IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|9. In therapy


Match the pictures A-D to the situations 1-4

Match the words to make a phrase


Tick the phrases below according to the appropriate group

Discuss these questions before you listen to a conversation of the students talking to a physiotherapist

1. What is the difference between conventional and alternative medicine?

2. What types of health workers do you know?

3. What does each of them specialise in?

4. What does a physiotherapist’s work involve?

5. When might someone need a physiotherapist?

Look at questions 1-5 and the comments. Underline the key ideas in options A-F


Exam tips


1. Underline the key ideas in the questions and / or options.

2. Be aware that you will hear the questions in the same order as they are written on the question paper.

3. Write your answers as you listen.


Listen to the recording, choose the appropriate option A-F and write the corresponding letter next to Questions 1-5

Steve Mike Flo

Steve: Good morning, guys, come on in.
Mike: Thanks, Steve – it’s good of you to spare us some of your time.
Flo: Yeah – we really appreciate it.
Steve: That’s OK. So you’re studying sports science, are you?
Mike: Yeah, we’ve only just started our course, actually, but as I explained on the phone, um, we have this seminar to do on sports injuries, and we thought , who better to talk to than someone like yourself?
Steve: Fine, OK. So, what would you like to know?
Flo: Well, we thought we’d start by asking you about some of the treatments and services you offer here at the clinic.
Steve: OK. Well, as you know, physiotherapists deal with a whole range of different «problem areas» in the body.
Mike: Yeah, what sort of techniques do you use to help people? I mean, I know you use massage, and I understand that’s a key form of treatment …
Steve: Yeah. Well, we call it «manual therapy», you know, because it’s a hands-on treatment, and it just involves manipulating the soft tissue around a joint to relieve stiffness and pain.
Flo: Is that something that a lot of people come here for?
Steve: Um … Well, we generally decide what’s best for the individual. This treatment can hurt sometimes, but it gets results more quickly than anything else.
Flo: And is that true whatever the injury?
Steve: For sports injuries, generally, yes. But it doesn’t stop there — you have to do other things as well.
Mike: I’ve heard of something called «stability training». Do you do that?
Steve: Definitely. This is something that’s designed to improve overall posture and body shape.
Mike: So it’s for the back and neck?
Flo: I think I’ve heard of this … it works on everything and gives you more power.
Steve: Yeah, this is important. We improve your overall form, and that’s quite good if you’re tired or a bit weak.
Flo: Do you use any aids to boost performance?
Steve: Occasionally we recommend a pad or block for a sports shoe but not often.
Mike: What about electrical equipment?
Steve: We do sometimes use electrotherapy, which is supposed to stimulate the body to repair itself.
Flo: So that’s actually using a small electrical charge?
Steve: Yes, but there’s growing evidence that the effect is limited.
Mike: So I guess you don’t use it much?
Steve: No, we tend to avoid it most of the time.
Mike: I see. What if people don’t have an injury but just want to get better at their sport? I mean, sometimes people know they do something wrong when they … swing a golf club, for example.
Steve: Ah, then we film them and show them exactly what they do. It’s called video analysis.
Flo: That must be really helpful.
Steve: It’s what everyone asks for. It outstrips all our other services, because it’s great for so many activities — not just sporting ones.
Mike: Can you help people with sedentary activities?
Steve: Absolutely. We offer workstation analysis because so many people have asked us for it.
Flo: Yeah, I spend hours on my laptop, and as the day goes on, my posture gets worse and worse!
Steve: That’s why we tend to suggest that people come at the end of the day for this.
Mike: I guess the problem is that everyone’s built differently … I think we both need some help there.

Look at the exam task in the green box and answer the questions about the material you will listen to


