Positive Health

Advocacy for Machteld Huber’s “Positive Health“ concept

in German-speaking countries

A human being is more than his or her illness or state of health. Nevertheless, our thoughts about health usually focus only on that state. All the attention is on symptoms and health problems and how to solve them.

Positive health offers a more holistic perspective. The concept is both a vision and a method:

A vision of health

In recent years, there has been a significant change in how we conceive of health and disease. For a long time, health was defined primarily as the absence of disease. Positive health takes a broader view. It views health not as a fixed state or a goal to be achieved, but rather as people’s capacity to resiliently and independently adapt to whatever life throws at them. This more dynamic approach does better justice to individuals and what they find important.

A method

This broad interpretation of health is elaborated in six dimensions that have emerged from research on how people define health for themselves. They seem to give weight not only to physical health, but also, for example, to meaningfulness, participation, and quality of life. The web diagram above illustrates the six dimensions and the aspects associated with them. With the help of the diagram, people can outline and assess elements of their own health. It is also a tool that can be used as a prelude to a conversation about health and well-being.


The Chaja Foundation would like to contribute to a wider dissemination and application of this holistic health concept in German-speaking countries as well. Positive Health offers an enormous chance to strengthen doctor–patient-dialogue and thus to make good therapeutic decisions together.

For more information on Positive Health and to download the discussion tool, click here:

Institute for Positive Health (iPH).