Salute! A Toast to Health!
Imagine that your body is a sacred home. There are many ways you need to care for your body as it has many different requirements. Requirements are related to activity and physical stimulation, proper influx of nutrients, limited or avoiding toxins in foods and in environment, the state of your relationships with yourself, your loved ones, your community, the types of thought patterns that course through your mind daily, etc. Consider each of these as raw materials and nutrients to help you build your body and keep it at its best. Much like a house that always needs work in repairs, additions, re-painting, your body is never the same as it was a moment ago and is constantly changing based on its environment.
Now what if your “temple” has a fire, a crisis? Naturally, you would call the fire department. They will come with their tools of water hoses and axes, they will bust open the doors and windows, spray down everything within the home and do everything necessary to remove that fire and its negative effects. They will save your life. And for this, we should be grateful. They did their amazing job.
Then what? The fire is extinguished, and your house just underwent a lot of trauma in order to do so. Would it make sense to call the fire department back to the house with their same tools to repeat the process? Obviously not. This will lead to more destruction of materials, soaked floors and walls, mold buildup, etc. The next step needs to be something different altogether. The next step needs to focus on repairs and enhancements using tools that are very different than water hoses and axes. Is this to say the fire department is wrong? No way! They served an important purpose in a life-or-death crisis. Now our focus is no longer on a crisis, but on rebuilding.
How does this translate to your health? How you care for the health of you and your family ultimately determines quality of life and enjoyment. Yet, when it comes to forms of healthcare, there are two very different forms that need to be understood.
Let’s call the first one – pathogenic care. “Pathogenic” means the birth of disease. So, this type of care focuses on sick care, on disease, and how to decrease a disease or a negative event of some kind. Typically this the primary focus of the conventional medical system in that there is some negative situation with the body, and treatment revolves around taking away that negative event to avoid pre-mature death. Any changes that occur to the patient is perceived solely due to the work done by the doctor’s skill set. Thus, the doctor is seen as the leader and as the hero. Once the negative event – condition, disease, sickness – has been removed or erased, the patient is dismissed from short-term care. The important point here is that health may not have necessarily increased, but that the focus, the negative event, has decreased. The goal was achieved. Pathogenic care serves as a very important purpose in terms of a crisis or emergency event, and in our society, we do this very well. This is the “fire department” for your body.
On the other hand, there is salutogenic care. The word “salutogenic” comes from the Latin “salus” (meaning “health”) and the Greek “genesis (meaning “origin”). This form of healthcare focuses on the factors that increase and stimulate health, vitalism and well-being within the individual. This is where chiropractors thrive. There are different goals compared to pathogenic care. In chiropractic, salutogenic care starts with a spinal evaluation because the focus is to improve how the body copes with stress, and the ability to adapt through enhancing brain-body connection. There may be some kind of intense care needed initially to gain momentum with the person’s healing and to change objective measurements. During care, the chiropractor never “takes away” from the person, but rather there is facilitation of enhanced function. The beauty in this paradigm is that any changes that occur to the person under care is perceived not by heroic work of the doctor, but by the innate intelligence and wisdom of the mind-body. Thus, the patient receiving care is the hero and is empowered. Health and adaptability increases. Rather than short-term or episodic care, care is ongoing and encouraged for a lifetime due to the continued benefits of health and vitalism of the body. The body continues to adapt and make positive changes over time and throughout life.
Largely, our society is based on the pathogenic model. We, as a society, have been educated very well about the pathogenic model and early detection checkups for onset of diseases or a negative event. Only once a negative event is detected is intervention rendered. This is more of a “wait-and-see” method. Because too many people are involved only in pathogenic care, our health as a society has continued to decline. Whereas the salutogenic model encourages regular care of some kind to consistently support the person, more and more researchers are focusing on this form of healthcare. It has shown to have quality of life benefits for families, increased productivity in the workplace and a better answer to economics relating to our healthcare system.
What has been the focus for you and your family? Throughout your life have you mostly been involved in the pathogenic care without focusing on the factors for increasing health? What about your co-workers or friends who seem to be stuck in a negative pattern and something with their health needs to change? What could be possible for them if they visited a chiropractor to have their power “turned on?” Think of your focus in your health as your investment to your quality of life. The sooner changes are made, the more you will be able to experience a greater quality of life.