Alternative Medicine

white and brown ceramic figurine
Type: Vocabulary
Originally published on November 24, 2022 and last updated on February 4, 2023

Alternative medicines are those products or practise that are used together with or instead of standard medical care.

Complementary and alternative medicine may include acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, massage therapy, magnet therapy, spiritual healing or meditation.

Some of these therapies have been tested and have been found to be generally safe and effective. However, there are others that do not work, may be harmful, or could interact negatively with other medicines.

The majority of alternative medicine users find these healthcare alternatives to be more congruent with their own values, beliefs, and philosophical orientations toward health and life.

We can find as well some people making use of these medicines as a result of being dissatisfied with conventional medicine.

Go through the vocabulary below with your students and ask them to try and use this vocabaulry where possible when discussing the different conversation questions.

Useful Vocabulary

Try and use the following vocabulary when answering the question. Click to look up the definition in the dictionary

  • heal (verb)
  • alternative (adjective)
  • succesful (adjective)
  • controversial (adjective)
  • therapist (noun)
  • useless (adjective)
  • useful (adjective)
  • complementary (adjective)

Conversation Questions

  • Have you ever used a form of alternative medicine?
  • What was your experience or what do you think it would be?
  • If you have not used alternative medicine, are there any forms of it that you might consider using?
  • Do you know anyone who uses alternative medicine on a regular basis?
  • What do you think is the most common of alternative medicine? What do you know about it?
  • Why do you think some people decide to try alternative medicines?
  • Why do you think alternative medicines are so controversial?
  • Can you think of the pros of using alternative healing?
  • What are the cons of using alternative medicine?
  • Do you think Yoga or meditation should be considered alternative medicines?
  • Do you think practising Yoga or meditation could harm you in some way?
This conversation topic was prepared by Gregory

Gregory is a qualified TEFL teacher who has been teaching English as a Foreign Language (ESL) for over a decade. He has taught in-person classes in Spain and to English learners around the world online.