Saturday, 7 May 2011
Jackie Thomas the asthma-curing quack
There are quite a few quacks in my own neighbourhood and the time has come for a bit of a spring cleaning.
Jackie Thomas of Bedford is a longstanding member of my little list. As I remember, her old website was too incoherent to warrant a complaint, but happily it's been replaced with a shiny new one.
A keen entrepeneur, Jackie seems to have arranged her "Box of Tricks" - another term for which might be "collection of delusions" - to provide something for everyone.
For her traditionalist marks she offers homeopathy, which she claims is "effective", tossing alongside that word the names of some serious medical conditions.
"Anaemia... Arthritis... Asthma... Ear infections... Eczema... IBS... Post Operative [sic] recovery..."
For the orientally inclined she offers Acupressure, "Meridian Balancing", "Chakra Balancing" and of course Reiki.
By far the most dangerous of her delusions, though, appear for her Kinesiology treatments.
"When my son was weaning we noticed that he was beginning to get eczema... Instead of going to the doctor... I decided to try homeopathy and visited Jackie. She did some [Kinesiology] testing and advised us that my son and I have an intolerance to wheat and dairy products. When we cut these out of our diet and took the remedies Jackie had prescribed our eczema was reduced to almost nothing." (Testimonial)
"I have been visiting Jackie for the last 4 years and in that time I have been able to stop taking my inhalers for my asthma..." (Testimonial)
There's nothing guaranteed to incur the ASA's wrath more than attempts to discourage essential medical treatment. Speaking of which... ASA complaint follows!
"The website makes a number of health claims which I suspect are misleading.
1. ( http://www.moonstoneconsulting.co.uk/how-it-works.html )
"What Conditions can I help with?
I make no claims as I only treat the person, not named conditions, but in the past few months people have come to me for help, who are suffering from the following... Read some of my testimonials and case studies to see just how effective the treatments are."
I'd like to challenge whether the phrases 'What Conditions can I help with?' and 'see just how effective the treatments are' are misleading, because they imply the advertiser's treatments are effective for the named conditions, some of which are serious conditions for which medical treatment should be sought.
2. ( http://www.moonstoneconsulting.co.uk/how-it-works/homeopathy.html )
"by knowing the full details of your symptoms, a homeopath is able to give more effective treatment."
I challenge whether the advertiser can substantiate the claim that homeopathy is an 'effective treatment'.
"Allium Sepa helps with Hay Fever... Coffea is used for insomnia and hyperactivity."
I challenge whether the advertiser can substantiate the claims for these homeopathic preparations.
4. ( http://www.moonstoneconsulting.co.uk/how-it-works/kinesiology.html )
"To sum up, Kinesiology is a system of gentle muscle testing, which identifies imbalances with the body and then assesses what is required to bring the body back into balance and restore it to optimum health."
I challenge whether the advertiser can substantiate her claims that Kinesiology can '[assess] what is required... to restore [the body] to optimum health'.
5. ( http://www.moonstoneconsulting.co.uk/how-it-works/reiki.html )
"Reiki is a natural healing energy activated by intention. It works on every level, not just the physical."
I challenge whether the claim that Reiki 'works' is misleading.
"Reiki treatments can be carried out as often as you feel necessary. Sometimes one is enough, sometimes more may be more effective."
I challenge whether the word 'effective' is misleading.
7. ( http://www.moonstoneconsulting.co.uk/treatments.html )
Using Kinesiology, I can test for food intolerance and offer some nutritional advice and dietary suggestions. I can also check for chemical/cosmetic sensitivities.
Consultation (1hr) £40"
I challenge whether the claim that Kinesiology can test for food intolerance and sensitivities can be substantiated.
8. ( http://www.moonstoneconsulting.co.uk/testimonials-and-case-studies.html )
""When my son was weaning we noticed that he was beginning to get eczema, something which I have suffered from on and off all my life. Instead of going to the doctor, who I know from experience would give him loads of creams leading to steroid cream, I decided to try homeopathy and visited Jackie. She did some testing and advised us that my son and I have an intolerance to wheat and dairy products. When we cut these out of our diet and took the remedies Jackie had prescribed our eczema was reduced to almost nothing.""
I challenge whether the phrase 'Instead of going to the doctor... I decided to try homeopathy and visited Jackie' could discourage essential treatment, and I challenge whether the testimonial claim of an effective treatment for eczema can be substantiated.
""I have been visiting Jackie for the last 4 years and in that time I have been able to stop taking my inhalers for my asthma and have much more control over my hay fever especially in the peak summer months."
I challenge whether the claimed cure for asthma ('I have been able to stop taking my inhalers [sic] for my asthma') can be substantiated, whether it is misleading, whether it is irresponsible, and whether it could discourage essential treatment.
I've made some screenshots of the relevant pages, which are available at:
I can confirm that I have no connections with the advertiser or with the alternative medicine industry in general."