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The Origin of Health

By Jen Santos, D.C.

Healthcare has historically been dominated by a pathogenic perspective, where the emphasis is on the etiology, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of disease. This philosophy is often thought to be considered “Western medicine.” However, an alternative approach, called salutogenesis, focuses instead on the promotion of health and well-being rather than on disease prevention, treatment, or cure. Salutogenesis, a term coined by Aaron Antonovsky, is derived from the Latin word “salus,” meaning health and the Greek word “genesis,” which means the origin or mode of formation. It revolves around the understanding that health is a continuum and encompasses ideas such as an improved sense of well-being rather than viewing health as merely the absence of disease. It emphasizes factors that support human health and well-being rather than factors that cause pathology. Salutogenesis seeks to answer and explore how health is generated, maintained, and improved. This perspective has significant relevance in various healthcare settings, including the field of chiropractic.

Central to salutogenesis are the Sense of Coherence (SOC) and General Resistance Resources (GRR). SOC consists of three components: comprehensibility, manageability, and meaning. Comprehensibility refers to the extent to which events are perceived as making logical sense, that there is order, consistency, and structure. Manageability refers to the extent to which a person feels they can cope with the problem. Meaning is the extent to which one feels life makes sense or has meaning. It is the driving force that propels an individual to face obstacles with resilience. Other factors that contribute to a salutogenic lifestyle include spirituality, happiness, humor, social support, and love.

Chiropractic is inherently salutogenic because of its focus on enhancing the body’s inherent capacity for self-healing and health promotion.

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