more energetic, more resistant to infection, more focused, more sexual, more creative by exposure to savage factors, then we should consider what those factors might be, what doses might bring the most benefit with the least risk of injury, and how to integrate those factors into the day of a modern person with a house, a car, and an inside job (all of which could cause disease by protecting us from the savage factors of heat, cold, walking, hunger, thirst, lifting, stretching, quiet, etc).

Would You Treat Your Horse the Way You Treat Yourself?

What if you took a healthy horse and put her in a barn and never let her out? Once a day, you let her walk a few steps to a horse trailer and carry her to another barn where she can sit all day, then she can ride the same trailer back to another barn to sleep. You allow her to walk from the trailer to the barn, but you never let her walk more than a few steps.

Now, while she’s confined to the barn, over feed her and stress her out with lots of noise and chaos.

All would consider cruel such treatment of a horse. Yet, unless you make a planned effort, you could live your whole life in a similar fashion—sleep in a box called a house, drive a box called a car, work in a perfectly climate-controlled box called an office, fed before you’re hungry, and perhaps over fed.

You Say…
You Would “Die” for Your Loved One—
Will You “Live” for Your Loved One?

We often hear people say, “I would die for my child husband, wife, etc”. But, most of us never need to die to save the life of a loved one.

The question all of us do answer every day (whether or not we even consider the question) is this: “If you have the courage to ‘die’ for your loved one, do you have the courage to ‘live‘ for your loved one?”

“Since you would ‘die’ for your loved one, would you also “live” for a few minutes for your loved one with the pain of savage factors (walking, fasting, cold, heat, etc) to make yourself healthier so that you can care for that same loved one for whom you say you would die?”

You’ll find it much more difficult to care for spouse and child if you suffer with disease or if you die. If you would die for your child (or spouse or friend), will you also simply go walking so you can stay healthier longer for that same person?

If you would die for your child, would you also make time to subject yourself to a sauna for 19 minutes at +210° F? Would you subject yourself to -210°F for 3 minutes in a whole body cryotherapy chamber if you knew that practice would make you healthier and so better able to care for those around you?

If strategically implemented savage factors can cause the body to become more healthy, and if ignoring those same factors can lead to disease, then don’t we owe it to ourselves (and to those whom we love) to think deeply and strategically about those savage factors and to implement them in our lives?

That consideration is the purpose of this book…

the practical application of savage factors

to greatly improve

and possibly to prolong

your life

so that you can live better

for yourself

and for those whom you love

To make the book handy, portable, quickly readable, and more easily kept current, detailed references and in-depth examples, discussions, and further helps can be found at the corresponding website: www.savagefactors.com.

I hope you’ll visit the website and both read the research (which I will keep up to date) and contribute to the discussions on the blog that you will find there.

To help us all understand the process better, please post there, both your successes and your struggles with the implementation of these strategies.

The difficult truth is this: life is very fragile, even with the strong, and can pass quickly; with too much stress (a car accident or cancer or a fall) the very healthy body can cease to live.

In 100 years or so, all of our bodies become dirt. So, what’s the use?

Why even think about savage factors?

Savage factors, through practice, will bring more days to most and better days to most all.

I pray that this small book of strategies will help you bring more love and enlightened life to you (and through you) to your cherished loved ones.


Charles Runels, MD
2019 September