Holism in Osteopathy – Bridging the gap between concept and practice: A grounded theory study

Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa


Background and objectives: This study aimed to explore the meaning of holism to Osteopathic professionals and thus develop a theory to inform the gap between holism as a concept and its implementation in clinical practice.

Methods: Osteopathic practitioners were purposively selected resulting in eight participants from eight clinics in different demographic regions of Melbourne, Australia. In depth interviews were conducted and data was analysed using grounded theory methodology.

Results: Results demonstrate that an understanding of holism in osteopathic health care (in education and clinical practice) required an “awareness of relationships”. The emerging theory relates concept and educational framework (i.e. both biomedical and holistic philosophical approaches), with the practice of holism and describes what holism means within the context of an individual treatment.

Conclusion: Implications are for osteopathic education to provide a balanced emphasis between holistic and biomedical frameworks and theoretical insight into understanding patients presenting with chronic health issues.


International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine