A Holistic Multidimensional Model of Healthcare

Bridging the gap between holistic concept and practice

This presentation (Webinar/power point type format) discusses a theoretical framework of Holism in Healthcare summarising key principles which emerged both from 1) many years of observation through formal teaching programs (within manual therapies) and clinical practice as well 2) personal research interviewing Osteopathic practitioners about the meaning and practical application of holism and it's relation to traditional bio-medicine (1, 2). These presentations are available on You Tube but are included here also to create some awareness about what holism in healthcare truly means. It also serves as a more in depth introduction to my other course on "Holistic Integrated assessment - The art of listening to the body" and illustrates why this course is needed in order to support integration in healthcare and in particular to give valuable insight into the understanding and management of patients suffering chronic and complicated health issues.

Part 1 - Understanding the Relationships behind your Pain. This discusses the relationships you need to be aware of to 1) understand underlying reasons for your health issue (e.g. pain) and 2) integrate holistic and biomedical approaches. We also explore the gap between the concept of holism and its practical implementation in order to set the stage for an integrated holistic model which may help improve health care education, research and practice.

Part 2 - What is the Whole Person? This discusses what components exactly make up the whole person and looks at the inter-relationships between these components and the external environment (and how different practitioner's may emphasise different components but should all still consider the whole person to be truly holistic). It also looks at the relationship between the holistic multidimensional approach for 'what else; is going on (setting up the presenting problem or slowing its recovery) and a traditional biomedical or regional approach for the tissues/condition causing symptoms; thus helping to achieve integration between the two approaches - and develop better understanding of how to improve assessment of patients with chronic health issues.

Part 3: Three factors that Influence Treatment. in this section we discuss the three factors that influence a practitioners decision making process about what to treat in patients and how to tune in and listen to what the body actually needs (i.e. clues within the body to tell us 'what else' is going on in the overall underlying problem pattern which eventually manifests as symptoms - which often may be in remote areas from the original cause). We discuss how key issues (Primary problems) manifest as all three of A.R.T (asymmetry, range/quality of motion abnormality and tissue texture change) and how to tell the difference between primary problems and secondary adaptive changes. Thus we discuss the link between holistic concept and its practical implementation and then hint at how we can link this with other issues in other levels of a person s being/life.

Part 4: The Theoretical Framework of Holism. This session summarises the whole theoretical framework of holism and describes how a deeper understanding of the concept and educational framework of holism may influence the practical implementation of holism in clinical practice. We look at how educational framework needs to have a balance between the holistic and the bio-medical elements in order to improve the quality of health care and future research. Finally we discuss a model for understanding different levels of complexity in patient care which may give insight in to the assessment and management of patients with complicated and chronic health conditions.


1. Turner PWD, Holroyd E. Holism in Osteopathy – Bridging the gap between concept and practice: A grounded theory study. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. 2016 12//;22:40-51.

2. Turner P, Holroyd, E. A Theoretical Framework of Holism in Healthcare. Insights in Biomedicine. 2017 Febuary 03, 2017;2(1:3).

Your Instructor

Paul Turner
Paul Turner

I am a practising Osteopath involved in clinical practice since 1993 and health care education (in manual therapies) since 1996. My interest is in supporting a holistic multidimensional approach to health care education and practice. This approach helps integrate holistic with biomedical approaches and bridges the gap between holistic concept and its practical implementation.

I have found that when students and practitioners understand this model it creates deeper context and awareness about what is actually happening behind the scenes (i.e. behind the symptomatic picture). In other words, by being able to assess for and uncover the underlying patterns of dysfunction (the 'what else') setting the stage for dis-ease or injury or otherwise slowing its recovery this helps to better inform the treatment and rehabilitation process. Understanding the relationship between 'what else' is happening behind the scenes and the symptomatic tissues has especial relevance in the understanding and management of patients suffering chronic and complicated health issues.

With this in mind it is with great pleasure that i offer this material to you to help improve awareness, understanding, assessment and management skills and help optimise health outcomes.

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