Whether you’re talking about a therapeutic drug or a therapeutic exercise plan, something that is therapeutic helps to heal or to restore health.

The adjective therapeutic can be traced all the way back to the Greek word therapeutikos (from therapeuein, meaning “to attend” or “to treat”). Although the word relates to healing or soothing, therapeutic isn’t reserved only for drugs or medical treatments. You’ve probably heard particular activities referred to as therapeutic, which just means that doing that activity makes you feel rejuvenated. You might consider shopping for shoes, for example, to be a therapeutic activity — at least until the credit card bill arrives.

Definitions of therapeutic
  1. adjective

    tending to cure or restore to health

    therapeutic agent”
    therapeutic diets”
    alterative, curative, healing, remedial, sanative


    conducive to good health of body or mind
  2. adjective

    relating to or involved in therapy

    therapeutic approach to criminality”

  3. noun

    a medicine or therapy that cures disease or relieve pain

    curative, cure, remedy
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    a remedy for hearing loss or deafness
    antidote, counterpoison

    a remedy that stops or controls the effects of a poison
    emetic, nauseant, vomit, vomitive

    a medicine that induces nausea and vomiting

    remedy that eases pain and discomfort
    application, lotion

    liquid preparation having a soothing or antiseptic or medicinal action when applied to the skin
    magic bullet

    a remedy (drug or therapy or preventive) that cures or prevents a disease
    balm, ointment, salve, unction, unguent

    semisolid preparation (usually containing a medicine) applied externally as a remedy or for soothing an irritation
    alleviant, alleviator, palliative

    remedy that alleviates pain without curing
    catholicon, cure-all, nostrum, panacea

    hypothetical remedy for all ills or diseases; once sought by the alchemists
    preventative, preventive, prophylactic

    remedy that prevents or slows the course of an illness or disease

    an ointment used in treating bruises

    a poisonous crystalline alkaloid extracted from the nightshade family; used as an antispasmodic and to dilate the eye pupil; also administered in large amounts as an antidote for organophosphate nerve agents or organophosphate insecticides
    baby oil

    an ointment for babies

    an ointment containing a fragrant resin
    black lotion, blackwash

    a mixture of calomel and limewater that is used on syphilitic sores
    calamine lotion

    a lotion consisting of a liquid preparation containing calamine; used to treat itching or mild skin irritations
    carron oil

    an ointment formerly used to treat burns

    a hard medicated paste made of lard or oil mixed with wax or resin
    chrism, chrisom, holy oil, sacramental oil

    a consecrated ointment consisting of a mixture of oil and balsam
    collyrium, eye-lotion, eyewash

    lotion consisting of a solution used as a cleanser for the eyes

    a medicinal drug used to evoke vomiting (especially in cases of drug overdose or poisoning)
    embrocation, liniment

    a medicinal liquid that is rubbed into the skin to relieve muscular stiffness and pain
    lip balm

    a balm applied to the lips

    a lotion containing menthol which gives it the smell of mint
    mentholated salve

    a salve containing menthol
    mercurial ointment

    an ointment containing mercury
    dry mustard, powdered mustard

    a substance such that one to three tablespoons dissolved in a glass of warm water is a homemade emetic
    rubbing alcohol

    lotion consisting of a poisonous solution of isopropyl alcohol or denatured ethanol alcohol for external use
    witch hazel, wych hazel

    lotion consisting of an astringent alcoholic solution containing an extract from the witch hazel plant
    zinc ointment

    an ointment containing zinc that is used to treat certain skin diseases

    a substance believed to cure all ills
    obidoxime chloride

    a chloride used as an antidote for nerve gases such as sarin or VX
    type of:

    medicament, medication, medicinal drug, medicine

    (medicine) something that treats or prevents or alleviates the symptoms of disease

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