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The theory that animal functions are dependent upon a special form of energy or force, the vital force, distinct from the physical forces.
Synonym(s): vis vitae, vis vitalis
[L. vitalis, pertaining to life]


The theory or doctrine that life processes arise from or contain a nonmaterial vital principle and cannot be explained entirely as physical and chemical phenomena.

vi′tal·ist adj. & n.
vi′tal·is′tic adj.


A philosophical stance, which is unprovable by currently available techniques, that animal functions hinge on a vital force distinct from physically measurable forces. Vitalism is the central theme of most forms of alternative healthcare, which holds that all humans have a soul or spirit that continues to exist after death as a form of energy or vital force.


Alternative medicine Referring to a system of health care which is based on the belief that the nervous system is the most important determinant of a person's state of health; according to chiropractic
theory, most diseases are the result of 'nerve interference,' caused by spinal subluxations, which are said to respond to spinal manipulation; abnormal nerve function may result in musculoskeletal derangements and aggravate pathologic processes in other body regions or organs. See Chiropractor, Medically-oriented chiropractic, Mixed chiropractic, Network chiropractic, Straight chiropractic, Subluxation-based chiropractic. Cf Massage therapy, Osteopathic medicine.
Principles of chiropractic
Vitalism The body has an intrinsic ability to heal itself; the chiropractor's role is to facilitate the body's ability to restore the vital or life force–termed innate intelligence, to its optimum level, and therefore be allowed to heal itself
Holism All organs and systems function as one interconnected unit; anything that affects the nervous system has widespread effects elsewhere in the body
Correction of subluxation Subluxation is defined as a malalignment of the vertebrae that causes pressure on the spinal cord, nerve roots, and nerves; chiropractics have labelled this subluxation-induced pressure on nerves 'nerve reflex'–which has a different connotation for neurologists


The now largely abandoned philosophical idea that some kind of postulated ‘life force’ is necessary before any biological entity can be said to be living. The growth of molecular cell biology in recent years has progressively reduced the need for such a notion as it progressively explains the phenomena of life in physicochemical terms.


a theory which postulates that biological phenomena cannot be expressed solely in physical and chemical terms.

vitalism (vīˑ·tl·i·zm),

n doctrine that a nonphysical energy permeates all living organisms and that gives them the property of life. See also prana and qi.

Patient discussion about vitalism

Q. Is nutrition vital for healthy hair growth? I am engaged to a girl 3 months back and our marriage is on coming month. I was above heavens when my girl told me that I am handsome. Now I am afraid whether she will hate me soon bcoz, for the past few days I have had drastic hair fall. I feel to be taking less nutrition diet. Is nutrition vital for healthy hair growth? I have dreamt my life with that beautiful angel and never want to lose on that. She can definitely add face value to my happy life. Please guide me to marry my beautiful girl.


Q. I was shocked to note that genes play a vital role in building muscles Is this possible? I am , 20 years old. I am always dreaming to build muscle like my favorite hero who maintains 8 abs. Anybody can dream but to live that dream is a difficult task. Out of curiosity, I had discussed my desire to build muscles with my friends. But I was shocked to note that genes play a vital role in building muscles. My family doesn’t have a history of muscles and this fact has put me in to a difficult situation. Is this possible…If so, how can I live my dream? If the family doesn’t have a history of muscle growth, then what happens to the generation which follows them? I need a positive feedback to my query……

A. there's a genetic potential for fitness, like there is a genetic connection and potential for inelegance. but no matter how smart are your parents- if you won't study you won't live that potential, and some one who doesn't have that genetic ability and will study- will be better. the same thing with physical fitness.

More discussions about vitalism
References in periodicals archive ?
Given the dual interpretation of spirit as being either an agent (mental kind) or a vital energy (vital kind), characters initially differed in either a level of ability (i.
TEHRAN: The man President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has appointed oil minister is the "worst choice" who will damage Iran's vital energy sector, the head of Parliament's energy committee said Friday.
While the government is adopting a number of fiscal incentives to attract investments, including in the vital energy sector, there are structural reforms required in the energy industry to utilise these incentives, he said.
As well as the environmental implications of this, the sheep also wastes vital energy, losing an estimated 12% of its food energy to methane production that results in a lower milk and meat yield.
His campaign warned that the economy could suffer from handing the vital energy sector to a government without Manning's experience.
Attending the official ribbon-cutting, Art Meyer, Past Chair of global industry association, Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI) and a Senior Vice President with Enbridge said: EoACA[pounds sterling]The expansion of our pipeline networks across North America drives the need for efficient advanced technologies and services to support the safe operation of vital energy infrastructure.
vital energy sources to maintain our economic growth and our security.
The Foreign Minister also hoped that non-discriminatory access to vital energy resources will also be available to Pakistan.
Arab natural gas pipeline "represents a fully integrated Arab market for gas, " including its support to vital energy and strategic projects and contribution to mutual interests among Arab countries and people which would boost overall Arab economies, the minister, currently on a visit to Beirut, said in a statement, copy of which was made available here today.
As the productivity of old wells declines, it's important that CountryMark do its part to invest the necessary capital for newer, high tech recovery methods to maintain, or even increase, the production of vital energy right here in our own backyard," Smith says.
Here Kobayashi (acupuncture, Kanto Acupuncture College), a leading practitioner and academic, draws from his decades of study of classical writings on the vital energy system to develop a unique method of root treatment, condensing those fragments of classical information into their intrinsic core.
While the power these dams will generate constitute a vital energy source for Chileans, there are more sustainable and ecologically sound options--such as wind, tidal, and geothermal energy--that are plentiful in the country.