Saturday, 13 November 2010

The College of Naturopathic Medicine (again)


Here's another installment in my
continuing series of complaints against the College of Naturopathic Medicine.

When they aren't busy defending the galaxy from the clutches of the evil
Lord Xenu, the College offer courses in a number of bullshit complementary therapies.


About reflexology, the college writes:

"Reflexology...helps to restore natural balance of the body resulting in an improved sense of health and well being [sic]. Energy, mood, circulation and immunity can also be enhanced. This relaxing treatment benefits many health conditions such as: stress, anxiety, insomnia, muscular pain, headaches, migraines, digestive disorders, hormonal imbalances e.g. PMS, menopause, and more..."

The college's booklet (available here, here, here and here) goes on to expound on the benefits of Applied Kinesiology - a subject with which my complaints have already dealt.

Can the college substantiate any of their claims? Or will they simply refer me back to p3678 of L Ron Hubbard's official memoirs (volume ninety-four)?

ASA complaint follows!


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

The booklet, for the College of Naturopathic Medicine, promotes courses in a number of complementary therapies.

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

1. Page 3 of the booklet contains the following text:

"Reflexology...helps to restore natural balance of the body resulting in an improved sense of health and well being [sic]. Energy, mood, circulation and immunity can also be enhanced. This relaxing treatment benefits many health conditions such as: stress, anxiety, insomnia, muscular pain, headaches, migraines, digestive disorders, hormonal imbalances e.g. PMS, menopause, and more..."

2. The UK's leading authority on complementary medicine, Professor Edzard Ernst, has recently written about the evidence base for reflexology [1]:

"Conclusion - The notion that reflexology can be used to diagnose health problems has been disproved and there is no convincing evidence that it is effective for any condition. Reflexology is expensive, and it offers nothing more than could be achieved from a simple, relaxing foot massage."

3. Therefore, under Section 12.1, I challenge whether the advertisers can substantiate their claims that reflexology can treat "stress, anxiety, insomnia, muscular pain, headaches, migraines, digestive disorders, hormonal imbalances e.g. PMS, menopause, and more" and that reflexology can enhance "circulation and immunity".

4. Page 6 of the booklet contains the following text:

"What is Kinesiology? Kinesiology uses muscles testing to identify imbalances within the body, so removes the need for guess-work in treating a client, friends and family... Kinesiology... produces results quickly."

5. The booklet continues:

"You will learn - how to accurately test 22 muscles and, by testing these muscles, gain information about the organs and systems of the body... how to identify foods/nutrients which will enhance a person's health... some extremely powerful techniques to help achieve goals, help with dyslexia, resolve fears and phobias, relieve breast congestion... how to identify imbalances in the body which lead to back and neck pain and how to treat them... how to identify food/chemical sensitivities in your clients or friends and family - an invaluable way to help them feel better almost immediately..."

6. (i) The therapy promoted by the leaflet is more usually known as "Applied Kinesiology", an invention of the American George Goodheart in 1964.

(ii) It is not to be confused with Kinesiology, a more mainstream (and regulated) medical discipline prevalent in the USA and Canada.

7. The first scientific paper on the ideomotor effect - a phenomenon in which a subject makes unconscious movements in response to certain ideas or stimuli - was published one hundred and twelve years before the invention of Applied Kinesiology [2].

8. I have found no clinical studies lending support to the booklet's contention that Applied Kinesiology can diagnose or treat medical conditions, but a great number which refute them, for example:

(i) Kenny JJ, Clemens R, Forsythe KD. Applied kinesiology unreliable for assessing nutrient status. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 88:698-704, 1988.

(ii) Triano JJ. Muscle strength testing as a diagnostic screen for supplemental nutrition therapy: a blind study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 5:179-182, 1982

(iii) Haas M and others. Muscle testing response to provocative vertebral challenge and spinal manipulation: a randomized controlled trial of construct validity. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 17:141-148, 1994.

(iv) Applied kinesiology - Double-blind pilot study. Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry 45:321-323, 1981.

(v) Ludtke R and others. Test-retest-reliability and validity of the kinesiology muscle test. Complementary Therapy in Medicine 9:141-145, 2001.

(vi) Hyman R. The mischief-making of ideomotor action. by ideomotor action. The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, Fall-Winter issue, 1999.

9. Therefore, under Section 12.1, I challenge whether the advertisers can substantiate their claim that any of the named conditions can be diagnosed, or treated, with kinesiology.

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

Footnotes:

[1] Simon Singh, Edzard Ernst, "Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial", American edition 2008, p323
[2] http://www.sgipt.org/medppp/psymot/carp1852.htm
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