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What does the term ‘alternative medicine’ mean?

I’ve got an exam coming up and the first article is Homeopathy, and question one is ”What does the term ‘alternative medicine’ mean?

I Don’t know how to answer this question as I can’t understand what alternative medicine means. Cna somebody explain or tell me what I could write to best fit this answer?

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9 Responses to “What does the term ‘alternative medicine’ mean?”

  1. vosa said :

    alterative medicines are things like herbs herbal remmedeys, acupunture, massage and natural things,,

  2. Michael said :

    It’s short for “alternative TO medicine”. i.e. an alternative to stuff which works.

    It’s a multi billion dollar scam.

  3. kasilas said :

    This question may well start flame war but sod it I will answer anyway.

    To be brutally honest the only common theme I see in alternative therapies is a lack of convincing evidence for their effectiveness. sorry to all practitioners but it’s true.

    This is certainly it’s modern usage given therapies seem to be divided into evidence-based and alternative.

  4. Ted B said :

    Alternative Medicine, an umbrella term for a large number of practices that fall outside the scope of conventional medicine.

  5. udaya k said :

    mainstream medicine. see this – 5 hours ago

    From examination point of view your answer will be as others tell you here.

  6. Lightning said :

    Alternative medicine is a medical practice outside the conventional medical system.
    It is also called complementary therapy.

  7. dave said :

    “Alternative medicine” and “complementary therapy” are two different things.

    Alternative medicine is marketed as an alternative to existing medicine (usually favoured by the paranoid and those who think “it’s all a conspiracy!”) There is nothing to suggest any of it works.

    Complementary therapy is intended to ‘complement’ existing, credible medicine. It works purely on the placebo effect.

    Anyone who doesn’t know this very simple, basic difference certainly shouldn’t be practising either.

  8. Angelhil said :

    If it can be shown to work it is called MEDICINE.

    If it CANNOT be shown to work, it is ALTERNATIVE medicine.

  9. Jennifer said :

    If you are looking for actual definitions of alternative therapies and holistic practices, there is a lot of information available at


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