Thursday, 12 August 2010

Silsoe Village - the quacks have escaped from the village pond


This is Silsoe - an agreeably small village in Central Bedfordshire.



Every month its honest citizens are treated to a new copy of the "Silsoe News", a small booklet supported by advertising revenue from local businesses.

One of those businesses is "Reflexions", otherwise known as Candice Morris.

Candice has some rather odd ideas about toxins in the body, and claims she knows how to remove them. How? With reflexology and reiki, of course!

Joining her in this Hall of Shame is another of the magazine's advertisers, Susan Steedon. Susan reckons she can treat asthma by sticking a burning hot candle in your ear.

Naturally, none of these claims are likely to be true - search for the evidence in Pubmed yourself, if you don't believe me - so it's time to introduce the pair to the caring embrace of the Advertising Standards Authority.

Here's my ASA complaint about Candice...

"I write to complain about an advert appearing in "Silsoe News" magazine, August 2010 issue (No. 320), p22.

The advert, for Candice Morris/Reflexions, promotes various complementary therapies.

I suspect that the advert may be in breach of two sections of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP) code.

1. The Silsoe News is a magazine distributed to a number of villages in central Bedfordshire.

2. (i) The advert contains the text:

"Reflexology: A relaxing treatment...It promotes relaxation and improves circulation"

(ii) Under Sections 3.1 and 50.1 of the CAP Code, I challenge whether the advertisers can substantiate their claim that reflexology "improves circulation".

3. (i) The advert continues:

"Swedish Massage: ...it eases muscular strain by flushing out toxins..."

(ii) Under Sections 3.1 and 50.1, I challenge whether the advertisers can substantiate their claim that Swedish massage "flushes out toxins"

4. (i) The advert continues:

"Lymphatic Drainage Massage: A soft, light to the touch massage to alleviate fluid retention and to help flush out toxins..."

(ii) Under Sections 3.1 and 50.1, I challenge whether the advertisers can substantiate their claim that Lymphatic Drainage Massage can "help flush out toxins"

5. (i) The advert continues:

"Reiki: A Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing..."

(ii) Under Sections 3.1 and 50.1 of the CAP Code, I challenge whether the advertisers can substantiate their claim that Reiki "promotes healing"

6. I confirm that I have no connections with the advertiser. I confirm that I am not involved in legal proceedings with the advertiser."

...and here's my complaint against Susan.

"I write to complain about an advert appearing in "Silsoe News" magazine, August 2010 issue (No. 320), p8.

The advert, for Susan Steedon, promotes her "thermal auricular therapy" treatment.

I suspect that the advert may be in breach of two sections of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP) code.

1. The Silsoe News is a magazine distributed to a number of villages in central Bedfordshire.

2. (i) "Thermal auricular therapy" - also known as Hopi Ear Candling - is a treatment in which burning candles are placed inside a patient's ears in the fanciful hope that the burning wax will draw out toxins and have other beneficial effects on the patient's health.

(ii) I have never found any clinical evidence supporting the claims commonly made for this kind of therapy.

3. The advert contains the text:

"Canadian Ear Candle Specialist (Thermal Auricular Therapy) - Provides a heat drawing [sic] effect. Helps with removal of blocked wax, blocked sinuses, Tinnitus, Asthma, Headaches, Sinusitis. Also reduces pressure in the ears when flying..."

4. Under Sections 3.1, 14.3 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 clinical trials conducted on people:

(i) Thermal Auricular Therapy "helps with removal of blocked wax"
(ii) Thermal Auricular Therapy "helps with...blocked sinuses"
(iii) Thermal Auricular Therapy "helps with...Tinnitus"
(iv) Thermal Auricular Therapy "helps with...Asthma"
(v) Thermal Auricular Therapy "helps with...Headaches"
(vi) Thermal Auricular Therapy "helps with...Sinusitis"
(vii) Thermal Auricular Therapy "reduces pressure in the ears when flying"

5. I confirm that I have no connections with the advertiser. I confirm that I am not involved in legal proceedings with the advertiser."

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