Wednesday, 16 June 2010

*Innersound - intriguing the Prince of Wales

Qi is the mysterious life-force beloved of oriental quackery, and Innersound is a company trying to make a few quid promoting it.

If you think you recognise the handsome devil pictured here, who (according to the website) is "intrigued by Innersound Qi Treatment", you're right - it's none other than His Royal Highness the Dimwit of Wales!

UPDATE, 25 Aug: ASA write to confirm the advertisers have "agreed to remove the references to medical conditions from their leaflet".

According to their flyer (available here and here), "Chunsoo Qi Treatment is given by Qi Masters who press energy points on the body whilst using a natural breathing technique to transmit energy."

This miraculous therapy "can help your...Anxiety, Depression, Digestive Disorders, Fatigue, Insomnia, Migraine, Muscular Tension, Pain, PMT, RSI, Sports Injuries, Stress and many more."

Quite an impressive list! I hope they have the dox to prove it. ASA complaint follows.

"I write to complain about a flyer I picked up at the "Mind, Body & Spirit" festival, in London, in May this year.

The flyer, for Innersound, promotes the "Qi Treatment" of healing.

I suspect that the flyer may be in breach of two sections of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP) code. I can provide the original flyer by post, if necessary.

1. "Qi" (or "Chi") is the traditional Chinese vitalist concept of a life force.

2. There is no reliable scientific evidence that shows Qi actually exists. Edzard Ernst, professor or Complementary Medicine at Exeter University, has written:

“Concepts such as the qi of Chinese traditional medicine are myths which enjoy the same status as religious faiths. Believers cling to the myth despite the evidence, reinterpret the myth to suit the evidence, or lie about the evidence to support the myth.” [1]

3. The flyer makes various claims about the efficacy of "Qi Treatment", in which "Qi energy points on the body whilst using a natural breathing technique to transmit energy..."

4. Under Sections 3.1 and 50.1 of the CAP Code, I challenge whether the advertiser holds documentary evidence to prove the following claims, and I challenge whether the claims are backed by evidence, where appropriate consisting of trials conducted on people:

(i) Qi Treatment can "help" with "Depression"
(ii) Qi Treatment can "help" with "Digestive Disorders"
(iii) Qi Treatment can "help" with "Insomnia"
(iv) Qi Treatment can "help" with "Migraine[s]"
(v) Qi Treatment can "help" with "P[re]-M[enstrual] T[ension]"
(vi) Qi Treatment can "help" with "R[epetitive] S[train] I[njury]"
(vii) Qi Treatment can "help" with "Sports Injuries"

5. I confirm that I have no connections with the advertiser or the alternative medicine industry in general. I confirm that I am not involved in legal proceedings with the advertiser.

[1] Ernst, "Healing, Hype, or Harm?: A Critical Analysis of Complementary or Alternative Medicine" (pub. 2008), ISBN 978-1845401184. Quoted on

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