Saturday, 30 October 2010

Myofascial Release UK - A Tissue of Claims


After getting my hands on a flyer for
Myofascial Release UK, I've been trying to get a handle on what the "therapy" actually entails.


It's not easy, though. Lots of people around the world practise the "art" but their explanations are couched in meaningless mumbo-jumbo like

"this 3D living matrix responds in a natural in intuitive way by releasing and reorganising itself throughout the body"

In fact, the most I can say about myofascial release is that it's some kind of magical soft-tissue prodding therapy. (If you can help, use the comments form below!)

The advertiser's flyer (available here, here and here) isn't quite so evasive about the conditions it thinks the therapy can treat, which include

"...backache, sciatica and pelvic pain - sporting injuries - frozen -shoulder - fibromyalgia, CFS [Chronic Fatigue Syndrome] / ME - carpal tunnel [syndrome] - chronic pain - ...TMJ [Temporomandibular Joint] disorder - injury and surgical scarring - tinnitus - scoliosis [curvature of the spine] - back pain - RSI [repetitive strain injury..."

Evidence? Well, none appears to exist, although there's a single trial concerning the effects of the therapy on an athlete's heart rate.

The advertising regulations require advertisers to hold evidence before making claims. ASA complaint follows!

"I write to complain about a flyer I picked up at the CamExpo exhibition in London on 24th October this year.

The flyer, for Myofascial Release UK, promotes a "postgraduate training programme in MYOFASCIAL RELEASE".

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

1. (i) "Myofascial Release" is a soft-tissue therapy.

(ii) The main flyer contains an insert. Both the flyer and the insert makes claims that the therapy treats named medical conditions.

(iii) A number of practitioners promote the therapy. From them, I have been able to find a single clinical trial. The placebo-controlled trial concerns the effects of myofascial release therapy following high-intensity (interval) exercise.

(iv) The trial's authors concluded [1]:

"Myofascial release massage favors the recovery of HRV [heart rate variability] and diastolic BP [blood pressure] after high-intensity exercise (3 Wingate tests) to preexercise levels."

2. The advertisers claim their "Integrated Myofascial Therapy" can "help" with a number of medical conditons.

3. Under Section 12.1 of the CAP Code, I challenge whether the advertisers can substantiate their claims in the main flyer that the therapy can "help with...backache, sciatica and pelvic pain - sporting injuries - frozen -shoulder - fibromyalgia, CFS [Chronic Fatigue Syndrome] / ME - carpal tunnel [syndrome] - chronic pain - ...TMJ [Temporomandibular Joint] disorder - injury and surgical scarring - tinnitus - scoliosis [curvature of the spine] - ...and many others".

4. Under Section 12.1 of the CAP Code, I challenge whether the advertisers can substantiate their claims in the insert that the therapy can "effectively treat...sports injuries, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and chronic pain syndrome, trigger point pain, RSI [Repetitive Strain Injury]...back pain, jaw pain and many others".

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

Footnotes:

[1] Effects of myofascial release after high-intensity exercise: a randomized clinical trial, J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2008 Mar;31(3):217-23. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18394499
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