Saturday, 24 April 2010

Surge of Chi - benefits MS and arthritis

Sometimes it's with the utmost reluctance that I submit an ASA complaint. Take this foot-waggling device, for example.

It actually looks rather fun - if magnificently overpriced at £149.95.

And if the advertisers had stuck to plausible claims like these...

"No-impact exercise routine...relieves muscle tension...calms the mind...energises the body...increases circulation"

...there'd be no problems. Unfortunately, the claims above appear in a different advert for a nearly identical device.

Perhaps "Energy for Health" can learn something from their rivals? An
ASA complaint about their advert follows.

"I write to complain about an advert in "Natural Health" magazine (May 2010, p85).

The advert, for "Energy for Health", promotes the "Surge of Chi" exercise device.

I suspect that the advert may be in breach of three sections of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP) code. I can provide an original copy of the advert by post, if required.

1. The CAP Code, Section 50.1, states "Medical and scientific claims made about beauty and health-related products should be backed by evidence, where appropriate consisting of trials conducted on people..."

2. I challenge whether the claim that, while using the device, the "body's are gently but powerfully stimulated" is backed by evidence, where appropriate consisting of clinical trials conducted on people.

3. The CAP Code, Section 14.3, states "Testimonials alone do not constitute substantiation and the opinions expressed in them must be supported, where necessary, with independent evidence of their accuracy."

4. I challenge whether any of the following claims from the advert's testimonials are supported, where necessary, with independent evidence of their accuracy:

(i) The device will "benefit greatly" sufferers of multiple sclerosis
(ii) The device is "of use for specific conditions"
(iii) The device can eliminate pain in the arms and legs
(iv) The device is "effective in decompressing and articulating hips, knees and spine, and improving visceral (especially gut) function through the continual passive movement effect"

5. The CAP Code, Section 7.1, states "No marketing communication should mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise."

6. I challenge whether the advert is misleading by using "case studies" to suggest the device will help with poor digestion, migraines, asthma, diabetes, lymphodema, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and sciatica.

7. I confirm that I have no connections with the advertiser, the magazine, or with the publishing and alternative medicine industries in general. I confirm that I am not involved in legal proceedings with the advertiser or the magazine."