The Science and the Art that is Shaping Our Practice :

Our Schooling,
and Re-schooling

By: Dr. Paulita V. Baclig


The journey that we have taken , now more than thirty years is a process of schooling, unschooling, and re-schooling which you too may have to undertake. Thus, allow us to share this with you. For us, it meant unlocking the mind to explore what is not yet mainstream , expanding the heart that we may be true to our dreams, and building the muscles of the will to create our innovation.

Our First Schooling:  Mastering Pathogenesis

We, the health professionals in our clinic – doctors, nurses, physical therapists, psychologists, are schooled to master pathogenesis, or illness medicine.  We are schooled to cure illness and to be masters at saving lives. And we are grateful that this has been our first schooling- learning how to provide the best care to the most acutely ill and the most seriously ill.

I can name my  classmates and colleagues who have a natural resonance with this schooling in pathogenesis and have become astutely  competent , second only to God in the prowess to restore Life. These doctors, nurses, physical therapists, technicians, assistants  is the vital force in every hospital, to them we truly owe our life.

However, for me, and our team of health professionals in Clinica Salutare we seemed to have been created, differently.

For us, the encounter with the seriously suffering or acutely ill, particularly if this is a child or a loved one arouses the angry passion to pursue health.  If illness is too painful, too depleting for the poor, even destructive of life shouldn’t we also seek prevention? Shouldn’t we likewise school ourselves in the origin of health and on how to be at our healthiest?

“Un-schooling” Ourselves: From Pathogenesis to Salutogenesis

What we take for granted is that how you are schooled, shapes who you are and how you think. As students of pathogenesis, our mindset was always in relation to illness. And it was only through un-schooling ourselves that we were able to truly welcome the salutogenic framework.

Understandably, it will be difficult for medical professionals and even patients to embrace the salutogenic thinking and believe in  a salutogenic practice. Good medicine has always been associated with the power of pathogenesis. Unschooling may entail the uncomfortable surrender into  the equality of the polarities. That heath management is as important as illness management.

Aaron Antonovsky’s Salutogenesis

I first encountered the word “  salutogenesis” while studying Anthroposophic Medicine in Switzerland.  Then, I learned that Aaron Antonovsky, a medical sociologist coined the word from salus meaning health and genesis meaning origin.   In its more general sense, salutogenesis refers to a scholarly orientation focusing attention on the study of the origins of health, in contrast to the origins of disease (2017,  Handbook of Salutogenesis) .  A review of Aaron Antonovsky’s biography shows that as early as 1960s, he was already leading the unschooling of the health and medical community from pathogenesis to salutogenesis.

Aaron Antonovsky discusses salutogenesis as a sense of coherence, a global orientation that expresses the extent to which one has a pervasive, enduring though dynamic feeling of confidence that (1) the stimuli from one’s internal and external environments in the course of living are structured, predictable, and explicable; (2) the resources are available to one to meet the demands posed by these stimuli; and (3) these demands are challenges, worthy of investment and engagement. (2017, Handbook of Salutogenesis).

His concepts became a guiding light  that eventually led us to the application of salutogenesis in actual clinical practice.

Salutogenesis : The Integration of the  Four Bodies of the Human Being (Rudolf Steiner)

In our search for new teachers, we travelled to Switzerland. Through Anthroposophic Medicine, we started to practice salutogenesis as  the integration of the four bodies of the human being, namely physical, etheric, astral (emotional)  and the spiritual. It was a major shift in thinking which made sense to us. This time, health was no longer correlated with the absence of disease only of the physical body, as in our pathogenic schooling.   But health included the non-physical essence of every person. The concept of an energetic or etheric essence we learned while studying traditional Filipino and Chinese medicine. The astral body became easier to understand when related to our emotions of sympathy and antipathy.  One’s sense of self, the “I” consciousness and not just religious beliefs is referred to as the spiritual body. The study of Anthroposophic Medicine led us into the deeper meaning of these bodies and their integration.

This concept of health, we were excited about and believe in. However, it was difficult to bring this framework into a clinical practice that would pave the way for our collaborative work with mainstream medicine. We knew that mainstream medicine would be open to collaboration if health and salutogenesis could be measured in the laboratory, with its own distinct parameters.

A Salutogenic Framework for Clinical Practice:  Health Optimization Medicine (Dr. Theodore Achacoso)

The passionate persevering pursuit for  the perfection of a clinical practice based on a health framework, led us to a reunion with a colleague in medical school, known for his genius – Dr Theodore Achacoso.  Dr. Achacoso became my mentor, as I completed my unschooling from pathogenesis to salutogenesis. Ted trained me to let go of illness and focus on health. The clinical practice was to take care of the health of the cell, what the cell needed to function optimally.  This became possible because laboratories can now measure the nutrients that every cell needs to function. This we know as vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and antioxidants. Earlier, we could only measure the function of an organ as in levels of liver enzymes for example.

This was the exciting discovery of a clinical practice framework which was truly based on health and her origins. Ted called this Health Optimization Medicine, bring medicine HOMe.

I owe this process of my unschooling to my mentor who brilliantly designed a workable and effective framework for clinical practice. It is because of this, that I have truly unschooled myself and have become ready for my re-schooling.

Our RE-Schooling :  Clinical Practice as Salutogenesis and Pathogenesis

We come full circle.  Clinical practice is now an  expansion, such that both pathogenesis and salutogenesis guides every practitioner. We are re-schooled that we may be open to collaborate. One may choose to specialize in salutogenesis or pathogenesis. What is important now is that there are two possibilities each with a clear framework for management and for working together in mainstream.

This expansion and collaboration is a beautiful portrait of health – for our clients and for us, the practitioners.

The Clinica Salutare Way: The Clinical Practice of Salutogenesis

When you come to Clinica Salutare you will first be invited to share your lifestyle through the story of a typical day followed by your Health Goals.  A comprehensive medical evaluation is done. A review of Lifestyle Practices you may want to consider is carefully shared. You will then be introduced to the world of the measureable through the framework of Health Optimization Medicine.  A laboratory measurement of your Gut Health, Food Intolerances, Nutrient Status and Comprehensive Hormone Levels is recommended as the basis for your optimization. Your cellular optimization is further refined by your structural alignment through the  work of the osteopaths and the lymphatic drainage therapists. The osteopaths may supervise exercise sessions with you, such as the Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) our osteopaths are spearheading in the country. The physical body optimized becomes the gateway for the care of the non-physical essence of the person. At this time, the therapeutic artist and biography counsellor, perhaps later the music therapist or the psychotherapist may become part of the warm circle around you if you choose to. Through time, you will discover our wish for everyone beyond our clinic – your Wellbeing Beyond Your Health. Salutare!

Beyond the Practice: Well being Beyond Health

Beyond the practice is our constant wish for each one.  Every day, we enjoy an optimized well being that we deserve which empowers us to go beyond our health — to strive for self-knowing,  living in community, serving the local and global needs of our Time.


The Handbook of Salutogenesis

Editors: Maurice B. Mittelmark, Shifra Sagy, Monica Eriksson, Georg F. Bauer, Jürgen M. Pelikan, Bengt Lindström, and Geir Arild Espnes.

Editor Information

Cham (C

H): Springer; 2017.

ISBN-13: 978-3-319-04599-3ISBN-13: 978-3-319-04600-6

Health Optimization Medicine  

Founded by : Dr. Theodore Achacoso