Salutogenesis: Applying the CAUSE of Health

Whereas “pathogenesis” (study of the cause of disease)has been the hallmark of disease care thus far, what seems to be lacking is a true health CARE system that seeks to identify the cause of health, otherwise known as “salutogenesis”.  Pathogenesis has been introduced by Becker, et al, as “retrospective”, and  Salutogenesis as “prospective” encouraging its expansion into the science of  positive health.(1) 

Salutogenesis is a concept derived by Aaron Antonovsky in 1979 in his book, Health, Stress, and Coping.  When using a salutogenic model,  the approach of identifying contributions that support human health is the key focus as well as factors that impede health, but the main energy is put on returning to a state of cohesion and alignment with oneself and life ,studying and applying what causes health. (2)    Pathogenesis is fear based based on disease as an inevitability.  Salutogenesis strives to create an environment conducive to health.  Our COPP Theory and subsequent program, Retrain the Allergy Brain, is based on a salutogenesis model. 

Primary to his theory also is the concept of Sense of Coherence.  This theory posits that life experiences help shape one’s positioning in the world;  that each experience, whether good or bad, has meaning and function.   Multiple other theories have discussed the memorization or recording on the part of the cells of all experiences that then engender the  programming from which to follow.  We talk about concept genesis and concept therapy in upcoming sections of this blog and in the Retrain the Allergy Brain program.  Sense of Coherence could be said to be our “6th sense” intuitive guidance that originated initially for the survival of our species and evolutionarily adapted to health preservation.   Aaron Antonovsky’s  salutogenic model identifies this Sense of Coherence as key in health preservation and identifies three sub-areas that must be acknowledged in any successful undertaking of dysfunctional resolution:

  1.  Comprehensibility - We need to be able to understand the problem
  2. Manageability - We need to know the problem can be managed with the right resources
  3. Meaningfulness- that we need to be able to learn and grow, attach some kind of meaningfulness to the stress or illness

It’s all about coping and manageability, which in a chronic illness can be fleeting and decline the longer the disease persists.  When one understands what’s happening, and has the right resources and sees that there is a purpose and a reason for the suffering, there can be a compassion for the body, the fight and force of will to make it happen as we believe it should can end, and we can see meaning and accept our own growth.  A sense of natural cohesion to one’s global positioning manifests.  “But the key issue is, not what resources are existing but whether the person is able to use and reuse them appropriately for the envisioned purpose. When a person experiences the obtainability of (resources), a solid SOC cultivates in them.(3)  These resources may be:


  • Physical - money, food, access to quality food sources, intact physical systems, healthy behaviors, supplements, movements, techniques and therapies, etc.
  • Cognitive - knowledge and ability, education, experience, a logical thought process over one’s own disease, knowing who, how and where to get education from, ability to apply that education/knowledge
  • Emotional - Sense of self esteem and strong sense of self worth, or an understanding of the unresolved emotions that engender harm, the ability to identify limiting emotions and concepts and the skills to change them. 
  • Relationships - that are supportive
  • Socioeconomic - including culture and religion that support concepts of health, and the wisdom to adhere or refrain from those that don’t.
  • The Retrain the Allergy Brain program, we address all of  these five categories for the success of each individual.

    Going beyond that, we look at the cause of stressors/trauma/cellular memory to get an idea of the programmed cell and then work to create a new program combining cognitive exercises with cellular memory through vibration and increased ability to utilize nutrients.  Chronic inflammatory and autoimmune is a repeated injury, a repeated stress, thus it is our theory that a continuous re-injury is a faulty programming of cellular activity.  They will keep doing what they do until told to do something differently. 



    How does Salutogenesis and Sense of Coherence apply to our discussion of autoimmune resolution?

    We want it to be clearly understood that our undertaking follows the salutogenic model, that we apply all that “causes health”, rather than chasing the numerous avenues in an attempt to identify the one cause, and then “cure” it.  In this model we are honoring and respecting the body’s sense of provision and in turn providing all that will enable health, and removing all that impedes health.  It is a program with its foundation in effective coping and the right resources for its delivery. 

    As far as the application and applicability of Antonovsky’s State of Coherence concept, you will soon see as you read further into our new conversation, that a key principle is the perceived state of threat and the trauma adaptive cell response.  We will be getting into that in future chapters, but for now and in relationship to Sense of Coherence and its role in health preservation, we know that SOC is a way of perceiving life to manage successfully through the infinite number of stressors faced in one’s lifetime, that we  have the sense that we can manage and cope no matter what is happening in our lives.  Often times it is the loss of hope and continuous fight that prolongs the condition.   Research studies have shown SOC to consistently correlate to good health, and a greater sense of wellbeing.(3)

      SOC has also been found to be associated with a decrease in anxiety, depression and rheumatic disorder(an autoimmune condition). (3) Finally, studies show a positive association between health and SOC as well as an inverse association between SOC and symptoms, disease, disabilities, dysfunction and distress, and self-rated health.(3)

    These studies back up one of the main tenets of the COPP theory:  that autoimmune is an individual attack, a disease of separation and rejection based on trauma either experienced, perceived, or physiologically through maladaptive systems that induce physical stress, and the resulting cellular trauma adaptive stress response. 


    1  Porges, S. W. (2017). The pocket guide to the Polyvagal theory: The transformative power of feeling safe (Norton series on interpersonal neurobiology). W. W. Norton & Company, p.174.

    2  Mittelmark MB, Bauer GF. The Meanings of Salutogenesis. 2016 Sep 3. In: Mittelmark MB, Sagy S, Eriksson M, et al., editors. The Handbook of Salutogenesis [Internet]. Cham (CH): Springer; 2017. Chapter 2. Available from: doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-04600-6_2

    3  Bhattacharya S, Pradhan KB, Bashar MA, et al. Salutogenesis: A bona fide guide towards health preservation. J Family Med Prim Care. 2020;9(1):16-19. Published 2020 Jan 28. doi:10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_260_19


    Listen to our Podcast on this topic here.


    Amanda Plevell, PhD, CNHP is a Natural Health Practitioner with a key interest in Psychoneuroimmunology and autoimmune specific immunology. Find her credentials here, and search the AAANMC for additional information.

    Amanda Plevell, PhD and companies are not medical providers or physicians of any kind. We do not heal, treat, cure, attempt to heal, treat, cure, or diagnose any condition. Any and all sources that you choose to employ in your life should be first discussed with your trusted healthcare partner. The information contained in this self help guide are opinions and should not be substituted for medical advice, but are merely a plan based on research and experiences. Likewise, all statements and information in this guidebook, our books, websites, and consultations are for educational purposes and are considered opinion based on concept and belief and should be evaluated by the individual reader for the application to their life. This information and guidance is what we have found to be useful in an easy format to understand. We intend to serve life by submitting this information for your perusal with the highest intention for your and our world’s good. All writings are protected under copyright and all rights are reserved. No distributing or copying for disbursement for any reason without express permission from the author.

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