1. What does the flowchart describe?

2. What type of information is needed to complete each gap?

Questions 6-10

6. Arrives at clinic with an __________ .

7. Physiotherapist evaluates __________ to ankle.

8. Treatment is given, and an __________ is prepared.

9. Return trips are made to check joint __________ .

10. A __________ supervises activity in the gym.

Listen and answer the questions 6-10

Flo Steve

Flo: That was really interesting. So, what happens when someone comes to your clinic?
Steve: Well, let’s imagine you’re the patient.
Flo: OK.
Steve: A common situation will be that you sustained an injury, say, a year ago. So it’s not new … So you turn up with what we call an «existing injury».
Flo: Right. Like I sprained my ankle.
Steve: Exactly! That’s a typical one.
Flo: OK, and I’ve been to the doctor, and he’s sent me to the hospital for an X-ray, and then I’ve been prescribed a cream or even painkillers.
Steve: You’ve been through that medical route.
Flo: OK. And I had to rest it for a while, of course, and that meant not doing any sport. So, I’ve come to you because I’m fed up, basically.
Steve: Yes, you need to get the joint moving again. So, what we would do first is to assess the damage to the joint area.
Flo: I guess there’s a whole range of problems that it could be, and some are more serious than others.
Steve: And we can’t afford to make mistakes. Now, once we know what the problem is, we select a treatment. Perhaps, one that we talked about earlier; plus we design an exercise plan for you.
Flo: That’s great if you stick to it.
Steve: Yes, that’s the hard part for patients because they don’t have time or they get bored. So we ask them to come back regularly. We make appointments, and we monitor the movement in the joint each time.
Flo: And you expect that to work?
Steve: Yes, and it usually does – quite quickly, in fact. And then we can go on to rehabilitation.
Flo: You mean getting them back into the sporting activity they used to do?
Steve: That’s right. We have a fully equipped gym, and we devise a training plan. Well, a personal trainer does that, and they oversee the programme for at least a couple of months, and make sure the patient carries it out.
Flo: It sounds really thorough. That’s great, Steve, thanks.

Exam tips

Flow chart

1. Use the title and the words around the gaps to decide what you need to listen for.

2. Quickly read through the chart afterwards to check that your answers make sense.

Read the record script. For questions 1-5, underline the phrases that gave you each answer


Questions 1-5

1. Manual therapy – D. It is the most effective.

2. Stability training – A. It strengthens the whole body.

3. Electrotherapy – F. It is rarely used.

4. Video analysis – B. It is the most popular.

5. Workstation analysis – E. It is best done in evening.

Read the script. For questions 6-10, underline the words the speakers use that mean the same as the verbs in bold in the box

Questions 6-10. Complete the flow chart below

Write no more than two words for each answer.

Arrives at clinic with an 6 existing injury.

Physiotherapist evaluates 7 the damage to ankle.

Treatment is given, and an 8 exercise plan is prepared.

Return trips are made to check joint 9 movement.

A 10 personal trainersupervises activity in the gym.


Read the quiz «How good a doctor you are?» and discuss each case using topic vocabulary

1. When might you get

a) a bruise?

b) a rash?

c) side effects?

2. What are symptoms of

a) a cold?

b) food poisoning?

c) a heart attack?

3. What might happen to you if you

a) had to stand for a long time in a hot crowded room?

b) were stung on your hand by a bee?

c) switched on a light with wet hands?


Read the task, make some notes and present your two-minute speech on the topic

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Describe a time when you or a friend experienced a minor injury.

You should say:

  • how it happened;
  • what you did about it;
  • who helped you

and say how you feel about it now.

  1. to receive treatment
  2. to get the joint moving
  3. to relieve stiffness
  4. sedentary lifestyle
  5. sustained injury
  6. to sprain an ankle
  7. to prescribe painkillers
  8. to start rehabilitation
  9. to monitor a problem
  10. to get a rash
  11. to have a stroke

Fill in the gaps with an appropriate option


Choose the right word to make a collocation

Read questions 1-5 below and underline the key words or phrases in the options A-F



Listen and answer questions 1-5

Sara Matt

Sara: Hi, come in. I’m Sara. Welcome to Chorleywood Pharmaceuticals. It’s Matt, isn’t it?
Matt: That’s right. Thanks for agreeing to see me.
Sara: You’re welcome. I understand you’re interested in the work we do here, right?
Matt: Yes, I am. I’m doing some research into modern medicine for my thesis, and I was hoping you could tell me a bit about painkillers, give me a bit of background information and so on.
Sara: Sure, well, it’s a huge area. Let’s start by looking at the different types of painkiller we make here, and we’ll take it from there. OK?
Matt: Great.
Sara: OK, well, here at Chorleywood, we produce five commercially-available painkillers or analgesics as they’re more correctly known, each one based on a different active ingredient. Those ingredients are paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin, codeine and morphine. I assume you’ve heard of them all.
Matt: I have. I use paracetamol when I get headaches.
Sara: Right, in fact it’s the best all-round analgesic for things like headaches and most non-nerve pains. It’s believed to work by controlling certain chemicals in the brain, so we feel less pain. It’s safe to take regularly for long periods, but overdosing on it can have very serious side effects, including liver failure.
Matt: Right, I’ve heard that.
Sara: Then there’s ibuprofen. This is an anti-inflammatory, which means that unlike paracetamol, it directly targets the affected area or areas. Basically, it works by reducing swelling. So, if you’ve twisted your ankle, for example, and it’s swelling up, ibuprofen will be very effective at reducing that swelling.
Matt: Like in a sports injury, for example.
Sara: Exactly. Which is why it’s so popular with sportsmen and women. And alongside paracetamol, it’s the painkiller that doctors recommend for children. The one disadvantage over paracetamol is that while you’re taking it, you may get an upset stomach, because it has irritant qualities.
Matt: Aspirin can affect you in the same way, can’t it?
Sara: Right. Aspirin is believed to work a bit like paracetamol, but with side effects similar to those in ibuprofen. A bit stronger, in fact, which is why doctors and pharmacists advise that you avoid giving it to anyone under 12.
Matt: What about the others you mentioned? Codeine and morphine.
Sara: Codeine is much stronger than the others, so it’s usually diluted, that is, it’s usually combined, with paracetamol in pill form. The problem with codeine is that it can cause dependency. In other words, your body comes to rely on it. So once you stop taking it, you may feel a little ill for a while. Nothing serious, just weak, shaky, that kind of thing.
Matt: And morphine?
Sara: Well, as you probably know, morphine is the most powerful analgesic available. It’s strictly prescription-only, and even then your doctor will need to see you on a regular basis to check you’re getting the right dose and to see how you’re responding to it. It should only be used as part of a long-term pain management programme. It’s highly addictive of course, and when you stop the programme, the after-effects can be extremely bad.

