In this study the impact of the use of the terms complementary medicine and alternative medicine on participants' responses to a telephone survey about use of, and beliefs about, these therapies was explored. Forty five percent of respondents indicated using complementary medicines while 34% used alternative medicine; similarly 40% had visited a complementary medicine practitioner while 29% had visited an alternative medicine practitioner. However neither of these comparisons was statistically significant. Questions related to beliefs about these therapies, sources of information and benefits for specific conditions showed few, if any, differences between the two groups. While the results of this study do not demonstrate that there are significant differences in responses to questionnaires depending on whether the terms complementary medicine or alternative medicine are used, the data does suggest that this an area that requires more exploration.