The UK Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) Compliance Team will commence monitoring acupuncturists’ websites from Monday 7 October. During the summer, CAP found misleading acupuncture advertisements including one from UCL hospitals.
CAP has provided advice on how to advertise your acupuncture practice. In principle, your advertisment should not claim to treat (or discourage essential medical treatment for) any conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.
Claims that CAP will accept include the following:
- Short-term improvement in the symptoms of overactive bladder syndrome (through electro-acupuncture at the SP6 point)
- Short-term relief of tension type headaches
- Short-term relief of migraine headache
- Short-term relief of chronic low back pain
- Short-term relief of neck pain or chronic neck pain
- Short-term relief from temporomandibular (TMD/TMJ) pain
- Temporary adjunctive treatment for osteoarthritis knee pain
In addition, it is possible to advertise the purely sensory effects of acupuncture and make claims about well-being and well-feeling or to use phrases such as “feel revitalised”, “more positive” or “relaxed”.
Claims that CAP is unlikely to accept include:
Apart from the above, CAP does not accept any other claims unless you have clear evidence supporting your claims. Following are some examples of claims that CAP does not accept.
- Acupuncture can treat tinnitus or can control appetite.
- Acupuncture can either help quit smoking or aid weight loss.
- Acupuncture can help detoxify the body, improve blood circulation, increase metabolism, boost energy, deal with feeling blue, general facial pain, trouble in sleeping.
- Claim that acupuncture can help delay or prevent ageing, make improvement of the appearance of skin conditions.
- Gynecological disorders, disturbances of the menstrual cycle.
- Men’s health, including prostatitis
- Urinary disorders
- Emotional issues, stress, anxiety, depression, addictions
- Dizziness, vertigo
- Immune system imbalances, allergies
- Herpes zoster (Shingles)
- Gastro-intestinal conditions
- Upper respiratory disorders e.g. sinusitis, asthma
- Hypertension (High blood pressure)
- Trouble sleeping,
- General facial pain, elbow pain or shoulder pain
For more information, please check the CAP website http://cap.org.uk/Advice-Training-on-the-rules/Advice-Online-Database/Therapies-Acupuncture.aspx
You also can obtain further bespoke guidance on the CAP Code and it’s requirements and the advertising of acupuncture services by contacting the Copy Advice Team for free. You also can get free advice on specific claims or up to three pages of text but there may be a charge if you wish to obtain a full website audit.
Although ATCM council does not completely agree with what the CAP advised on advertisement of acupuncture therapies, we still advises all our members if your website or other forms of advertisements were found being unacceptable by CAP, please follow their advices to make necessary changes. If any queries, please let the office know.