This article tackles the question of the rôle played by alternative medicines vis-à-vis official medicine and society in general. Law and medicine have always contended for the rôle of social control. As things stand at present, medicine would appear to be gaining more and more ground over law with regard to this function. In other words, official medicine is tending to standardise and homogenise social behaviour, attuning it to models of the statistical mean. Alternative medicines constitute an internal critique of the process of standardisation practised by conventional medicine and an external critique of the concept of social control. In other words, alternative medicines constitute a phenomenon of political critique of society not unlike the political critique that is developed directly in reformist and revolutionary debates. In particular, this article uses epistemological tools to analyse the rôle played by holistic medicine which, of all alternative medicines, is the most radically opposed to standardisation and social homogenisation.