Read the questions 6-10 and decide what word or words is needed to complete each gap. Underline the key words if necessary



Listen and answer the questions 6-10

Matt Sara

Matt: So, what’s the most popular painkiller?
Sara: That would be aspirin. In fact, almost 40 percent of the products we make here are aspirin based.
Matt: It’s been around for a while, hasn’t it?
Sara: Indeed. In fact, we could trace its origins right back to ancient Greece about two and a half thousand years ago.
Matt: Wow, I didn’t know it went back that far.
Sara: Well, obviously it wasn’t known as aspirin then, and it wasn’t in pill form. People took dried willow tree leaves, which they knew had an analgesic effect, and made them into tea, which they then gave to women during childbirth. Nobody really knew what was in the leaves that helped to ease pain until over two thousand years later, in, er … , 1823 I think it was, when Italian scientists identified and extracted the active ingredient salicin.
Matt: Salicin, that’s S-A-L, um …
Sara: S-A-L-l-C-l-N. And later it was also found in a particular type of flower called the meadowsweet. That was in Germany in 1838. Then in 1853, French scientists succeeded in making a liquid form of salicin, which they called salicylic acid, but the patients they tested it on complained that it caused bad stomach pains.
Matt: So, a bit counter-productive then!
Sara: Exactly! However, in 1893, German scientists discovered that mixing a chemical called acetyl into the salicylic acid greatly reduced its irritating side effects. And then in 1897, the German pharmaceutical company Bayer developed a process for creating a synthetic version of this acetyl salicylic acid.
Matt: Acetyl salicylic acid. That’s quite a mouthful!
Sara: Which is why they shortened it to aspirin. That year, they began testing their product on patients, and two years later, when these clinical trials were complete, aspirin as we know it now was launched onto the market.
Matt: Well, thank you for the history lesson. That’s actually really useful. I might be able to use some of that. Now, I read recently that aspirin …

Read the passage and do the task after the text


Alternative medicine in Australia

The first students to study alternative medicine at university level in Australia began their four-year full-time course at the University of Technology, Sydney, in early 1994. Their course covered among other therapies acupuncture. The theory they learnt is based on the traditional Chinese explanation of this ancient healing art: that it can regulate the flow of «Qi» or energy through pathways in the body. This course reflects how far some alternative therapies have come in their struggle for acceptance by the medical establishment.

Australia has been unusual in the Western world in having a very conservative attitude to natural or alternative therapies, according to Dr Paul Laver, a lecturer in Public Health at the University of Sydney. «We’ve had a tradition of doctors being fairly powerful and I guess they are pretty loath to allow any pretenders to their position to come into it.» In many other industrialized countries, orthodox and alternative medicines have worked «hand in glove» for years. In Europe, only orthodox doctors can prescribe herbal medicine. In Germany, plant remedies account for 10% of the national turnover of pharmaceutical. Americans made more visits to alternative therapist than to orthodox doctors in 1990, and each year they spend about $US 12 billion on the therapies that have not been scientifically tested.

Disenchantment with orthodox medicine has seen the popularity of alternative therapies in Australia climb steadily during the past 20 years. In a 1983 national health survey, 1.9% of people said they had contacted a chiropractor, naturopath, osteopath, acupuncturist or herbalist in the two weeks prior to the survey. By 1990, this figure had risen to 2.6% of the population. The 550,000 consultations with alternative therapists reported in the 1990 survey represented about an eighth of the total number of consultations with medically qualified personnel covered by the survey, according to Dr Laver and colleagues writing in the Australian Journal of Public Health in 1993. «A better educated and less accepting public has become disillusion with the experts in general and increasingly skeptical about science and empirically based knowledge,» they said. «The high standing of professionals, including doctors, has been eroded as a consequence.»

