A Review of the Efforts to Promote the Recognition of Osteopathy as a Distinct Profession in Germany | The International Academy of Osteopathy IAO

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A Review of the Efforts to Promote the Recognition of Osteopathy as a Distinct Profession in Germany


Author: Yalin Murat
Supervisor: Simone Lob

Background: Interest in osteopathy has increased considerably in Germany over the past few years. Osteopathy is mainly practiced by physicians, alternative medicine practitioners and physiotherapists in the absence of an established distinct professional profile.

Objective: The objective of this Master’s Thesis is to outline, in the form of a literature research, the current efforts in Germany to establish osteopathy as an independent, distinct profession. 

Method: First, there is a description of the legal aspects involved. This includes a citation of the relevant laws, decrees and court decisions. Based on the current legal situation, this is followed by an outline of the various interests of the professional associations, specialist societies and osteopathic institutions involved with regard  to the creation of a distinct professional profile.  Legal databases, scientific literature, specialist journals, publications as well as relevant websites have been searched methodically for the respective keywords. 

Results: Evaluation of all results yielded that the process of achieving independence is faced with considerable difficulties. Encouraging tendencies can be seen in the training and examination ordinance issued by the German federal state of Hessen, in the academisation of the profession, and in qualitative research findings. However, the current legal situation and relevant court decisions have a negative impact on the overall efforts to achieve independence. This is exacerbated by the fact that many professional groups clearly oppose the creation of a distinct professional profile, and that the osteopathic institutions seem to be unable to agree on a common position.