Trying a New Perspective on Health

Most people believe that to be healthy, there must be an absence of disease or “sick” symptoms such as fever, runny nose, cough, etc. However, if we look at health through chiropractic’s philosophy, we are looking for an absence of interference.

The human body is very intelligent and knows how to detect foreign substances and when to react and heal. When the body displays symptoms of what we think of as “sick” it means that it is healthy, because it is reacting and following the normal biologic functions of healing.

Chiropractic Philosophy says that health is a state of optimal physical, emotional, and social well-being. 

Our bodies have innate intelligence and strive to maintain a state of health through adaptation mechanisms. If our bodies are not able to adapt, then we cannot react to foreign bodies, which causes dis-ease. The World Health organization parallels this idea of health stating that health is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

There is a concept that has been growing in healthcare for years called “salutogenesis,” a term coined by Aaron Antonovsky, a professor of medical sociology. He describes it as an approach to focusing on factors that support human health and well-being, rather than on factors that cause disease.

A salutogenic approach provides a particular perspective to the way health is viewed, which is centered on the discovery and use of personal resources, either inside a person or in the environment, that maintain a healthy status. This is opposed to the traditional view of healthcare, which focuses on the search for the causes of disease or pathogenesis. In particular, theories about salutogenesis are concerned with the relationship between health, stress, and coping.

The salutogenic model has a main concept called "sense of coherence"; which is a theoretical formulation that provides a central explanation for the role of stress in human functioning.

The sense of coherence has three components:

Comprehensibility: a belief that things happen in an orderly and predictable fashion – that you can understand events in your life and reasonably predict what will happen in the future.

Manageability: a belief that you have the skills, support, and/or the resources necessary to take care of things, and that things are manageable and within your control.

Meaningfulness: a belief that things in life are interesting and a source of satisfaction – that things are worthwhile have purpose.

According to Antonovsky, the third element is the most important. If a person believes there is no reason to persist and confront challenges, then they will have no motivation to comprehend and manage events. The essential argument is that salutogenesis depends on experiencing a strong sense of coherence, and research has demonstrated that a sense of coherence predicts positive health outcomes.

This new way of looking at health from the inside out can open the door to trying new things that are health promoting and focused on our well-being.

When we change our perspective of what it means to be healthy, we can begin to use our resources to do things like eat healthy, exercise and be mindful, which can not only make us happier, but can help us live congruently with our goal to have long, disease free lives. 

So the next time that you have the seasonal cold or cut yourself, thank your innate intelligence for keeping you healthy!

In gratitude,

Dr. Cecelia and the VWS Team
(360) 828-1429


Billings, Jenny R., and Ferhana Hashem. "Salutogenesis and the promotion of positive mental health in older people." (2010).

Huber Machteld, Knottnerus J André, GreenLawrence, Horst Henriëtte van der, JadadAlejandro R, Kromhout Daan et al. How should we define health? BMJ 2011; 343 :d4163

Lindström B. Eriksson M. The Hitchhiker´s Guide to Salutogenesis, Folkhälsan Health Promotion Research Report 2010:2