What would a health system look like in which health was its primary goal? The prime focus would be to activate self-healing mechanisms of the body, and not just suppress symptoms with prescription medication. The word that best describes this novel way of looking at healthcare is “salutogenesis” (from the Italian word for health, ‘salute,’ and ‘genesis’ meaning the creation of).
In this model, there is an emphasis on the importance of developing relationships between the patient and the doctor, as well as exploring the expectations and beliefs of the patient. Addressing and understanding the wholeness of a human being is much more complicated than treating a disease.
Salutogenesis is a participatory venture where the patient takes over as the captain of their own healing team. Empowerment strategies motivate people to take the necessary steps needed to jump-start their own self-healing. This system accentuates the positives; harnessing what is already working well in the body. With empathy, education and connection, the body’s internal resources are free to correct imbalances and heal.
“By far the most frequent drug used in general practice was the doctor himself. It was not the bottle of medicine or the box of pills that mattered but the way the doctor gave them to his patient.”
–Michael Balint, Introduction to the Doctor, His Patient and the Illness.