Every year Merriam Webster adds new words to their growing dictionary – words that have become part of everyday vocabulary and culture. Last year, the term “salutogenesis” was added.
It’s an interesting term because it intersects health & wellness and culture. If you’re part of the beauty and fitness sphere, then you know that new words are being added everyday and that these new words usually define a new practice. Salutogenesis is not one of those words. In fact, it has been around for quite some time but has just recently become part of the mainstream health community.
So, what exactly is it? In this blog, TABIIB takes a look at salutogenesis and its role in healthcare.
What Is Salutogenesis?
Salutogenesis a health concept put together by Aaron Antonovsky almost four decades ago. This model aims to understand the origin and factors that can promote good health. As a result, salutogenesis is a medical approach which focuses on the factors that promote well-being rather than those that cause disease.
This model is concerned with the relationship between health and stress, and coping mechanisms.
It’s closely related to other concepts in medicine – like preventive medicine and health promotion. Simply explained, salutogenesis:
- focuses on minimizing health risk factors ie disease prevention
- encourages maximizing healthful behaviors ie health promotion
- promotes the resources that empower people towards overall well-being.
Its Role In Healthcare
Antonovsky considered comprehensibility, manageability, & meaningfulness as the key answers to the origin of health. According to him, it was this sense of coherence that added meaning to people’s health journeys. People with a strong idea of health coherence are better able to utilize resources that can aid them in their wellbeing.
Scientific research backs this data; an established sense of coherence was also linked to:
-less cognitive impairment
-increased resilience – mentally & physically
The salutogenic perspective has helped reinvent the field of health promotion. Antonovsky’s ideas have provided critical theory and groundwork for several health interventions in the public forum. These include:
- Patient education and engagement to help improve their own understanding of health (comprehensibility)
- Empowerment through information on illnesses and diseases to bolster people’s skill at managing their own health (manageability)
- Community support and forums that encourage open communication regarding health questions (meaningfulness)
The Bottom Line
Salutogenesis is not likely to be a part of common language soon. However, it’s still an important concept in the field of healthcare development. It offers a proactive approach towards health and wellbeing – and on a larger scale, can lead to a healthier population.