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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 11, 2021

Osteopathic structure/function models renovation for a person-centered approach: a narrative review and integrative hypothesis

  • Francesca Baroni ORCID logo , Marco Tramontano ORCID logo , Nicola Barsotti , Marco Chiera , Diego Lanaro and Christian Lunghi ORCID logo EMAIL logo



The construct of the osteopathic structure-function models is reported as a cornerstone of clinical reasoning and treatment processes. Nevertheless, there are no shared procedures described for their use in clinical practice. The present narrative review aims to analyze a more comprehensive perspective on the phenomenon.


A structured narrative review was conducted. A database search was conducted using Pubmed, ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar. Peer-reviewed papers without specifying limits on dates and design were included.


Twenty-five findings were reported and grouped into two main themes: 1) Debate on models and theoretical frameworks for osteopathic care; 2) Clinical reasoning and decision-making process in the osteopathic field.


An integrated osteopathic care approach based on the structure/function models represents a starting point to establish a shared osteopathic diagnostic and clinical reasoning and an evidence-informed practice promoting health in an interdisciplinary person-centered care process. The present review highlights the limited amount of literature on using osteopathic conceptual models in decision-making and treatment strategies. A research plan is required to develop a common framework for an evidence-based osteopathic practice that promotes well-being in an interdisciplinary person-centered care process.

Corresponding author: Christian Lunghi, BSc OST Hons, Clinical-Based Human Research Department, Research Division, Foundation COME Collaboration, Pescara, Italy; and Via del Buttero 12, 00054 Fiumicino, Rome, Italy, E-mail:

  1. Research funding: None declared.

  2. Author contributions: All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

  3. Competing interests: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Not applicable.

  5. Ethical approval: Not applicable.


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Supplementary Material

The online version of this article offers supplementary material (

Received: 2021-09-16
Accepted: 2021-11-02
Published Online: 2021-11-11

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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