What is it, and why is it important to you?
The word is easier to understand when we break this word down into it’s parts
– “saluto” means “health”
– “genesis” means “creation”
Simply put salutogenesis is health creation.
It is an approach to your health that is proactive. When you are focused on salutogensis you will be looking at the factors that create health with yourself and your family.
This is very different to a reactive approach which waits for problems to arise, then treats these problems. This is the typical medical approach – wait for a set of signs and symptoms to arise, “diagnose” a condition, then “treat” a condition.
There are many examples of this. Using a common upper respiratory infection as a simple example in the typical model we wait a collection of symptoms to arise (e.g. runny nose, fever, cough), and based on the known signs we give the condition a name (e.g. upper respiratory tract infection), and we apply a treatment (eg. Antibiotics). The same process can be applied to any condition including common ones you present to the chiropractor for (for example back pain).
In a salutogenic approach the thinking is different.
We are not targeting any particular condition, we are simply looking to put numerous “health creating” factors together, so that the body can be healthy. When the right health creating factors are put together it is likely that the frequency of certain conditions (e.g. in this example – upper respiratory infections) will decrease. Using our Chiropractic example (back pain), and applying salutogenic principles, is it likely that back pain will occur a whole lot less. In Chiropractic our objective is not to “treat” anything.
These principles can be applied to many examples. The term salutogensis was first coined in 1979, in Antonovsky’s book “Health, Stress and Coping”, but these ideas are not new, and Chiropractic has been using a health creation paradigm from it’s onset in 1985. In 1920 BJ Palmer (Chiropractor) said –
“In the near future, Chiropractic will be valued for its preventive qualities as much as for relieving and adjusting the cause of ailments.”
(BJ Palmer, 1920, Vol 1, page19).
The core health creating factors can be loosely categorised into what I call the “5 basics of health”.
1. Clear and well functioning body systems.
2. Good nutrition
3. Adequate rest
4. Adequate exercise
5. Peace of mind.
So whilst sometimes you may need to enter into the pathogenic model of healthcare (treating conditions), it’s worthwhile spending most of your thoughts on the process of creating health.