Approaching Wellness through Salutogenesis

Physicians spend a lot of time detecting and attempting to “fix” patients’ health issues. Over time, I have retrained myself to focus on reframing health goals to include not only the absence of disease, but the importance of living optimally and vibrantly.

Salutogenesis is a medical approach that supports the process of health creation and healing.

The concept of salutogenesis (from the Latin “salus,” which means health and the Greek “genesis,” which means origin) was developed in the 1970s by Aaron Antonovsky (1923-1994), an American-Israeli medical sociologist. In short, salutogenesis is a medical approach that supports the process of health creation and healing. It is the opposite of pathogenesis, which focuses on how disease occurs, and instead concentrates on factors that support wellness.

Illness and Dis (Ease) ➡️ Health and (Ease) or Well Being

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

Primary Concepts of Salutogenesis from an Integrative Preventive Medicine lens:

  • Stress Management and Resilience. Effects of stress may be one of the biggest challenges to contemporary health. Research has demonstrated the many benefits of mind/body strategies used by Integrative Medicine.
  • Physical Exercise and Sleep. Fitness, along with proper sleep, maintains functioning and productivity throughout the lifespan.
  • Optimal Nutrition and Substance Use. Ideal weight and optimal physiologic function occur best in the context of proper nutrition and reduced exposure to toxic substances (individual ➡️ family ➡️ community and environment).
  • Social Cohesion and Service. Our social environments are important to health and healing, as is service to ourselves and others.
  • Inner and Outer Environment. The behavioral components of human flourishing are embedded in a healthy environment and cultivation of a purposeful life.
Lesley James, MD going for an evening walk.

These concepts play a role in my approach to each patient, individually. Over the years, as I have recognized the increased significance of prevention, well-being, and resilience, I repeat a quote that has become abundantly clear:

“Whatever we put our attention on will grow stronger in our life”.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi