Background: There is a growing interest in a spiritual aspect to health and healthcare in many areas of medicine, but there has been little research that explores the potential spiritual aspect within osteopathic practice. Aim: The aim of this phenomenological study was to explore the perceived nature, role, function and value of spirituality within osteopathic practice from a practitioner perspective. Methods: Five experienced osteopaths were interviewed and recordings were transcribed and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Themes were identified and a description of the lived experience of spirituality in osteopathic practice emerged. Results: Three master themes were identified: [A], A Holistic Approach to wellbeing, drew attention to the role of the mind-body connection and a belief in self-healing; [B], The therapeutic relationship, recognised that the therapeutic relationship was mediated by a sense of connectedness and practitioner self-awareness; [C], Intuitive Engagements, recognised a transpersonal connection through touch and intuition, instantiated in sub-themes underlining the role of touch and other ways of knowing. Conclusions: In this study spirituality in osteopathic practice was perceived to be reflected in a holistic approach to illness and wellbeing, facilitated by the therapeutic relationship. The Therapeutic relationship was seen to be influenced through a sense of interconnectedness, the role of touch and intuitive insights. We conclude that respondents identify a spiritual dimension in osteopathic practice, which served to support a holistic approach, and influence positive outcomes.
- Osteopathic care
- Therapeutic relationship