Alternative medicine is medicine that stands in different kinds of polarities to conventional medicine. The following table contains aspects because of which medical systems may be called alternative. Such medicine might be used instead of conventional medicine. If it is thought of something that is not inside conventional medicine but has some right of existence and might form some sort of bigger whole it might be called complementary medicine. If the focus is on dialog between complementary and conventional medicine the term integrative medicine came into use.
|unscientific, not scientific, pseudoscientific
|practiced by minorities
|Relation to common sense
|Where is it being tought?
|academic (tought on universities)
|known by common people or staff without academic education
|Mostly non doctors: healers, common people, naturopaths
|Quality, safety, harmfulness
|based on western culture
|based on different cultures
|Acceptance of i.e. life forces, spirit or soul