New Advertising Standards for Complementary Therapists

Posted by lizrichardson – Sunday, July 1st, 2012

New Advertising Standards for Complementary Therapists

Background
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has issued new guidelines to protect
consumers against false or misleading claims.
The 12th edition of The UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion
and Direct Marketing (CAP Code) came into force on 1 September 2010. It
replaces all other editions, which means that from 1 March, the Committee on
Advertising Practice (CAP) Code will apply to:
“Advertisements and other marketing communications by or from companies,
organisations or sole traders on their own websites, or in other non-paid-for
space online under their control, that are directly connected with the supply or
transfer of goods, services, opportunities and gifts, or which consist of direct
solicitations of donations as part of their own fund-raising activities.”
CAP Code
The new remit focuses specifically upon material which can be properly accepted
as constituting an advertisement or other marketing communication, so covers for
example, websites, leaflets or social networking websites.
The following clauses from the CAP Code are of relevance to Clinical
Reflexologists:
12.1 Objective claims must be backed by evidence, if relevant, consisting of trials
conducted on people. If relevant, the rules in this section apply to claims for
products for animals. Substantiation will be assessed on the basis of the
available scientific knowledge.
12.2 Marketers must not discourage essential treatment for conditions for which
medical supervision should be sought. For example, they must not offer specific
advice on, diagnosis of or treatment for such conditions unless that advice,
diagnosis or treatment is conducted under the supervision of a suitably qualified
health professional. Accurate and responsible general information about such
conditions may, however, be offered.
Health professionals will be deemed suitably qualified only if they can provide
suitable credentials; for example, evidence of: relevant professional expertise or
qualifications; systems for regular review of members’ skills and competencies
and suitable professional indemnity insurance covering all services provided;
accreditation by a professional or regulatory body that has systems for dealing
with complaints and taking disciplinary action and has registration based on
minimum standards for training and qualifications.

Advice and Guidance
There is a six month period of grace during which the ASA and CAP will raise
awareness and educate business on the requirements of the CAP Code,
particularly amongst those who may not previously have been subject to ASA
regulation.
The CAP website contains all the latest information about training sessions and
the CAP Copy Advice Team provides a free advice service and will check
advertising claims prior to publication – usually within 24 hours. They can be
contacted on 0207 492 2100, advice@cap.org.uk Monday to Friday from 9am to
6pm.
CAR’s Professional Standards
The new standards are in line with CAR values and training and reinforce the
importance of avoiding reference or inference to the diagnosis of illnesses, not
making claims to cure or treat specific illnesses and ensuring that written
information is clearly backed up by relevant research evidence. It is also good
practice to adopt such standards when verbally talking with clients on the
telephone or face to face.
CAR welcomes the move to provide the public with greater protection, and we
urge members to read the revised CAP code and take steps to minimise their
exposure to complaints.
It is the responsibility of Clinical Reflexology Practitioners to evidence the
research studies which demonstrate the efficacy of reflexology and demonstrate
how you are making a difference to clients’ well being.
Client feedback in the form of testimonials (with their permission) with contact
details for the person / organisation that gives it, is considered acceptable, in the
event of a complaint to the ASA.


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