Rather than resisting or criticizing this trend, increasing numbers of Australian doctors, particularly younger ones, are forming group practices with alternative therapists or taking courses themselves, particularly in acupuncture and herbalism. Part of the incentive was financial, Dr Laver said. «The bottom line is that most general practitioners are business people. If they see potential clientele going elsewhere, they might want to be able to offer a similar service.»

In 1993, Dr Laver and his colleagues published a survey of 289 Sydney people who attended eight alternative therapists’ practices in Sydney. These practices offered a wide range of alternative therapies from 25 therapists. Those surveyed had experience chronic illnesses, for which orthodox medicine had been able to provide little relief. They commented that they liked the holistic approach of their alternative therapists and the friendly, concerned and detailed attention they had received. The cold, impersonal manner of orthodox doctors featured in the survey. An increasing exodus from their clinics, coupled with this and a number of other relevant surveys carried out in Australia, all pointing to orthodox doctors’ inadequacies, have led mainstream doctors themselves to begin to admit they could learn from the personal style of alternative therapists. Dr Patrick Store, President of the Royal College of General Practitioners, concurs that orthodox doctors could learn a lot about bedside manner and advising patients on preventative health from alternative therapists.

According to the Australian Journal of Public Health, 18% of patients visiting alternative therapists do so because they suffer from musculo-skeletal complaints; 12% suffer from digestive problems, which is only 1% more than those suffering from emotional problems. Those suffering from respiratory complaints represent 7% of their patients, and candida sufferers represent an equal percentage. Headache sufferers and those complaining of general ill health represent 6% and 5% of patients respectively, and a further 4% see therapists for general health maintenance.

The survey suggested that complementary medicine is probably a better term than alternative medicine. Alternative medicine appears to be an adjunct, sought in times of disenchantment when conventional medicine seems not to offer the answer.

Read the instructions in the box and do the exam tasks

Questions 1-2

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Questions 3-10

Decide whether the following statements agree with the claims of the writer


Yes if the statement agrees with the views of the writer;

No if the statement contradicts the views of the writer;

Not given if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this.

Read the task and prepare your two-minute speech on the topic «The activity which is good for your health»


Part 2 Individual Long Turn

Before you talk, you’ll have one minute to think about what you’re going to say. You can make some notes if you wish.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Describe something you have done that is good for your health and that you would recommend to others.

You should say:

  • what it is;
  • when you do it;
  • who you do it with

and explain why you think it is good for your health.

Exam tips

Speaking Part 2

1. Use appropriate phrases to introduce and end your talk and to help you keep going.

2. Paraphrase when you don’t know the word(s).

3. Use intonation to express your emotions about the topic.

Speak no longer than two minutes.

Cover all of the points and provide a relevant answer.

Allow your browser the access to the microphone, press the button «Record» and record the speech you have prepared

  • Warm-up
  • Health issues
  • Healthcare workers
  • Treatments and services
  • At clinic
  • Analysing results
  • How good a doctor you are?
  • A minor injury
  • What doctors say
  • Common analgesics
  • History of aspirin
  • Alternative treatment
  • Staying healthy
  • What doctors say
  • Common analgesics
  • History of aspirin
  • Alternative treatment
  • Staying healthy
  • A minor injury
  1. 1. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|1. Being a high achiever
  2. 2. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|2. University life
  3. 3. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|3. Getting a qualification
  4. 4. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|4. Career plans
  5. 5. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 1
  6. 6. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|5. Perceiving colours
  7. 7. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|6. The art of colour
  8. 8. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|7. The best colour
  9. 9. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|8. Adding colour
  10. 10. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 2
  11. 11. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|9. In therapy
  12. 12. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|10. Placebo effect
  13. 13. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|11. Changing life expectancy
  14. 14. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|12. Leading a healthy life
  15. 15. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 3
  16. 16. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|13. Works of art
  17. 17. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|14. Aboriginal art
  18. 18. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|15. Being good at arts
  19. 19. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|16. What is a masterpiece?
  20. 20. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 4
  21. 21. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|17. Collecting fossils
  22. 22. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|18. Evolution and survival
  23. 23. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|19. The Earth's interior
  24. 24. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|20. A valuable possession
  25. 25. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 5
  26. 26. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|21. The role of technology
  27. 27. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|22. Film making and technology
  28. 28. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|23. The impact of IT on society
  29. 29. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|24. Number one website
  30. 30. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 6
  31. 31. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|25. Environmental issues
  32. 32. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|26. Wildlife wonders
  33. 33. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|27. Endangered species
  34. 34. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|28. A symbol of a nation
  35. 35. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 7
  36. 36. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|29. Exploring space
  37. 37. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|30. Observing the stars
  38. 38. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|31. Space tourism prospects
  39. 39. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|32. Extraterrestrial phenomena
  40. 40. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 8
  41. 41. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Exam Part 1
  42. 42. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Exam Part 2